Brad Mehldau Cancels Bangkok Appearance, Citing Security Concerns

Classic Arts News   Brad Mehldau Cancels Bangkok Appearance, Citing Security Concerns
Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau, one of the most highly regarded of the younger generation of American jazz musicians, has cancelled a concert planned for next week in Bangkok.

Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports that the performance by the Brad Mehldau Trio, scheduled for next Friday, September 8, at the Siam Paragon retail complex in the Thai capital, was called off due to the musicians' concerns over "a destabilizing and unpredictable atmosphere in the country," as the presenters put it.

"Their decision is based on news reports regarding the recent assassination attempt on Thailand's prime minister," said AMI Events in a press statement.

On August 24, Thai police uncovered an alleged attempt to murder prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra with a car full of explosive parked near his residence.

But many of Bangkok's citizens, to say nothing of the city's lively press, believe that the entire thing was staged by Thaksin in order to gain sympathy from voters in advance of the general election on October 15. According to reports from Reuters and the BBC, a recent Bangkok University poll shows that only one-fifth of the capital's residents believe the assassination attempt was real, while half believe it was a stunt.

Political tensions have been high in Bangkok for many months. Allegations of abuse of power and widespread corruption have for years swirled around Thaksin, a former business mogul whose political situation in Thailand is not unlike that of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. A general election held in April of this year was annulled after an opposition boycott; ever since then, the government has been in limbo and the parliament non-functional.

Reuters reports that Thaksin, who has always been much more popular in the countryside than in the capital, is expected to be re-elected in October with a reduced majority in the parliament.

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