Jorge San Jose

Bob Aves Group @ National Museum of Singapore

October 31-November 1, 2009. Bob Aves jazz group played at the National Museum of Singapore. Details about the event here at their website.

The music is an intersection of different cultures and heritages of the Philippines. Traditional kulintang music, Spanish influences, and Western jazz idioms blend seamlessly to form a new brand of Philippine jazz.

I played for two days. The first day was for Bob’s performance-lecture at the National Museum. The second day (photos below) was at the front area of the museum. A few meters away, there was a tent where Filipino treats were sold - lechong kawali, Crispy Pata, bibingka, San Miguel beer, all the good stuff.

I regretted very much that I didn’t bring a camera with me. During the times that we weren’t playing, Tusa and I got to go around our area a bit. I enjoyed walking around the city. Singapore is so clean and organized. No need to get scared while crossing the streets. The food is good, and relatively cheap, too.

Fortunately, here are some photos from the gig by my mom’s (and now also my) friend, Edsel Tolentino.

Bob, main man, w/ octavina


Bob Aves, Jorge San Jose (drums), Simon Tan (bass)

Tusa Montes, Bob Aves, Jorge San Jose, Simon Tan, Ria Osorio

Jorge, Simon, Ria


One, two, three, and...

The Bow

Many thanks to the organizers and staff of the National Museum of Singapore for inviting the group to play.


Later that night, we were invited to dinner by Johnny Gaerlan, a Singapore-based Filipino bassist, who plays regularly at the Indo Chine, one of the swanky restaurants in Singapore. We we treated with a nice view by the riverside. I had duck soup. (Again, no photo to show for it. A camera will be at the top of my gear wishlist from now on.)

From L-R: Johnny Gaerlan, Edsel Tolentino, me, Bob Aves, Grace Nono, Jorge San Jose, Simon Tan.


Regarding Bob’s music, I see myself adopting the same spirit for my arrangements and compositions. Lately, I work a lot with larger ensembles. Using large ensembles like the big band and the orchestra, I want to be able to continue along this direction that was opened up to me by Bob Aves and Grace Nono (since I started playing with them around eight years ago), as well as mentor and friend Maestro Angel Pena. Was able to take the first baby steps towards this direction when I was commissioned to write music for the official video of the Philippine Supreme Court. With the help of Bob’s sampled gongs, and the traditional material available to me, I tried my hand in combining gongs and the orchestra (Manila Symphony Orchestra). Will post music clips here when I get my copy of the video. This is an exciting avenue to explore, as the possibilities are endless.

 Subscribe in a reader

Related posts:

At the 2008 Jarasum Jazz Festival, Korea

Our Zhu Jia Jiao Tour

Bob Aves Group at Caylabne Resort, Cavite

Bob Aves Group at Caylabne Resort, Cavite (part2)

At the 2008 Jarasum Jazz Festival Korea

Photos from the Festival...

Andy Peterson Inc. from Malaysia. Their music is a mix of progressive rock and chanting (Indian origin), very energetic and great vibe. These guys were also a great hang.

Bob Aves group onstage.



Joe Lovano and John Scofield, et al, played in the same event (though in a much bigger stage). We also saw Jojo Mayer, drummer extraordinaire.



We had loads of Korean food. What I love about Korean cuisine is there are usually a lot of colorful and interesting vegetables.




I also loved the Korean Barbeque.

No time for me to finish chewing my food before posing for the shot:

We were really blessed with our guide for the whole event - Kim. He was very accommodating and made everything easier for us.

Here was the view from Tusa's room. (Plus the empty Sho Tsu bottles from the night before)

This was the view from my room. It made up for the fact that we were bunked in a motel. He he Happy


This became my favorite drink. It's a milk drink with veggies.

 Subscribe in a reader

Related posts:

Our Zhu Jia Jiao Tour
Zhu Jia Jiao Water Village World Music Festival
Bob Aves Group at Caylabne Resort Part 2
Bob Aves Group at Caylabne Resort in Cavite


Our Zhu Jia Jiao Tour

I mentioned in my last post that we met a Filipino fellow in Zhu Jia Jiao who offered to tour us around the town.

Ramil Cueto has been based in Shanghai for about four years. His wife Julia was born in Zhu Jia Jiao and grew up there. So when Ramil offered to tour us around the old town, we couldn't resist! We have had some difficulties in ordering food and going around the town in general. They met us at our hotel at night, and we walked to the heart of the town.

Walking to the old town. These were Ramil, Jorge and Simon, back view.

We passed by some lovely scenery.


They took us to a charming restaurant.

Julia and Ramil ordered food for us. Guess what we found out from Julia while they were ordering food? It was Ramil's birthday that day!

Jorge and Ramil


Group pic by Simon. Jorge, Ramil, Ria, Julia and Tusa

The food arrives.

Lotus plant,with sticky rice inserted into the holes. It tasted sweet and refreshing.


A local water plant (tasted a bit like turnip), with pine nuts.

Escargot. These were huge, and ground pork was stuffed inside.

Ramil went out for a while and came back with this. Tsong tsu, a sticky rice delicacy. It had pork inside, plus a sweetish sauce. Yum! It also cost only 2.5 RMB (about 15pesos)

And now, the main attraction...

Hairy crabs! They were delicious, and had lots of aligue (crab fat)
March of the crabs. March, march, march into our stomachs.

Simon and crab


Everything was so delicious.

After dinner, we walked a bit and looked at some of the shops.

Thank you Ramil and Julia for the experience, and for spending time with us.

(Photos courtesy of Simon, Tusa, and me)

 Subscribe in a reader

Related posts:
Zhu Jia Jiao Water Village World Music Festival
Bob Aves Group at Caylabne Resort Part 2
Bob Aves Group at Caylabne Resort in Cavite

Zhu Jia Jiao Water Village World Music Festival

Bob Aves Group @ the Zhu Jia Jiao Water Village World Music Festival

At the airport (notice all the junk food! Terminal 3 is relatively new, so there aren't many options yet)...


Simon and Tusa...


Shanghai is a 3-hour plane ride from the Philippines...

Zhu Jia Jiao is a charming old town about 2 hours away (on the road) from the main city in Shanghai.


Like a lot of many other things in China, it is a mix of the old and the new...



We went to a park...



Busy town.

This was our hotel (Zhu Ji Ge)



Post office from the great Qin Dynasty...



We tried to go about the small town by ourselves, sometimes encountering mishaps when ordering food and such. Ordering by guessing from the pictures has its disadvantages (sometimes it was too much for one person), but it was all good....

Sauteed scallops

Pork dish with vegetables underneath (kind of like Laing in Filipino)

On our first full day there, we played at the preview night of the festival, at the Wang Chang center...




Up until this time, we had trouble ordering food and knowing where to go because few people spoke English. So it was a blessing to meet a fellow Filipino at the venue who offered to take us around Zhu Jia Jiao, since his wife grew up there, and can take us to the good places. Of course we took up on the offer, and I'll reserve another blog entry for it. In the meantime, on to the other photos from the festival...

Nah Youn Sun and the French all-stars. Nah Youn Sun does a mean scat, and her voice is clear. The accordion player was fantastic. It's my first time to hear jazz solos on the accordion, I think.


Bassists co...

Bob Aves explains his octavina to a fellow guitarist...


(And it was during this time when I was carrying my laptop and wearing my thick glasses - that some people came up to me and asked if I was the band manager)


-- - - - - -

More photos from the festival...

Brochures and posters.


At the Gingko Plaza...

Some of the audience were people who lived in the old village, and some were tourists. On the whole, they were very receptive and appreciative of the performances.



Ria Osorio


Tusa Montes


Grace Nono

Bob Aves

Jorge San Jose

Simon Tan


The group with Peter Lee (far left), festival organizer

With some of the other artists.


Some of the festival volunteers from various universities...

(Photos courtesy of Tusa Montes, Grace Nono and Bob Aves, and some are from my camera)

Will be posting the photos from the tour with our newfound Filipino friend, so please stay tuned. Thanks!

 Subscribe in a reader

Related posts:

Zhu Jia Jiao Water Village World Music Festival
Bob Aves Group at Caylabne Resort Part 2
Bob Aves Group at Caylabne Resort in Cavite

Bob Aves Group at Caylabne Resort part2

Photos from Tita Ning's site:

Hungry musicians. Left to Right: Simon Tan, Tusa Montes, Arnold Jallores. Bob Aves, Ria Osorio. Standing: Dex Osorio

Setting up, soundcheck. My setup is: 2 keyboards connected to my laptop via 2 MIDI I-O's. All sounds come from Reason, which holds Bob Aves's own sampled Kulintang, Gandingan and Saranay sounds, mostly from South Cotabato . These are sounds not available in existing sample libraries, so I feel very lucky to have them (I got permission to use them in my projects). I also use Ableton Live, which contains all the pads programmed by Bob.

After soundcheck, I thought we still had time to dress up (or dress down since this is a beach resort), but it turned out that the gig started away. Notice the huge crowd that came to watch us!

Yeah. People or no people watching, we enjoyed playing. Except for the part where my volume settings in Reason (the piano sound, MIDI input 2) kept being triggered by the controller (RD 700). Till the end of the gig, I wasn't able to fix it. There were some settings in the RD700 which were sending unwanted MIDI signals, and even after the gig, I still wasn't able to figure it out, as I couldn't find the "transmit MIDI" page, just a "receive MIDI" page. Suggestions?

Tusa Montes with Bob's custom MIDI Kulintang. I really think that is a genius endeavor. The bottom part (nearer to the player) usually triggers Gandingan samples, or the lower gongs I think. (Tusa tama ba?)

View Bob Aves website here

Smokin' Jorge!

Group shot. Us with the organizers

This was the weather during the gig. No sun, but we're happy enough that it didn't rain yet, even if there was a storm brewing.

 Subscribe in a reader