Sad news to the Filipino jazz community and inside the music circle as Filipino jazz guitarist and session player extraordinaire Edgar Avenir died of pneumonia which arises to lung cancer. He was 61.
Edgar Avenir was one of the great musicians in the land who could play any type of genre – be it kundiman, classical, jazz, blues or OPM. Known as Koyang to his peers, Sir Avenir played with other renowned local artists like the APO Hiking Society in the 90s and even played at the North Sea Jazz Festival with fellow Pinoy jazz artists. Koyang was one of the senyors, a term coined to musicians who are true masters of their craft and had been in the industry for a long time. Though he may not be popular in most audiences, he was highly regarded as an excellent musician inside the music circle. His works with jazz artist Mishka Adams showed his prowess in arranging songs.
Koyang was one of the local guitarists that I idolized. The first time I heard of Mishka Adams, I was completely awed with the guitar arrangements and wondered who did those songs, and so I bought her album God Bless The Child which was under Candid Records, the same label that brought jazz artist Jamie Cullum. I found out that one of her guitarists on the album was Koyang, the others were senyors Noli and Spy and Kalayo guitarist Sammy Asuncion. I haven’t heard of the former that time and later on when I got into playing in groups too, I figured out that this guy was a master! Talk about top guitar players in the land and his name would be on each of the lists of renowned session players in the country. It’s been my dream to jam along with great players like senyor Koyang, unfortunately I didn’t, so maybe on the other side, let’s have that great gig in the sky.
Back then, I would watch Mishka Adam’s gigs to see this guy play the instrument. He was so good that when I got back home coming from their gig, I would pick up my guitar and imitate his stuffs. Of course I suck at it ’cause I’m not as good as this guy. He was one of my influences when it comes to Pinoy jazz and it was just surreal when I had Mishka’s cd signed by her and by senyor. Remembered his reaction when I let him autographed the cd, he was completely surprised as if he was not worthy to do so. It was like, hey kid I’m not the star here, I’m just the guitar player. But being appreciative to one’s work, I’ve got to. It was one of things I do whenever I buy someone’s album, to have all or at least some of the musicians involved in its creation to sign on the cd.
One of the humble guys I’ve seen in the music industry. Truly a class act.
He will be sorely missed.