Whenever I travel I try to find some live jazz to go and enjoy. Last week, I had just one night in Hong Kong on my way to Australia and luckily it coincided with an appearance of the Nate Wong Trio at the Fringe Club in Hong Kong's Soho.
The Hong Kong born drummer teamed up with Teriver Cheung on guitar and a keyboard player whose name I unfortunately missed. (Sorry!), to lead us through a number of jazz standards including Ellington's Take the A Train, Sunny made famous by Bobby Hebb and the Johnny Rivers' penned Bring it on Home, as well as some of his own own compositions. These classics gave Wong a chance to demonstrate his versatility on the drums with some great solos and good interplay with his colleagues. Teriver Cheung was also excellent with his understated approach on guitar.
The gig was billed as the worldwide launch of Wong's new jazz trio and was attended by a range of Hong Kong arty types, friends, fans and family and the occasional traveler - like me. The trio also performed some of Wong's own compositions which included pieces he performed on the melodica, which I can best describe as a keyboard with a mouthpiece and which gave a bluesy feel to the evening. My own favourite of the evening was his rendition of the Nat King Cole classic - A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square. Lovely. All of the pieces were well received by an enthusiastic audience.
Nate told the audience that he had only just flown in from the States, that the trio had only met each other a few hours before the gig and that there had been no chance to rehearse. If that's the case then I would advise readers to go along to his next gig at the Fringe on April 26th when he will be joined by veteran Hong Kong jazzer Ted Lo on keyboards and Ecuadorian guitarist Daniel Toledo. Hong Kong jazz fans should not miss this opportunity to see a rising star perform in his home town.
The Fringe is a great venue where a variety of arts programmes take place. It is also a lovely heritage building dating from 1913, restored in recent years and the recipient of an important award for its sensitive restoration. Oh…and there's a good cafe too!