It was a nostalgic tribute – one of a son to his father – as James P.S. Boyle, with the ensemble The James Boyle Trio, played the late Jimmy Boyle’s songs at the Penang International Jazz Festival in December last year.
Jimmy was Malaysia’s top jazz pianist/composer, and one of Penang’s most illustrious musical icons. Born in Penang and educated at St. Xavier’s Institution, his musical vision was stunning and his music abilities were years ahead of his time. It comes as no surprise that his son James also plays the piano: a Boh Cameronian Award-winning music director, graduate of the Berklee College of Music and music lecturer at Aswara who has performed in various jazz festivals in Asia, James is also an active composer in the corporate and theatre world. He wrote Putera Puteri: The Music and the Legacy of Jimmy Boyle.
Anchoring the Trio is one of the most respected and revered arrangers/bass players in the Malaysian music industry, Ruslan Imam, who has been active since the 1980s. On drums is his son Ruvi Ruslan, a music composition graduate from UiTM who is the founder of No Noise Percussion. Ruvi also plays the drums for Go Gerila!, Aizat Amdan and Amir Jahari, among others.
Joining the Trio are two very talented vocalists who have made incredible strides not only in the local music industry but also abroad. They are composer and singer/songwriter Liyana Fizi, and Penang’s own songbird, Bihzhu.
Ch’ng Shi P’ng is a Penang photographer who likes photographing performing arts and cultural events. His works can be viewed at www. facebook.com/shipngdotcom.