Some festivals cater to hipster folks, while others are playgrounds for glowstick-twirling ravers. Singapore’s inaugural international jazz festival, SingJazz, however, is another beast of its own. Reflecting the fluctuating nuances of jazz itself, the third annual rendition of this music festival in Singapore aims to deliver yet another holistic hodgepodge of improvised solos, unorthodox arrangements, fragile intimacy and the craziest ideas that make music theory seem moot. Previously, we went kooky over eight key acts that you had to see like BADBADNOTGOOD and Hiatus Kaiyote (see below), and we frankly thought the SingJazz 2016 line-up couldn’t possibly get any better… We were wrong!
UPDATE: Announced on 14 January, the second wave of the SingJazz 2016 acts has tremendously surpassed our expectations, raising the bar with a new bevy of international and local performers. Reppin’ the retro vibes will be ’80s jazz-funk band Level 42, Mexican pianist extraordinaire Hector Infanzon is slated to appear, and Russian jazz trumpeter Vadim Eilenkrig will blow everyone away, pun intended. On the local front, Lush 99.5FM has come aboard with a whoppin’ line-up of its own – including Dru Chen, Tim De Cotta, Weish, The Good Life Project featuring Vandetta, Intriguant, Tribal Tide, and Fauxe with Mediocre Haircut Crew.
Jazz junkies will be bewildered with this Toronto trio’s watertight precision and free-flowing instrumentation. But in them also lies a heart of hip-hop that hypebeasts would flash gang signs for. Even Earl Sweatshirt and Wu Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah are fans of the band’s boom-bappy beats and noir-styled guitars.
Helmed by the creamy, nebulous vocals of frontwoman, Nai Palm (who also happens to be a nimble guitarist), these kaleidoscopic Aussies spice up Sing Jazz with a sensual neo-soul tint. We promise you’ll get gobsmacked by gooey harmonies, capricious chord-play and chemistry-oozing showmanship that’s made ’em one of the most exciting bands in the world today – in jazz and beyond.
Shame on you if you thought that jazz wasn’t a danceable genre! These acid-jazz legends have been making masses bounce and boogie with buoyant grooves for 30 years and counting. Dishing out blaring brass hooks, choppy percussions and throbbing basslines that would turn most funksters on, these seasoned Brits are unstoppable.
While many might remember this husky powerhouse as an overnight pop sensation in the mid-noughties, we prefer to identify Stone as our generation’s answer to the late bluesy heroine, Janis Joplin. Shudder and shriek as this new-age soul queen brings the house down.
Pressure’s plentiful if you’re the son of Bobby McFerrin, 10-time Grammy winner and the whistling maestro behind “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. Well, unless you’re a virtuoso in your own right like Taylor, who’s become a much-respected torchbearer in both the jazz and electronica circuits.
Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club
You don’t need to be a Cuban native to know the extolled prestige of this world music collective. Having adopted the legacy of the now-defunct Havana club, this nomadic ensemble channels an exotic sound that’s both familiar and foreign. But more importantly, BVSC has declared that this tour will signify its swan song – catch ’em before they disappear forever!
Darker Than Wax
Labels are just as essential as the artistes that they hone and promote across the industry, and Darker Than Wax is one of Singapore’s top dogs. Never compromising in its vision of left-field sounds – think neo-soul, wonky, boom-bap and post-disco – DTW is also in charge of curating Sing Jazz 2016’s opening night. Vibe out to the DTW Sound System between sets.
A bona fide pride and joy of the local music scene, Charlie Lim’s exponentially increasing fanbase is as vast as his musical output. Plug into his recent “Time/Space” double EP, and you’ll stumble upon a smorgasbord of blues, r&b, synth-pop and even post-rock. Yet despite these deviating genres, this scene star is still right at home at SingJazz.
We’re not gonna judge you if you disagree with our selection of must-sees though! You’ll also have plenty of alternative ace acts to choose from at SingJazz – like saxophonist Candy Dulfer, Italian jazz stallion Enrico Rava, Afro-beat protégé Seun Kuti (son of Fela Kuti) & Egypt 80, and The Monteiro-Barnes Jazz Project featuring our very own Jeremy Monteiro. Whoever takes the stage, you can expect these technical tricksters to jazz it up all the same.
SingJazz 2016; Friday, March 4 2016– Sunday, March 6 2016; Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956. Tickets for Friday: $65 (early bird), $85 (advance), $100 (show days), $250 (VIP); tickets for Saturday: $85 (early bird), $125 (advance), $150 (show days), $250 (VIP); tickets for Sunday: $75 (early bird), $95 (advance), $115 (show days), $250 (VIP). Tickets are now available for sale via this page. For more information on set times, visit the SingJazz 2016 website.
UPDATE: SingJazz will be offering a special ticket rate (15% off single-day passes) for just 21 hours – 8pm today (14 Jan) to 5pm tomorrow (15 Jan) – with the code SJXLUSH.