Jazz Legends to Remember

Jazz Legends to Remember

Popular culture identifies jazz with particular sounds, such as velvety saxophone solos, Frank Sinatra's soft vocals, and strolling basslines, to mention a few. However, the genre's reach has expanded significantly since its peak in the mid-20th century, with numerous artists discovering new ways to create the aural characteristic of jazz by employing various instruments, combining it with other genres, or even expanding and rewriting the genre's terminology.

Jazz is more popular than ever in modern-day Singapore. Here are some of Singapore's most influential jazz musicians, both in terms of sound and spirit. Jeremy Monteiro- Jeremy Monteiro is the man who may be described as the face of Singaporean jazz. Starting out as a pianist at Club 392 on Orchard Road in the late 1970s, Jeremy's name progressively developed until his big break came with an international appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival with his quartet Monteiro, Young & Holt, garnering a three-minute standing ovation. Jeremy is still performing regularly at the age of 58, including an annual Christmas concert, collaborations with visiting international musicians, and genre-fusing shows such as his tenure with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra.

Rani Singam- When Jeremy Monteiro heard Rani Singnam's demo CD, he confused her voice for Sarah Vaughan's. Rani has only become better since that time in the early 2000s. The child singing sensation-turned vocal powerhouse sensation exploded onto the scene with her debut CD With a Song In My Heart, and has since earned accolades for her effortlessly soulful, delicate singing, including a spot in The Jazz Singers encyclopedia alongside jazz giants such as Ella Fitzgerald. If you hadn't heard of her before, you could have heard her perform 'Majulah Singapura' at the 2013 National Day Parade. Rani Singam still performs and works with some of the top musicians in the world and in Singapore, including Chok Kerong and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

Alemay Fernandez: Alemay Fernandez is one of Singapore's most popular jazz singers, known for her robust, dramatic, but exquisite voice. Fernandez, a 20-year veteran of the scene, routinely plays in Singapore's pubs and bars, collaborating with some of the genre's biggest stars, including the Basie Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis & The Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra at the Esplanade. And she's in high demand all over the world, with appearances ranging from Hong Kong to Perth to Moscow – and that's only in the first four months of 2019.

Chok Kerong: Kerong, a talented pianist and hammond organist, is best recognized as a composer and arranger. Strings and brasses join his piano and jazz staples such as saxophone and bass in his chamber jazz group concerts in 2015 and 2019. He's created a reputation for himself by blending classical inspirations with jazz and soul, and he's pushed the sound palette to new and exciting areas. His organ trio continues in this spirit, introducing an unconventional instrument to straight-ahead jazz. Kerong worked as an arranger for pop sensation Charlie Lim and has been commissioned to produce a composition for pipe organ and strings for the classical-focused Singapore Symphony Group. Chok Kerong is the personification of musical versatility and experimentation on a big scale in Singapore.

Felix Phang: In Felix Phang's music, worlds merge. Originally educated as a classical violinist and trombonist, Phang went down the rabbit hole of jazz while learning at Berklee College of Music, and now mixes the previous two genres with ethnic music from Singapore's primary races. Phang has formed a number of bands, including The Straits Ensemble, which performs ethnic-jazz-classical fusion, Imaginary Forces, which performs modern jazz, and Ark Royal, which performs Mandarin Jazz with his regular partner Dawn Wong. Phang's music is especially important this bicentennial as we evaluate our past and look to the future, guided by his ambition to investigate our traditions and establish a 'Singaporean sound.'

The Steve McQueens: The Steve Mcqueens, who perform a type of jazz fusion that ranges from sensuous and peaceful to pounding and loud, are one of the most prominent performers to arise from the industry in recent times. Formed in 2013, the band immediately established itself as a major act, winning a position on the 2014 program of the Sing Jazz Festival, where it gained international notice. The band, which consists of singer Eugenia Yip (or Ginny Bloop), keyboardist Joshua Wan, bassist Jase Sng, and drummer Aaron James Lee, has released two albums and toured extensively, with highlights including the Summer Sonic Festival in Japan and opening for the legendary Incognito at the O2 in London.