Born: August 6 Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor
NICOLE DUFFELL - TENOR SAXOPHONE
A formidable soloist in her own right, Nicole is a prolific composer/ arranger & also a graduate of the West Australian Conservatorium of Music. From age 18 she was already prominent in the West Australian music scene - her versatility as a tenor saxophonist has kept her involved in a diverse multitude of musical projects nationally & internationally, extending across a comprehensive range of musical styles.
After years of touring as a session musician across Australia, Nicole decided on settling in Europe. Then, after passing through Singapore in 2002 on what was supposed to be a stop-over, Nicole landed a contract to perform with the “Way Kool” band at the renown Somerset Jazz Club. A long list of prestigious engagements ensued (as well as her yearly pilgrimages to perform in Europe) plus numerous music & arts festivals. Nicole is currently preparing her first solo album to be recorded in Singapore.
The unenviable task of following Emmanuel's blistering, roof- raising performance and of bringing the festival top a close fell to ZHAN, a young jazz quartet which was making its international debut. Bassist Rozhan Razman and drummer John Thomas have been playing together for more than a decade and they formed a dynamic, deeply grooving rhythm section in an energetic set of post-bop jazz which was as compelling for the arrangements as it was for the strong collective and individual playing.
Pianist/keyboardist Rie Tsuji was outstanding; a highly versatile musician, Tsuji is a classically trained pianist who currently plays in Beyonce's band. As she demonstrated with her exciting, free-flowing solos and intelligent comping, jazz is another idiom in which she feels completely at home. Saxophonist Nicole Duffel also impressed as a soloist with a personal voice, free of cliché.
A group of aspiring young drummers gathered at the front right-hand side of the stage behind the speaker stack to observe Thomas's playing up close. His drum solo in the middle of The Enemy was a model of imagination and panache, and it was easy to see why he is one of the most sought-after drummers on Malaysia.
A set of striking originals climaxed with a fresh take on saxophonist Wayne Shorter's Footprints' which moved between slow impressionistic movement to a powerful funk- based groove, with Tsuji and Duffel stretching out in uninhibited manner. The crowd had thinned out a tad following Emmanuel's set, but more fool those who thought the festival had reached its climax with the Australian finger picker, for ZHAN surely rose to the occasion and delivered a storming performance worthy of festival headliners.