Adil Johan grew up playing the saxophone amidst the calm sea breeze of Penang island, Malaysia. He was then trained in the harsh winters of Toronto, Canada at York University’s Jazz Performance program, studying under Canadian jazz maestros, Sundar Viswanathan, Mike Murley, Al Henderson, Barry Elmes and Lorne Lofsky. A period of experimentation that blended free improvisation and soulful saxophone textures with instrumental hip-hop and electronic dance music ensued.
Upon returning to Kuala Lumpur, Adil played with local recording artists such as Dasha Logan, Reshmonu and the late, great, Farid Ali, while initiating his own neo-soul-funk group, The Adil Johan Quartet. After a musical hiatus that resulted in a PhD. thesis on 1950s to 1960s Malay film music from King’s College London, Dr. Adil Johan, (re-)returned back to Kuala Lumpur with a hunger to create uniquely Malaysian yet contemporary music. In an effort to create a new Malaysian ‘sound’ – combining both the traditional and popular – Adil now performs and records with two projects. The folk-rock collective Azmyl Yunor Orkes Padu, sees Adil providing tenor and soprano saxophone embellishments, while the cultural-fusion band, Nadir, incorporates Adil’s soprano and alto saxophone explorations in rock, jazz and Malay-Indian-Chinese fusion approaches.
Adil Johan also plays P. Mauriat System-76 (II) Soprano saxophone.