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  • Writer's pictureJulian Chan

Share good things - like my videos (LOL!) and about Antonio Hart

Okay, here's a personal plug!

If you didn't know already, I've got a Youtube channel, of which I've mostly been uploading performance videos of shows that I've done. So you if you haven't gone and check them out, please click here to visit my Youtube channel.

I'd like to share a video of song I did with my quintet in 2018. It's called "Cannonball", an instrumental song written by my saxophone sifu, Antonio Hart. You can find this track on one of his albums titled For Cannonball and Woody (RCA Records). I've loved this tune ever since I heard it many years ago in the late 90s. I can only presume it's a tune Antonio wrote for one of his big saxophone influences (well, to many of us alto players, really!), Julian "Cannonball" Adderley.

TRIVIA: Other than sharing the same name, Cannonball Adderley and I share the same birth month of September (go Virgoes!!). Although I sound nothing like him, some friends had the funny knack of nicknaming me CHANnonball....hahaha!! Must be the body mass I use to pack!

So here's a little personal story with this song. I remember many years later after I became a professional musician - some time in the early 2000s - and having my own jazz band with a similar line-up (piano, bass, drums, sax, trumpet), I wanted to play this song as part of the band's repertoire. I had wanted to get the sheet music for this tune, so I decided to write directly to Antonio, whom I have not met personally before except only by musical reputation (and Downbeat magazines), if I could have the sheet music for this song. I was already a fan of his music, the first record I ever got of him was his Grammy-nominated album Here I Stand (Impulse Records) - another record to check out, by the way!

At the time, he didn't get back to me about it for a long time so I thought maybe he was too busy and forgot about the email. However, I managed to transcribe the tune (although not entire sure of the accuracy of the chord changes) and played it with the band. I totally enjoyed the experience of playing it, it had a really cool memorable melody, nice groove, and also not-so-straightforward-but-fun-to-play chord changes. It's not the kind of tune that goes like the typical American Songbook (AABA, AABC, ABAC, etc) song forms. It's heavily reliant on knowing where the melody is to be able to keep the form while soloing on it.

Fast forward 2-3 years, I managed to get myself to New York City to pursue my Masters degree in Jazz Studies, and studying with the one person I did not expect I'd get to meet - Antonio Hart! Suffice to say, studying with him and being in NYC was one of the most fundamental life-changing experiences in my life - both in music and personally. I'm also thankful that we also developed a close brother-mentor relationship, and I've learned so much just hanging out and talking to him about music and life. Antonio is definitely a big influence on me, especially about what to think about music and how to develop a personal musical identity while having one foot in the tradition of the music (and why it's so important to do so!).

Anyway, I digress. During the first year of study, I mentioned to him about the email I sent him many years back about getting the sheet music of that song. I think he definitely read and forgot to reply to me about it, and we had a good laugh talking about it.

Fast forward to 2018, I think I'm a little bit more mature of a musician and saxophonist, and I had the chance to put together a quintet band and play this song once again. It wasn't any less fun then when I played it many years ago, I think this is probably the 2nd or 3rd time I've played this tune with a band. Featured in the band are my colleagues AJ Popshuvit on electric bass, KJ Wong on drums, Eddie Wen on flugelhorn, and the esteemed Michael Veerapen on piano.

I will definitely play this more once the pandemic is over and we get gigs again.

So I hope you will enjoy the music and the video. Please do check out my Youtube channel for other videos, including those of Julian Chan Jazz Orchestra, my big band that I put together in 2018. If you're inclined and feel generous, please do consider Buying Me A Coffee (the link is on the video as well in Youtube) to support my work so I am able to put out more stuff online.

Thanks for reading. Have a great week, and stay safe!

- JC

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