In their heyday, the GTS jazz trio was widely considered among the best jazz bands in Cambodia, with regular dates at the Riverhouse and the Sofitel. They were the subject of glowing articles in The Advisor and other publications.
As good as they were, however – and they were good – Phnom Penh’s smallish music scene proved tough terrain for a jazz band to flourish.
“It’s very difficult to have a pure jazz quartet here,” says Sebastien Adnot, who along with Gabi Faja and Toma Willen have disbanded GTS in order to pursue a new four-man project fronted by Australian sax-man Euan Gray.
The new group is named Kin. After a year of promoting “the GTS Jazz Trio and Euan Gray,” Adnot says the four “were looking for something short.”
The quartet will make its debut at The FCC on April 20.
“Before we were just a trio,” says Adnot, a native of France who moved to Cambodia two years ago, of the change. “We played only jazz standards. And sometimes when we needed a singer or a sax player we invited someone. We functioned as a rhythm section for a soloist.”
Gray was among the frontmen with whom the trio regularly partnered. After a year of regular gigging, cementing the relationship seemed like the next logical step.
The spirit of jazz will remain, Adnot says, no doubt serving as group’s musical foundation. But Kin will experiment with different sounds. “Jazz,” he says, “even if you are a fantastic player, is not always easy listening for everyone. You have to be used to listening to jazz a little bit.”
The new group will makes forays into pop and soul. “Funky stuff,” Adnot says, like Stevie Wonder.
“We are all from very different backgrounds,” says the lone Italian Faja, “Classical, Gypsy, Jazz, Raggae. In fact our music is a hybrid of all.”
The commitment to a new name is reflected in the group’s ambitions. Original music scores are in the pipeline, professional photo and video shoots are in the works, nd the four are working with a professional graphic designer to polish the quartet’s branding.
“Having a new band is like having a baptism,” Adnot says. “It’s a rebirth.”