Jazz youth orchestra to debut with veterans

American saxophonist- composer Benny Golson (above), Swiss music director Fritz K. Renold and home-grown jazz veteran Jeremy Monteiro will perform with 17 young musicians on May 27.
American saxophonist- composer Benny Golson (above), Swiss music director Fritz K. Renold and home-grown jazz veteran Jeremy Monteiro will perform with 17 young musicians on May 27.
American saxophonist- composer Benny Golson, Swiss music director Fritz K. Renold (above) and home-grown jazz veteran Jeremy Monteiro will perform with 17 young musicians on May 27.
American saxophonist- composer Benny Golson, Swiss music director Fritz K. Renold (above) and home-grown jazz veteran Jeremy Monteiro will perform with 17 young musicians on May 27.
American saxophonist- composer Benny Golson, Swiss music director Fritz K. Renold and home-grown jazz veteran Jeremy Monteiro (above) will perform with 17 young musicians on May 27.
American saxophonist- composer Benny Golson, Swiss music director Fritz K. Renold and home-grown jazz veteran Jeremy Monteiro (above) will perform with 17 young musicians on May 27.

Jazz Association (Singapore) Youth Orchestra will perform with acclaimed jazz musicians such as Fritz K. Renold, Benny Golson and Jeremy Monteiro

The newly formed Jazz Association Singapore (Jass), which aims to promote excellence in jazz in Singapore, will be presenting its youth orchestra in its debut show on May 27.

The 17 young musicians in the orchestra will be performing alongside acclaimed jazz names such as Swiss music director Fritz K. Renold, American saxophonist- composer Benny Golson and home-grown jazz veteran Jeremy Monteiro.

Besides the youth orchestra, the association is also setting up a main orchestra comprising established and veteran musicians.

Monteiro, 56, who is one of the association's founding directors, says that while the main orchestra will be modelled on traditional big bands, it will also include Asian instruments such as Chinese flutes, tablas and gambus.

"We will create music not created anywhere else," he says. "Besides playing the music of Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra, we will also do nice jazz arrangements of classics by Asian icons such as P. Ramlee and Teresa Teng."

The main orchestra will have its first major performance on Nov 24.

  • BOOK IT/THE LION CITY YOUTH JAZZ FESTIVAL

  • WHERE: Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, 9 Empress Place

    WHEN: May 27 , 7.30pm

    ADMISSION: From $40 through Sistic (www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555)

    THE LION CITY YOUTH JAZZ FESTIVAL WORKSHOP SERIES

    WHERE: Lasalle College of the Arts, 1 McNally Street

    WHEN: May 22 to 26, 5.30 pm

    ADMISSION: From $15 for a workshop, tickets available at http://jazzassociationsg-workshops.peatix.com/

It will be made up of 24 professionals, selected by invitation. They include former musicians from the now-defunct SBC Orchestra.

Jass was incorporated in September last year, under the name The Singapore Jazz Foundation. The non-profit company changed its name to Jazz Association Singapore in March to attain a charity status (only self-funded bodies can have the word "foundation" in its name).

One of its first major presentations is the inaugural edition of The Lion City Youth Jazz Festival, which culminates in a concert at the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall on May 27 featuring the organisation's own Jazz Association (Singapore) Youth Orchestra (JassYO!).

Before the concert, the young musicians, who were selected through auditions, will be mentored by accomplished names such as Russian trumpeter Alex Sipiagin and Japanese trombonist Eijiro Nakagawa, in a series of workshops from May 22 to 26.

Held at Lasalle College of the Arts, the workshops are also open to the public.

Monteiro, a Cultural Medallion recipient, says that youth musicians stand to gain from bandstand learning, a concept where they work closely and rehearse intensively with the senior talents.

"The youth are the future of music in Singapore and we want to inspire them and help them in their musical journey," he says.

Jass will also organise jazz appreciation talks. Earlier this month, Monteiro spoke about the history and evolution of the genre at Monti, Fullerton Pavilion.

The association's other founding directors include Mr Albert Chiu, chief executive of banking company EFG Asia-Pacific and also the association's chairman, and Dr Edmund Lam, chief executive of Compass (Composers and Authors Society of Singapore).

Mr Chiu says: "We want to encourage the appreciation, the participation and the excellence of jazz in Singapore. We just want more people to enjoy the music."

The acronym, Jass, is the original spelling of the genre that originated in the African-American communities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The association counts Professor Tommy Koh, Singapore's ambassador-at-large, as its patron.

Prof Koh says: "I love jazz and have listened to it all my life. My ambition is for Singapore to become a leading jazz city of the world."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2017, with the headline 'Jazz youth orchestra to debut with veterans'. Print Edition | Subscribe