My Perfect Weekend with Jeremy Monteiro

Singapore jazz stalwart Jeremy Monteiro at the Art Of Trio concert at the Esplanade.
Singapore jazz stalwart Jeremy Monteiro at the Art Of Trio concert at the Esplanade.PHOTO: KEN CHEONG, COURTESY OF ESPLANADE/SHOWTIME

Who: Jeremy Monteiro, 61, is Singapore's most prominent jazz musician, with a career spanning 45 years.

Recently elected the chairman of Compass (Composers and Authors Society of Singapore), Singapore's "King of Swing" is also the executive director and music director of the Jazz Association (Singapore).

His 46th album, Jazz-Blues Brothers, a collaboration with Italian jazz organist Alberto Marsico, had its global launch on Oct 1.

"Weekends on Saturdays and Sundays have been a bit of a foreign concept to me until about four years ago, when the Jazz Association started to become established.

From the time I started working at age 16 in 1976 until that time, I enjoyed normal weekends only occasionally. The only exception was when I was in the army, when weekends were precious. I found out that many of my musician friends also follow this work regime.

I work when there is work to be done, eat when I'm hungry, and sleep or rest when I'm tired. I know I sound like I belong in the animal kingdom. But because I live in a world which includes other humans, I sometimes take a Sunday off so I can enjoy a family outing.

But my wife also prefers my previous timetable as she doesn't like weekend crowds, so we used to enjoy my days off on weekdays once or twice a week.

Nowadays, because I often have to interact with my team members at Jazz Association during the weekdays, I tend to have more weekends off.

On weekends when I don't have to work, I have dinner at home with my family on Friday evenings, then 'chillax' by watching TV until late.

I try not to set an alarm for Saturdays so I can sleep in until noon. I am usually quite sleep-deprived by the time the weekend comes around, so this 'sleep until I wake up' on Saturdays - and sometimes on Sundays - is so precious to me.

Then it's a late lunch with the family. We usually order in a nice meal from one of my favourite restaurants, such as Samy's Curry or Quentin's Eurasian restaurant.

If I have no concerts coming up, I do a light practice session after lunch. Then I read a bit or listen to an audio book. I like toggling between the two.

Pre-pandemic, we would go watch a movie sometimes, usually on Sunday nights. Saturday nights before Covid-19 was often a gig night, or I would go catch someone's show. It's been 19 months since I did that and it feels like forever.

I work way too much. And the problem is, a lot of my work is also my hobby and passion.

I will be opening a new jazz club, Simply Jazz, next month at Chijmes with my good friend, Adrian Leong of the Tinbox Group. The renovation starts in the middle of this month. The club will have an eclectic menu and a selection of fine whiskies and great cocktails.

When music is allowed in clubs again, I will play there one weekday and probably on a Friday night, so I can veg out at home on weekends. Other great Singapore jazz musicians will play there on the other nights.

Writing this has made me realise I really need to work less and enjoy my weekends more.

Give me a year or two to work out how I can do that. Meanwhile, I will try to have as many normal weekends as I can."