Tonal Alchemy started off in 1996 as the Wilson Quah Trio after Leader/Pianist Wilson graduated from Berklee College of Music majoring in Jazz Studies returned to Penang. In 2002, the trio changed its’ name to Tonal Alchemy and performed in the first edition of Penang island Jazz Festival in 2004 with Ruby Rozells (vocals) and Franco Francisco (drums) who have since passed on.

Maintaining their trade mark as a full-fledged Penang jazz group, besides Wilson, the other members of Tonal Alchemy are Chong Chee (bass) and Jonathan Yee (saxophone) who both played in the PIJF 2004 edition and current members Meng Goh (drums) and Vivian Adram (vocals). The group possess a wide repertoire which includes originals and covers of traditional and modern jazz tunes arranged in their own distinctive style.



Modern Pansori originates from Pansori which is the Korean traditional genre of musical storytelling performed by a singer and a drummer – dynamic music that lives and breathes and not music confined to the ideology of the era and nation. Pansori is recognized and listed by UNESCO World Cultural Heritage as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, and a singular
performance can last up to eight hours with a traditional Pansori singer singing about the beauty of contemporary emotions with Hangul lyrics.

Founded in 2016 by Pansori Vocalist, Song BongGuem, Modern Pansori is built on a blend of traditional and modern experimental and unique musical styles and instruments through the collaboration with classical music, jazz, and other genres. The other members of Modern Pansori are Shineui (DaeGeum), Suji Jeon (piri, taepyongso), Sungsoo Kim (keyboards), Dongil Choi (bass) and
Seongbeom Kang (drums).



Michel Reis – piano
Dan Loomis – bass (replacing M.Demuth)
Paul Wiltgen – drums

Pianist Michel Reis, bassist Marc Demuth and drummer Paul Wiltgen are three of Luxembourg’s most prominent jazz musicians. They formed the Reis-Demuth- Wiltgen Trio in 1998 while still in high school and performed on a regular basis in and around Luxembourg for a couple of years. The trio reunited in 2011 eager to share their experiences and new compositions. Their self-titled first album was released on Laborie Jazz to widespread critical acclaim. Since the release, the band has toured extensively throughout the world and has appeared at major
international jazz festivals in Europe, Asia and North America.

The trio was named Luxembourg’s “Export Artist Of The Year” in 2013. The band’s sophomore album “Places In Between” was recorded in New York City and released in 2016 on Double Moon Records (Mocloud Records, Japan). The repertoire of “Places In Between” was premiered at a festival in Luxembourg where the trio featured the world-renowned saxophonist Joshua Redman. Since 2014 Redman has been playing several of the trio’s compositions with his own bands. In March 2018, the trio will tour in Europe with Joshua Redman as a featured guest.

This tour includes a performance at the Philharmonie  Luxembourg featuring the music of Reis/Demuth/Wiltgen arranged for the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg by multiple Grammy Award winning composer and conductor Vince Mendoza.



The courage to have confidence in own ideas and ideals turns out the briskness of Holler My Dear. Their urban songwriter-gypsy- folk-jazz- acoustic-pop musical style, which the band smartly describes as “hand-stirred gourmet music”, serves up acoustic folk pop as a warming anti-depressant and spreads generous amounts of swing and funk like flavouring in cut glass vials.

Holler My Dear got together in 2011 when Austrian born vocalist and band leader Laura Winkler, who studied voice and composition at the music conservatory in Graz, moved to Berlin in 2011 and met her future band mates. They performed their first concert in 2012, released their debut album in 2013 followed by tours in many countries all the way to Cairo.

The band consisting of Laura Winkler (vocals, composition), Fabian Koppri (mandolin, guitar, vocals), Timofey Sattarov (accordion) and Lucas Dietrich (double bass, stomp box) released their second album “Eat, Drink and Be Merry” in 2015 with, “optimistically verbalized thoughtfulness” described lyrics, with a musical style that sounds a little bit like Motown-Tango or Western-Klezmer that leaves room for listener interpretations.



Norwegian born, Kornstad, studied saxophone at the Trondheim Jazz Conservatory where he emerged with a distinct musical voice. After years of strengthening his technique, discovering nuances, and exploring the sonic possibilities of the saxophone being part of groups and in collaborations, Kornstad released his own solo album Single Engine (2007).

2009 was a major moment in Kornstad’s artistic evolution. On a visit to New York, he discovered the world of opera and decided to take lessons which led to him being admitted into the Operahøgskolen (The Academy of Opera) at the Kunsthøgskolen I Oslo (Oslo National Academy of the Arts), where he completed his master studies as operatic tenor and he made his debut at the Oslo Opera House with the character tenor role Il Podestà in Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera.
Whilst still in his first year of opera school, Haakon released his third solo saxophone album, ”Symphonies in My Head” which showed early signs of how his new knowledge of opera would be integrated into his jazz expression which was the beginning of Kornstad’s music moving in a new direction, a meeting of jazz and opera in where he sings tenor and plays the tenor saxophone

“To anyone with even the slightest interest in jazz and opera, Kornstad is a musician who simply must be heard, for there is no one else like him!”
William Brown, The Journal (Newcastle)



Drummer Eva Klesse has been hailed as a “shooting star of the European Jazz scene”. In 2014, Eva met Evgeny Ring (saxophone), Philip Frischkorn (piano) and Robert Lucaciu (double bass) in Leipzig where they played a handful of concerts together. In a short span of time, the band displayed a remarkable diversity of musical styles and a strong creative drive, and, six months later, they recorded their debut album “Xenon”, which, one reviewer described as “the dream debut of a dream band” and they were awarded the Jazz Echo (German Music Award) in the “Newcomer of the year“ category and this followed with the group playing a number of festivals and concerts across Germany and a tour in Chile.

On their second album “Obenland”, the characteristic sound of the Eva Klesse quartet was now permanently present. All compositions were penned specifically for this album and were custom-tailored to the four personalities, creating a stronger coherence and simultaneously opening new possibilities for exploring new directions. The aesthetics swayed between detailed chamber jazz and
energetic peaks.

During dynamic interplay and mounting free passages, Klesse and her musical partners allow their emotions exactly the right amount of space, in that improvisation conveys intensity instead of egocentric ecstasy. A balance of such subtlety that reflects the band’s maturity.



Peppino D’Agostino emerged on the acoustic guitar scene in the early 80’s as a leading member of the second wave of the great fingerstylists that helped redefine the instrument in the ’90s. His remarkable technique, penchant for open tunings, and percussive effects are the basis of his unique compositional style. Add to that his natural warmth, playfulness, and broad musical tastes and you
have the recipe for what he calls “minestrone music”.

Recognized as “the guitarist’s guitarist” by Acoustic Guitar magazine and described as “a giant of the acoustic guitar” by the San Diego Reader, D’Agostino, who has performed in more than 30 countries and shared the stage with Tommy Emmanuel, Sergio Assad, Larry Carlton and Eric Johnson amongst
others, was voted Best Acoustic Guitarist by readers of Guitar Player magazine in 2007 and continues to evolve and grow in ways that would have been hard to predict when he first showcased his melodic yet emotionally intense style on the recording of “Every Step of the Way” which was named one of the top three acoustic guitar albums of all time by Acoustic Guitar magazine readers in

An active member of the Pacific Guitar Ensemble and a music educator, Peppino likes to compare his musical approach to the culinary art of his native Italy: “If you want to prepare a good, succulent dish you have to know how to mix the various ingredients and, most important, have knowledge of the right amounts. Similarly, in musical composition you must be able to properly combine melody,
harmony, rhythm and percussive effects with discretion and elegance.”



Accomplished Trumpeter, Vocalist and Composer and multi-instrumentalist, Australian Adam Hall, began playing music at the age of ten, and later honed his craft at Berklee College of Music, Boston. In his early career Adam played at the Sydney Olympics and toured various cities all over the world working with numerous talents such as: James Morrison, Don Burrows, Frank Foster and Grace Knight, to name just a few.

In 2005 he formed a classic Rhythm & Blues band, “Adam Hall & The Velvet Playboys” which was nominated for Best Jazz Act in the 2010 West Australian Music Industry awards, and is somewhat of an institution of the Perth music scene and is also renowned for its captivating live performances, marked by slick presentation and raw energy. Alongside Adam (vocals, trumpet) the band features
some of Western Australia’s finest musicians, with Mark Turner (guitar), Anthony Dodos (trombone), Matthew Hanson (drums), Kate Pass (double bass) and Ronan Chapple (keyboards).

The band, whose repertoire is rooted in the jazz and rhythm & Blues music of the ‘40s and 50s – classics from artists of that era and also from a large library of Adam Hall’s originals and arrangements, have performed extensively throughout Asia and Europe and released four albums.



Vocalist Grzegorz Karnas, born in Upper Silesia, Poland, to a family devoid of musical traditions has worked with many of Poland’s jazz legends as well as top-line artists in the European jazz scene.

Grzegorz, who has travelled and performed in many countries with his band, has been awarded the Grand Prix of jazz vocal competitions in Bruxelles and Crest, France (2006 & 2007) and since 2008, has been the “spiritus movens” of the Intercultural Gathering for Creativity, Expression and Music “Voicingers” – an event contributing to both promotion of jazz singers at the very beginning of their
international careers as well as music education for non-professionals.

The New York City Jazz Record describes Grzegorz as a singer that merges his mother tongue and English into a deconstructed jazz scat-collage that Matisse would love, with an extraordinary range that dips into sensually warm chest tones and pure falsetto heights.

He started his Formula bands in 1998 – Quartets in different line-up configurations, that are far removed from the classical paradigm, with the group drawing on the trance-like nature of ostinatos and the abstraction of modal playing developed on the basis of simple melodic themes. A brief, general outline of a Grzegorz Karnas Formula performance would be: accoustic, energy-filled and groovily hipnotic music-making with a hefty dose of improvisation. The other members of his quartet include Grzegorz Masłowski (drums), Alan Wykpisz (double bass) and Indonesian piano player Sri Hanuraga.



Formed in 2015, SE:UM was selected as a PAMS choice at the Seoul Art Market in the same year. Based on a combination of Korean traditional music elements of Samulnori, Korean folk songs, Sanjo, Pansori, shaman and western  instrumentation of bass, saxophone, SE:UM continue the tradition of ethnic Korean music but are also aware they are living in the 21st century as they immerse themselves in modern music. Traditional sounds are mixed with jazz, folk, and freeform style to create an entirely new and exciting fusion.

A general outline of the trance-fusion music of SE:UM would be the seamless transitioning between the slow and peaceful thrum of the contrabass to the eruptive trumpet and drum with an emotional attachment to each song. The gayageum makes SE:UM’s music stand out, for its harmonious rhythm
merges perfectly with the jazz beats. Melodic trances induce imagery of walking through the corridors of the past, to then, be met around the corner by a battleground between trumpet and saxophone.

Members of SE:UM are Lee Joon (gayageum), Lee Minhyung (jang-gu), Ha SengKook (trumpet), Han Hunsik (saxophone) and Lee Jaeha (bass)

Fringe 2017 – Performers

Cats in Love

Like every other story of hopes and dreams, CATS IN LOVE began life as a rock band hell-bent on getting its brand of retro rock out to the world. Customary with rock music from the golden era of the genre – 60s and 70s – CATS IN LOVE throws in smatterings of all things that have come to define classic rock music, so there’ll be equal amounts of rock, blues, prog, funk, pop, country and jazz.

Consisting of Lohan (guitars, vocals), Wong (keys), Zedes (bass) and Ash (drums), the band is on the cusp of releasing its debut album, “No Paws For Regret”.



# IV (Sharp Four) is a Jazz rock band formed in 2013. The members of the band are guitarist Tommy Chan, pianist Tong Sin Ee, bassist H’ng Lih and drummer Ong Chong Han. Performing mainly their own original compositions,the band’s sound is a blend of progressive rock, classical, pop and jazz musical idioms.


Azmyl Yunor

Azmyl, who has dabbled in folk rock, punk, free-form instrumentals and experimental noise rock for the past two decades, is the only Malaysian independent/underground artist (besides the legendary P. Ramlee) to have a musical theatre staged about him (2013’s “Something I Wrote”). A founding member of seminal bands such as Ben’s Bitches, The Maharajah Commission and Ciplak, Azmyl, who combines angst, wit, and humility seamlessly in his socially-aware bi-lingual songs, has since 1997 released his own recordings, published research writing on music subcultures, moral panics & cultural politics and hosts his own radio show on alternative country music.


Brendan De Cruz

No stranger to the independent scene, singer-songwriter Brendan de Cruz, is known for his personal takes on popular covers, and the slit-wristing emotions expressed through his own tunes. Following his successful debut EP “Even So” in September 2016, Brendan, who’s strong vocals make up for his seemingly reserved personality, released his second EP, another trade mark heartstring-tugging record, on a slightly darker level, mastered by internationally renowned mastering engineer, Pete Maher – “Black” in August 2017.


Electro Salmon

When Sean Choon (drums) and Jaime Gunter (bass) of Volatile banded together with childhood friends, Kishan Nadesh (guitar), Rebecca Vega (vocals) and Reuben Tor (keyboards), they unleashed the funky fresh magic of Electro Salmon. Laying down some fresh grooves with a generous helping of old school funk, the band play their own primo brand of vintage funk and reworked pop.


HYS Sax Quartet

The HYS Sax Quartet was established 2 years ago under the Hui Yin Seh Buddhist Society Big band lead by Isaac Teh Yi. The young quartet consisting of Teh Zhi Qi, Ng Jing Ling, Lim Jun Shen and Shong Yi Xian play a wide variety of their own arrangements, ranging from classics to contemporary music.



Consisting of six members – Henderson Ooi (Bass), Lim Yuin Shing (Keyboard), Ismail (Drum) , Sven Hunold (Guitar), Lim Jun Shen (Saxophone), Ooi Hui Kee (Vocal), J.O.N. (Jazz or No) combo was formed in August 2016. Sharing a common passion for making music, the members who come from different occupational backgrounds, have performed in a number of events all over Penang.



Spawned out of their love for funky lines and groovy beats, the band goes by a name that was conceived out of their obsession for the TV series “Breaking Bad”. With Jay on electric guitar and vocals, Jordan on drums and Farid on the bass, the trio who back a number of local artistes such as Daniel C and Viv Adram, is an amalgam of different influences and styles.


Neon Waves

Neon Waves got together early this year and made their debut performance at Little Penang Street Market (LPSM). The response to their performance encouraged them to continue and the Duo – Mable (keyboards and vocals) and Ahlleenh (vocals), who won first place at the 2017 Busking competition, continued to build up their repertoire experimenting with their own arrangements of a wide variety of songs from various genres.


Eilvane Trio

Singer-songwriter from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Eilvane, has been in the Kota Kinabalu, Sabah music scene since 2012, when she came out second in the very first Unplugged Acoustic Competition. In 2013, she won the KK Jazz Talent Search in 2013, and has then been featured twice at the KK Jazz Festival. Joining her onstage are seasoned keyboardist and music arranger Damian Paul @ Ed and saxophonist Khairul Azree. The trio, who cover a wide selection of jazz and contemporary musical styles, perform regularly at SOULed OUT Kota Kinabalu.