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The dazzling career of Malay jazzman Aubrey Suwito

  

Aubrey Suwito

A Malaysian pianist, songwriter and producer, Aubrey Suwito has been involved in the music industry since the tender age of six. That was when he first put his hands on a piano's keyboards and thoughts himself a few chords. It was the beginning of an extraordinary journey that would see Suwito rise right to the top of the South East Asian music scene, becoming musical director of Malaysian Idol and being awarded multiple times for his incredible contribution.

Suwito's gifts were apparent from early on in his life and so it was no surprise that he crossed the Atlantic and enrolled in the Berkeley School of Music in Boston in 1991. The most formative part of his education was his first exposure to the rich history of American jazz music, which would inform his song writing from that time on. He took a job at a recording studio after graduation and, quite quickly, his talents were noticed.

He began writing and producing songs for a diverse string of popular musicians, most notably Jaclyn Victor for whom he wrote the award winning smash Gemilang. As well as the work he has done for others, Suwito also boasts an impressive discography of his own LPs. His first album, One Busy Street was originally released in 2000 and fused his own Malay musical heritage with his love of Jazz and other American styles. It is a real treat for anybody interested in world music, as it brings together diverse elements of sound from different cultures to create a new and enticing audio palette. His second album, Christmas with Friends from 2010 was the sister recording for a fundraising concert he and his wife put on to help musicians in need of medical assistance. A jaunty though captivating collection of traditional Christmas hits given a jazzy spin, it packs some truly spectacular moments, including a superb rendition of O Holy Night.

A recent album is Home, released in 2011 and this is perhaps Suwito's most clear attempt to make a fuse Malaysian and American music to form a new sound yet. Typically, Malaysian rhythms play below jazz riffs before, occasionally, breaking into Asian pop melody. For anybody interested in Malay music, Aubrey Suwito is a must-listen. More on crankymusic.

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