Online jazz concert Jass@Home chases Covid-19 blues away

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SINGAPORE - A jazz concert that aired on Facebook and YouTube on Thursday night (April 30) chased the Covid-19 blues away with swinging renditions of classics such as Singapura and jazz standard I Can't Get Started.

The online concert Jass @ Home, which included a lot of discussion about music, was put together by the Jazz Association (Singapore), or Jass for short, and held to celebrate Unesco International Jazz Day. The performers and speakers, who had recorded themselves in isolation, included jazz veterans such as Jeremy Monteiro, pianist Weixiang Tan, singer Alemay Fernandez, and many others.

The association, helmed by Singapore's "King of Swing" Monteiro, put the event online this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Monteiro said he hoped the concert managed to put a smile on people's faces at a time which has not been easy for many people.

"We want to thank all the front-line workers who are still working hard in the best way we know how - music," he added.

"It is a language that transcends all geographical borders. As we unite under the name of music, I believe that we will get through this together and come out stronger."

Highlights of the evening included a virtual session that saw Monteiro, Fernandez, flautist Rit Xu and others jam to the strains of local classic Singapura; and American trumpeter Randy Brecker's solo rendition of I Can't Get Started.

Musicians Chok Kerong and Aya Sekine waxed lyrical about jazz composition in a panel discussion, while Blu Jaz Cafe founder Aileen Tan and former jazz pianist Peter Ng, who owns the listening lounge and bar Maduro, spoke about their establishments as well as life during Covid-19.

There was time for a virtual scholarship presentation too. Lasalle College of the Arts student Ernest Tan, 23, appeared on video receiving the Jass Music Scholarship (Local), with his mother presenting the award on behalf of the association.

Jass @ Home was streamed on the association's Facebook and YouTube pages, as well as the social media pages of broadcast partner The Straits Times and other platforms. About 2,000 people tuned in, including Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu.

The concert is the first instalment in a new online series by the association, and was supported by the National Arts Council's Digital Presentation Grant for the Arts.

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