As Sing Jazz 2016 approaches, we bring you our pick of the star players who’ll entrance, enlighten and entertain you with their spell-binding chops. Here are the 10 must-catch acts at Singapore’s preeminent jazz festival.
With Leland Whitty finally completing the Toronto quartet of Matthew Taveres, Chester Hansen, and Alexander Sowinski, the lineup now benefits from an added dimension to their jazz-and-hip-hop fusing ways. From Tyler, the Creator, to Ghostface Killah, the Canadian band’s revolutionary and genre-crossing music has spawned many collaborations, and undoubtedly taken jazz into the next century.
DARKER THAN WAX SOUND SYSTEM
This homegrown label boasts some of the most revolutionary musical minds on our shores. With an expert and darkly alluring handle on multiples schools of music, these synaptic animators unspool sounds in such a manner that leave genre-classification or stuck-in-the-past purism redundant. Diversity is the name of their dashing game – keep your ears and spirit peeled.
Fresh off their recent Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance for “Breathing Underwater” just a week ago, the Australian future-soul quartet is primed for even bigger projects. And now, you’ll get to receive what they call ‘Multi-dimensional Polyrhythmic Gangster S**t’ in the flesh, right on the Sing Jazz stage.
With this Dutch alto saxophonist, “legend” doesn’t cut it. Since founding her band Funky Stuff when she was 14, she’s gone on to great things, like making music with the gawd, Prince. Her 12 albums are filled with lush, sensually virtuosic jams that live, will be an absolute delight to savour.
You knew the moment you heard her that no one in the mainstream arena had the slow-burning smoulder sing-purr that Joss Stone has. This remains true even now, as on her most recent album, the English chanteuse embraces reggae, hip-hop, gospel and Latin sounds into her jazzy sway.
This homegrown singer has a way of bringing us to our knees every time she takes the mic. Whether thickly honeyed and soul-serving or dramatizing the nocturnal loops that she wields in her electronic guise, her beyond-powerful pipes are a guarantee of an exquisite, transportive time and a thing to be celebrated.
Emerging from a decade as the soloist for Russia’s main jazz orchestra, Russian jazz trumpeter Vadim Eilenkrig has embarked on a slew of solo efforts, including uniting the talents of several high profile Russian musicians, such as Igor Butman and Virgil Donatti, to feature in his music. That he’s been hailed as the ‘World’s Strongest Trumpeter’, is also another thing that ensure your presence before him.
With over a hundred records to his name, Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava is one the most internationally renowned jazz musicians. A fixture in the scene since the mid-sixties, the veritable Italian veteran and soloist, with a list of collaborations so vast it’ll fill an entire book, brings a rich European style to the influences of Miles Davis, Cecil Taylor and Louis Armstrong.
SEAN KUTI & EGYPT 80
Nigerian musician Seun Kuti succeeds his father, legendary Afrobeat pioneer, Fela Kuti, as the frontman of music group Egypt 80. While Seun has big shoes to fill, the jazz saxophonist and vocalist is intent on carrying his father’s legacy of fusing jazz, funk, and soul with African highlife and rhythms, and weaving these with contemporary sounds. We have no doubts that his set will be a powerful experience.
With a passion for percussion and drums, the Singaporean music ensemble, with famous names such as such as founding members Mohamed Noor, Reggie Perrera, Joe Jeyaveeran, and the late Edmond Branson Jr., fuses a wide array of influences, from Brazilian percussion to Australia’s Didgeridoo to Latin American and Afro-Cuban beats and rhythms to give form to the deeply pulsating and original contours of this Singaporean foray into the depths of World music.
Sing Jazz 2016 happens March 4-6 at Marina Bay Sands. Single-day tickets ($85-$125) and three-day passes ($225) are available at Marina Bay Sands and Apactix. For more info, visit sing-jazz.com.