Jay: Hong Kong’s Guitarzan

By Hans Ebert
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Some of us see Jay perform with Jennifer Palor and the band at Adrenaline. The venue that’s a club at Happy Valley racecourse and comes alive every Happy Wednesday.

We’ve also seen him front various bands at the track’s Beer Garden stage. Some good. Some not so good. He can become a sideman. He’s adaptable. Aka versatile. He’s Jay. He’s Guitarzan Jay.

As a Rock guitarist, there’s no one in Hong Kong who comes close to him. Sure, he can blend in with other musicians and play anything. A gig is a gig is a gig. But it’s at Hard Rock Cafe where he’s the happiest.

His band plays there every Tuesday. He calls the shots. He’s free to play whatever he wants.

A few of us went over to see him last night. At Hard Rock Cafe. The joint was rocking. Going around and around. So was Jay. And though having an aversion to covers band just as I have an aversion to television karaoke competitions judged by those who can’t judge because they cannot sing- like Mel B- watching Jay try to outdo Slash and Eddie Van Halen etc and strike Rock God poses works for what it is.

It caters to an audience who knows they’re watching a very special musician- but don’t know why. They don’t need to. They’re there to enjoy themselves. Not everyone is a music critic. Most are music fans wanting to hear hits that they know.

It’s like audiences religiously following those television karaoke competitions and rooting for the young kid singing a Celine Dion song. Why? They know the song and it’s kinda like one of those old television soap operas. It’s wanting to know what happens next to Snapper. Or who shot JR.

At the Hard Rock Cafe on a Tuesday, it’s fans of commercial Rock music coming together to have fun and hear and watch a very good guitarist make love to his guitar. He delivers. He’s in his element. So are those playing with him. Especially Roland, the drummer.

To me, he’s extraordinary. World class. So is Guitarzan Jay. He’s my friend. He’s got a great heart. He’s incredibly talented.

Watching him, I couldn’t help thinking about Neal Schon discovering Arnel Pineda on YouTube and recruiting him into Journey.

A Filipino guy singing Journey covers in a club in Hong Kong replaced the great Steve Perry. Arnel Pineda has done incredibly well for himself. It’s been a huge career leap from playing at the Cavern in Hong Kong. No one can begrudge his success. The stars were perfectly aligned for him. He can now afford to kickback.

Someone like Steve Tyler or David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar need to discover Jay. He deserves better than to just go from gig to gig. He’s way too good for Hong Kong.

Does he know it? Jay doesn’t think like that. He doesn’t have lofty ambitions. He’s not a legend in his own lunchtime. But it’s us- his friends and fans who wants more for him.

Know what? We’ll make it happen.

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