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Concert review: Fusion flight of easy listening by Tze and ensemble

Published on Mar 3, 2014 12:59 PM

In this concert from Esplanade's Spectrum series for contemporary music, there was an unexpected whiff of the centre's Mosaic series for jazz, fusion and indie music.

That was because Tze n Looking Glass Orchestra, founded by local jazz pianist and largely self-taught composer Tze Toh, is more a fusion band than an avant-garde instrumental ensemble.

Its present guise is in effect a 21st century globalised manifestation of the concerto grosso ensemble from the baroque era, complete with a central nucleus of soloists, back-up musicians of strings, woodwinds and brass, with Tze helming the basso continuo including bass and electric guitar.

The concertino group is decidedly cross-cultural Asian, including Chinese erhu player Dai Da, Indian violinist/raga specialist Lazar T. Sebastine and jazz saxophonist Teo Boon Chye. Although improvisation plays a big part for the soloists, the music composed by Tze crosses over comfortably between genres, with pop song idioms and film music being a considerable influence as well.

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