Press Quotes

"A rising acoustic guitarist"
     TIMEOUT Singapore

"This is one guy who can finger-pick, hold massive grape fruit-sized chords and make his guitar gently weep with the best." 
     KLue Magazine

"Az squeezes out a whole new sonic universe for the acoustic guitar."
Pete Teo

"Az Samad produces works that are richly textured, poetic and atmospheric." 
      The New Straits Times


2010 Stella Berboth Scholarship Recipient
2009 Lois King Thore Music Scholarship Recipient
2009 Tower Foundation Scholarship Recipient
2008 San Jose State University Graduate Program Scholarship Recipient
2008 Pongid Radio Featured Artist (August 2008)
2007 Sonicbids Spotlight Artist (December 2007)
2007 "Berjalan Bersamamu" received an honorable mention in the 11th Unisong International Songwriting Contest for the "Instrumental (any style)" category.
2005 Berklee College Of Music World Scholarship Tour Recipient
2003 Nominated for Best Solo Performance(Music) in the first Cameronian Arts Award, a prestigious event for the arts community in Malaysia.

More about Az

Az performs on:

the Maestro Guitars Raffles-PH CSB A

the William Jeffrey Jones 'Proteus' electric guitar

and a Tony Yamamoto baritone acoustic guitar.


Az uses Elixir Strings

Az uses a K&K Sound Quantum Trinity System

Az uses G7th Capos

At home, Az's guitars relax on 
Rock Solid Guitar Stands


On the road, Az travels and gigs
with MONO Instrument Cases

mono GO PLAY


Performance History

Mei Zeit Chalet, Turracher Hohe

Newton Ferrers Yacht Club

New York City:

Stain Bar NY
Caffe Vivaldi

Swiss Human Rights Exhibition @ Logan Airport
Marriot Copley
Berklee Performance Center
Lawrence Berk Recital Hall
Harvard University
La Luna Caffe, Cambridge
The Paulist Center
All Asia Bar
Fire and Ice Boston


World Music Hall, Wesleyan University, Middletown

San Francisco Bay Area:
Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Public Library
Caffe Trieste (San Francisco and Berkeley,CA)
Coffee Adventures
Palace Hotel
The Cannery
Beckett's, Berkeley
Boulevard Restaurant
Mama Buzz Cafe, Oakland
Nomad Cafe
Bazaar Cafe
Beale Street Bar and Grill
Blondie's Bar and No Grill
King Tsin Restaurant
Anna's Jazz Island
Octavia Lounge
Rooz Cafe
Sea Mi Restaurant
Red Rock Coffee
Good Karma Vegan Cafe, Downtown San Jose
C'era Una Volta, Alameda
The Uptown, Oakland
Shashamane International Bar & Grill, Oakland
Grant and Green
Mama Art Cafe
Orso Restaurant, Berkeley
OneWorldWalk, Berkeley
Senzala Restaurant, Sunnyvale
Mission City Coffee Roasting Co., Santa Clara
La Plaza Park, Cotati
Morroco's Restaurant, Downtown San Jose

West Virginia:
Appalachian South Folk Life Center
Concord University, Athens


As a solo act:
The George Town Literary Festival 2011, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
Culturefest 2007,2008 and 2010, Pipestem, West Virginia
The Third Annual Downtown Berkeley MusicFest 2010
KALW Free On-Air Festival of the Airwaves 2010

As The Az Samad Duo (w/ Zalila Lee on percussion):
Penang Island Jazz Festival 2011, Penang, Malaysia

As The Az Samad Duo (w/ Carrie Jahde on drums):
The First Annual Downtown Berkeley MusicFest 2008

(w/ Rick Vandivier Duo)
San Jose Jazz Festival 2009

(w/ Tara Linda and Luna Nueva)
The 19th Annual Cotati Accordion Festival

(w/ Tara Linda, Los Texmaniacs and Flaco Jimenez)
The 20th Annual Cotati Accordion Festival

(w/ Planet Loop)
Y2K9 International Live Looping Festival, Santa Cruz, CA.

As Az & The Jazz Strings:
MIT Nightmarket 2007

Malaysia :
No Black Tie
Istana Budaya
Alexis Bar and Bistro
La Bodega
Le Bernardin
Bangkok Jazz
Paul's Place
Backyard Pub
Laundry Bar
KL JamAsia
Fasta Pasta
Schokolart, Soho KL
Starbucks KLue Acoustic Series
Borders Books
MPH Bookstores, Midvalley Megamall
The Palace Of The Golden Horses
Mandarin Oriental
Equatorial Hotel
Hotel Istana
Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC)
The Actor's Studio Dataran Merdeka
The Actor's Studio Box
Auditorium DBKL
Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka
Universiti Malaya
Universiti Institut Teknologi Mara
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
International College Of Music
UCSI Recital Hall, Sedaya College
Monash University
PRIME College
Commonwealth Club Malaysia
Central Market
Taman Budaya Ipoh
Plaza Putra, Dataran Merdeka
Kelab Darul Ehsan
Dataran Shah Alam
Karnival Sure Heboh TV3, Stadium Bukit Jalil
Times Square Shopping Mall
Sunway Pyramid
Bangsar Shopping Centre

Festivals :
As part of Shelley Leong and Jazz Odyssey:

Penang Island Jazz Festival 2004
Sunrise Jazz and Rhythm Festival 2005 & 2006
Heineken Octoberfest
KL Sing Song 2006 Festival

As Dalcha Duo (acoustic guitar duo project with Hardesh Singh):

Fete De La Musique Festival 2003

As a solo act:
Singapore Writers Festival 2007
Yogyakarta Quake Aid 2006
Fete De La Musique Festival 2004
17th National Malaysian Poetry Day 2007
Jairus Anthony Music Festival 2004
Unplugged at Paulies 2003


The Singapore Art Museum
Esplanade Outdoor Theatre Stage
The Arts House @ Old Parliament
Home Bar

Az has taught at:
Berklee College Of Music (Berklee Summer Guitar Sessions 2007 & 2008) - Boston,MA
The North Beach Teen Program Guitar Classes @ Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center - San Francisco, CA
San Jose State University (Co-teacher for Guitar Fundamentals and Jazz Improvisation Classes)
De Anza College (Teaching Assistant for Intermediate/Advanced Guitar Class)

Az has conducted music workshops at:

Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, USA.
Freight and Salvage, Berkeley, California
Culturefest 2008, Pipestem, West Virginia, USA.
San Jose State University, San Jose, California, USA.
Evergreen Valley High School, San Jose, California, USA. (Guitar Outreach w/ Steve Lin)
International College Of Music, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Malaysian Institute of Art, Taman Melawati, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
AC Pickers @ Freeman Guitars, Kepong, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Guitar Collection Subang Jaya, Malaysia
Music Hut, Damansara Perdana, Malaysia
Young Choral Academy, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Damansara Jaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Kl SingSong Festival 2006

TV/Radio/Media appearances/interviews/performances:


'The C Factor' chosen to be on continual airplay on 100% Music Radio Station (Avrille, France)

Pen Women Presents Show - Channel 29 SF Access (San Francisco, CA)
PIXY 103 - Homegrown Radio Show (Cape Cod,MA)
mvyradio Local MusiCafe (Martha's Vinyard, MA)
Celtic Folk Podcast (Georgetown, KY)
Upbeat Radio Podcast (Georgetown, KY)
Pongid Radio (Second Life)
WJFN Showcase Internet Radio Show (Long Island, NY)
Junior's Cave Online Magazine Spotlight (Brunswick,GA)
Damn Good Tunes Online Magazine Feature (Rochester,WA)
Seattle PI newspaper website (Seattle, WA)
KBBF,89.1 FM, (Santa Rosa, CA)
Pirate Cat Radio (San Francisco, CA)


Channel V
X-Fresh Radio
WAMMcast (We Are Malaysian Made)
BFM 89.9 FM
The Jazz Kitchen on TraxxFM

Suria Segar TV Show
Mr. Brown Podcast Show (interview and performance with Shelley Leong)

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Guitarist-Composer-Educator Az Samad has recorded with Grammy Winners Flaco Jiménez & Max Baca; graduated & taught at the prestigious Berklee College of Music; performed in the United States, Europe & Asia; and appeared on 22 CDs ranging in styles from Tex-Mex, Contemporary Jazz to solo acoustic guitar. His works have been described as “richly textured, poetic and atmospheric”.

Az has been exploring Malay jazz including the music of P. Ramlee, Jimmy Boyle and most recently Singapore’s Zubir Said. As the musical director and guitarist for A Zubir Said Tribute, Az led 5 shows at Esplanade Outdoor Theatre, Singapore with an 11-piece ensemble performing brand new arrangements he wrote.

As a film music composer, he’s collaborated with filmmakers James Lee and We Jun in their short film projects. Az composed the music to Salvaj, winner of the best short film at The 27th Malaysia Film Festival. [Check out Az's Film Music work here]

As an educator, Az has taught at Berklee College of Music (USA); Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut (USA); San Jose State University (USA); Northern California Music & Art Culture Center, San Francisco, CA (USA); De Anza College (USA); Culturefest in Pipestem, West Virginia (USA) ; The Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, California; Thomas Leeb's Residential Acoustic Guitar Camp in Turracher Höhe (Austria); Guitar Concept (Hong Kong); Shanghai Street Studios (Hong Kong); Macau Strings Association (Macau); Mosaic Music Festival (Singapore); Maestro Guitars (Singapore); University of Asia and The Pacific (Philippines); Langkawi Live (Malaysia); UCSI University (Malaysia); Universiti Teknologi Mara (Malaysia); Young Choral Academy (Malaysia); Malaysian Institute of Art; Moonshine Anniversary (Malaysia); Sixstrings (Malaysia); DrumStore (Malaysia); The Guitar Store (Malaysia); Malaysian Jazz Piano Festival; Penang Island Jazz Festival (Malaysia); Penang House of Music (Malaysia); and International College of Music (Malaysia).

Az is also the author of the e-book 'Jazz Improvisation Uncovered' [available here] and is currently working on a beginner sight reading book for guitarists.

Previously based in Berkeley, California; Az now lives in Kuala Lumpur.


[The Longer Version]

Guitarist-Composer-Educator Az Samad has performed in the United States, Europe and Asia. A versatile musician who has appeared on twenty two CDs (eleven of which are his solo releases), Az has worked with Grammy winners Flaco Jiménez and Max Baca, drummer Bernie Dresel (Brian Setzer Orchestra), singer-songwriters Tara Linda and Reza Salleh, guitarists Mike Dawes, John Stowell, Adam Rafferty, Stuart Ryan, and Teja Gerken; world music ensemble Bogofusion; electronic jazz-funk group Planet Loop; Cumbia-Dub band Candelaria; and string jazz ensemble JazzMine. Az has been invited to perform as the opening act for concerts by Tommy Emmanuel and Martin Taylor. Az was also selected as one of the presenters for TEDxKL 2013 which was the largest TEDx in South East Asia to date. 

'Az Samad is THE Malaysian guitar hero. Not only is he an incredibly soulful and accomplished player, he is a talented and well respected educator in all aspects of the guitar. He is also a super nice guy with a wicked sense of humour. Miss him at your peril!' 

Mike Dawes, English Virtuoso Fingerstyle Guitarist & Recording Artist with Candyrat Records

Orchestra performances

Az was the featured classical guitar soloist with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) for the Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy Kuala Lumpur premiere conducted by Arnie Roth (USA). He has also performed as part of the MPO in other sold-out performances and worked with conductors Richard Kaufman (USA) and Mark Fitz-Gerald (UK) and classical musicians Igudes­man and Joo.


"Az Samad is a master of expression. Every note he plays comes from a place of deep musical knowledge and understanding. He can use his guitar to say "I love you" in 17 languages."

Jon Gomm, UK Acoustic Singer-Songwriter and Virtuoso Guitarist 

Az as an educator

In addition to his extensive performance credentials, Az has 17 years of teaching experience. This has been shaped by his musical training which includes 4 degrees in music. He received degrees from University of Westminster, UK; Jazz Composition and Guitar Performance - Summa Cum Laude Honors from Berklee College of Music, USA; and Masters in Music (Jazz Studies) from San Jose State University. 

As an educator, Az has been on the faculty of Berklee College of Music's Summer Guitar Sessions and has taught workshops at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut; Culturefest in Pipestem, West Virginia; and The Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, California. Az has also taught at fingerstyle guitarist Thomas Leeb's 2013 annual Residential Acoustic Guitar Camp in Turracher Höhe, Austria. Az was teaching alongside such fingerstyle greats including Jon Gomm, Mike Dawes, Thomas Leeb and Alex Kabasser.

"His measured, lyrical approach, warm tone and cleanly articulated solo lines might have conjured notions of Bill Frisell's influence, though Samad's sound was all his own."

Ian Patterson, All About Jazz

Az believes in contributing back to the society that has supported his music efforts. His music outreach program started off with scholarship student Irena Taib of The Impatient Sisters fame. Irena received a scholarship from Berklee College of Music has since continued her studies there. Az currently conducts private guitar lessons in Kuala Lumpur with a strong focus on beginners and Jazz students.

Az is also a columnist with The Star. The first 4 installments of his column, Beats & Bytes are hereherehere and here.

On tour in Europe 

In 2012, he embarked on his first European tour with California-based Tara Linda & The Tortilla Western Trio performing in the Folk Segovia Festival, Spain & a 3-night residency at Töpferei Niehenke, Hasbergen, Germany. In summer 2013, Az toured Europe as a solo guitarist performing 10 dates including England, Northern Ireland, The Netherlands, Austria and Germany. 

Electric Az Orchestra 

Az's 2013 album 'in the deep night/electric poetry' is an exploration of electric guitar textures with live looping, ambient soundscapes and moods. In the words of Berklee professor, Garrison Fewell:

“Az Samad's new CD, "In the Deep Night / Electric Poetry" is a dreamer's paradise of contemplative meditation and thoughtful reflections." 

In 2014, he released two albums: Squirrels in Space with multi-instrumentalist Richard Moss (UK) and In The Moment, a follow-up to 2013's 'in the deep night/electric poetry'. 

Previously based in Berkeley, California; Az now lives in Kuala Lumpur. 



First time here?
Check out some of the popular blog posts:

For Aspiring Jazz Guitarists:

4-Part Jazz Guitar Mini Course (Includes Video, PDF with TAB & MP3)
Part 1: Walking Bass Lines For Jazz Guitar:
Part 2: Jazz Guitar Chords:
Part 3: Jazz Guitar Triads: 
Part 4: Soloing With Triads:

How To Play Great Jazz Guitar Chords:
7 Things For Jazz Guitarists To Practice:
How To Memorize a Jazz Standard:
Jazz Guitar 101:

Open Mic at The Venue:

Cheryl Tan & Az Samad:
Az Samad Trio:


Solo Releases available for purchase directly from Az here:

Acoustic Gestures & Emo Attack Turtle are available for purchase on:
Real Rhapsody
and all major online retailers.

2013 Az Samad - in the deep night/electric poetry
2012 Az Samad - Distant River (single)
2012 Az Samad - The Amsterdam Recordings
2012 Tara Linda - Torch and Sass
2011 Az Samad - Our Voice (Demo)
2011 The Adam Everett Quartet - Round One
2011 Az Samad - love letters EP 
2011 Planet Loop - Cubed
2010 Az Samad - Emo Attack Turtle (second solo guitar album)
2010 Tara Linda - Tortilla Western Serenade (w/ Grammy Winners Flaco Jimenez and Max Baca)
2008 New Age and New Sounds Compilation CD (Italian music magazine)
2007 Snow and Ice EP (exclusive online-only release)
2007 Ciplak - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 
2006 Panic In The Peninsula (compilation album) 
2004 Acoustic Gestures (debut solo guitar album)
2003 ICOM :Feel The Buzz (compilation album)
2003 Echoes Of Bangsar (limited printing self-produced EP)
2002 B'Yu (Universal Music/Synchrosound Music) (as lyricist)

Songs licensed for use in:
2012 "Relationship Status",  a Kharil M. Bahar flick [Official Website]
2012 "Concrete Jungle", a web series by Greenroom136
2011 Teaser Trailer for "Relationship Status", a Kharil M. Bahar flick [Official Website]
2007 Teaser Trailer for "London Calling", a indie movie by Anugerah Skrin Award Winner Kharil M. Bahar
2007 The Bedroom Musicians Series Promotional Video
2005 Video CD of Malaysian National Laurete A Samad Said - "A Samad Said - Kehidupan Seorang Seniman Malaysia"

Original Music for children's musical:
2003 Di Mana Singa (Where is the Lion) directed by Ladin Nuawi

Original Theme Songs for:
2008 The 6th Young Singers Choral Festival - 'Not Alone Anymore' (co-written with Shelley Leong)
2004 Monolog Memori Di Hadapan Pulau directed by SN Datuk Dr. A Samad Said


Press Reviews:

"Guitar Guru. 
onsidered one of the best guitarists in Malaysia"
Malaysian Business: 
Malaysia's Premier Business Magazine since 1972

"Az's compositions are at times playful and irreverent, and at other times lyrical and soulful, but always inventive, tastefully crafted and beautifully nuanced — an absolute pleasure to listen to." The Edge Malaysia

"a music extraordinaire"
BFM 89.9: The Business Station 

" local six-string boy wonder"
The New Straits Times


"Technically impressive...utilizing the percussive potential of the guitar to great effect, something in the vein of guitarist Andy McKee."
All About Jazz


"This is one guy who can finger-pick, hold massive grape fruit-sized chords and make his guitar gently weep with the best."
  KLue Magazine 

"A rising acoustic guitarist"
     TIMEOUT Singapore

 "Az squeezes out a whole new sonic universe for the acoustic guitar." Pete Teo


"Az Samad produces works that are richly textured, poetic and atmospheric." 
      The New Straits Times

"a steel-string acoustic guitar maestro" 
       The Star 

"undeniable talent..a one of a kind artist"
The Concordian

"an instrumental showcase of fretboard burning talent, bound together by image-inducing melodies and arrangements"

"immensely technical yet effortless fingerstyle"

"this guy here plays the acoustic guitar as if he was born with it."

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