Monteiro's new album breaks into US chart

Jazz veteran Jeremy Monteiro's latest album, Live At No Black Tie Kuala Lumpur, is No. 46 on the chart compiled by JazzWeek

PHOTO: JEREMY MONTEIRO

Jeremy Monteiro's latest album, Live At No Black Tie Kuala Lumpur, is climbing up the chart of JazzWeek, an American publication. Currently at No. 46, it is the Singaporean jazz veteran's first album to hit the Top 50 in an American chart.

It topped Singapore's iTunes charts when it was released in January and is the prolific pianist and composer's 45th album.

The nine-track release was recorded live from a 2018 show at Kuala Lumpur's iconic jazz venue, No Black Tie. Monteiro was backed by New York bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Lewis Nash.

JazzWeek publishes its charts weekly and ranks the releases based on airplay reports submitted by radio stations. Live At No Black Tie Kuala Lumpur is currently played in more than 70 radio stations.

Monteiro, whose albums have also charted in Malaysia and Zanzibar's iTunes charts, says the new release is one of his most memorable recordings.

"Pianistically, it's one of my best performances," says the 60-year-old, who was awarded the Cultural Medallion in 2002. Often dubbed "Singapore's King of Swing", his long music career dates back to the 1970s.

"It's the first time I was able to properly balance the control of a studio recording with the risk-taking of a live performance.

"Often, the wild abandon (of a live performance) can mean less accurate execution, while studio albums can lack that edge, even though they might be pristine. This album, to me, is the first time I have managed to create that balance between the two situations."

The album, released on Monteiro's own music label Jazznote Records, has also garnered praise from jazz reviewers worldwide.

Writing for the publication L.A. Jazz Scene, veteran American jazz reviewer Scott Yanow described it as a "very enjoyable listening experience" and hailed Monteiro as a world-class jazz pianist from Singapore with "his own voice within modern hard bop".

Besides JazzWeek, the US also has other jazz charts, including one compiled by Billboard based on data such as airplay, streams and sales.


PHOTO: JAZZNOTE RECORDS

In 2000, Singaporean jazz singer Jacintha Abisheganaden had two albums, Here's To Ben and Autumn Leaves, go to No. 15 and No. 16 on the US Amazon.com audiophile charts.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2021, with the headline 'Monteiro's new album breaks into US chart'. Subscribe