Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chijazz 2010 Concert @ Chijmes

This event took me ages to settle because most of my friends were not interested in jazz music and were not free to accompany me to the concert. So for two weeks, I was searching high and low for the suitable companions to go to the concert with. Eventually, I managed to get hold of one of my best friends and made it just in time.

The concert was set in the beautiful and cozy lawn of Chijmes, right in the heart of the City Hall area and yet away from the hustle and bustle of the city life because of the high courtyard walls of Chijmes.

My friend and I arrived right at 7pm to hear the opening jazz act from a band from Raffles Junior College. The cello player was great but the lead singer was a tad under-dressed for the event and many of the audience could not properly hear what he was singing. Speaking of the dress code, there was quite a variety - from FBT shorts to T-shirts to little black dresses to full flowing gowns. The lead singer was in jeans and a drab-looking collarless shirt though and needed much more stage presence to command the attention of the listeners.

The crowd was beautiful and mostly very attentive under the lights though some more breezes would have helped in the ventilation since there were as many as three hundred packing the tent in which the concert was held under.

The next act was the BDS Jazz Orchestra led by Boni de Souza and it was actually they who started the jazz numbers and kick-started the concert. They were competent musicians though none of them seemed to be versed in singing anything. No worries though - for they had help from Tay Kewei and Angelita Li who were both veterans in jazz and live concerts.

(Source: Kewei's Facebook Fanpage For Illustration purposes only.)

Tay Kewei went onstage after a few jazz pieces from the BDS Jazz Orchestra but it was such a pity that she only sang two songs before she exited the concert. The microphone that was working against the RJC lead singer was once again drowning Kewei's voice because most of her singing was nearly inaudible, which was disappointing of course. Kewei seemed to have noticed the reaction from the audience and tried to project her voice but even her powerful vocals were insufficient when the microphone was not cooperating. Her latest album song 可不可以 was also transfused into a jazz number but I thought it was a little too draggy and took off the original song's momentum. Nevertheless, I still think she is a competent singer. It's just that the evening did not went as well for her.

(Source: Kewei's Facebook Fanpage For Illustration purposes only.)

Angelita Li went onstage after Kewei and put in a couple of songs before the BDS Orchestra ended with even more numbers on their own. Somehow, Angelita managed to coax more volume from the faulty microphone and her ability to warm up the crowd helped a lot too.

(Source: For Illustration purposes only.)

The third group was Angelita Li and her salsa band. According to the emcee, she was a veteran in salsa and Brazilian jazz so I was looking forward to hear what she had to offer. Within the first two songs, it was easily discernible that she knew how to work the audience to a high with her familiar salsa numbers but it sort of went a little downhill onwards because her Brazilian jazz style did not seem to sit that well with the night's audience, who probably expected more classic jazz numbers. The audience was a little fidgety as her segment's songs started to sound a little more repetitive than they could bear. Perhaps she could have chosen more classic jazz numbers to accommodate the needs of the audience.

Olivia Ong before she went onstage for her segment. Also, the sheer variety of musical instruments playing to coordinate jazz music itself from all the performing groups was already stunning on their own. (Source: Olivia's Facebook Page For Illustration purposes only.)

The final group was Olivia and her own jazz band and the crowd seemed a lot less lethargic from the sitting down on the lawn as they expected Olivia to deliver her quality singing. She did not disappoint - clear singing and a solid command of the notes finally set the finale tone of the concert. The microphone still hampered a small portion of Olivia's singing and I felt that must have been the most irritating glitch of the entire concert. Olivia ended her segment of the concert with her rendition of her latest album song "You and Me" before giving the stage back to BDS Jazz Orchestra who was to lead the crowd into a final jamming session.

Olivia was handed a small bouquet of roses from one of the young children attending the concert. Obviously, she looked elated to receive so much support from the crowd. (Source: Olivia's Facebook Page For Illustration purposes only.)

I left before the jamming session started because both my friend and I needed some supper and stretching from the sitting down. All in all, it was still a beautiful crowd listening to a beautiful concert. I loved the audience responsiveness, the efforts by the various performers and the perfect atmosphere at Chijmes for a jazz concert. I believe I will be there again next year. ^__^