SINGAPORE 60's: ANDY's POP MUSIC INFLUENCE IS MY PERSONAL MUSIC AND MEMORY TRAIL. PICTURES TELL STORIES BUT I DO NOT OWN THE RIGHTS TO YOU TUBE VIDEOS, AUDIO TRACKS OR IMAGES. THEY HAVE BEEN UPLOADED FOR EDUCATIONAL AND ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES SO INFORM ME IF COPYRIGHTED AND THEY WILL BE DELETED. ANDY LIM (NOVEMBER, 2008).

Monday, April 17, 2017

Golden Venus True Story A Parallel Universe Horace Wee


 Horace Wee contributes to this blog and I must thank him for his insights on the various aspects of local music. 

He doesn't profess to be a guru but with the amount of encyclopedic knowledge he has of the subject, Singaporeans can be proud that we have, at last, a genuine shifu (师傅) who was on the professional scene for years. 

No fake stories here as he rights some of the wrongs in this short article about Golden Venus and the Singapore jazz scene.

Again, many thanks Horace (image right) for enhancing this blog.

"Many articles that recall the music of the sixties in Singapore have only viewed it from a narrow perspective.  That is, pop bands and music proliferated the whole music scene.

Truth to be told, there were a whole lot of resident bands in clubs and restaurants that comprised of so called professional musicians that played more traditional music that had its roots from pre-World War 2 and the post war years. 

Much of this was American music from Tin Pan Alley and Broadway. Running alongside, jazz was using this music as vehicles for jazz improvisation and the subsequent evolution into swing, bebop, modern jazz and subsequent off-shoots.

The Golden Venus (image left) at the then Orchard Hotel, has been portrayed as a hot bed for rock and pop music. This information is skewed and fails to mention that this was only happening on Sunday afternoons as a TEA DANCE. 
All seven nights of a week the place was a restaurant and after dinner club. This was the club that became the center for all local, British Forces and visiting musicians to come together to play and jam. There was a very active jazz movement of various types and the musicians formed groups of their own.

The American Consulate, well aware that this was a significant piece of their culture decided to promote this art form as a series of sponsored concert under USIS (United States Information Service).
Louis Armstrong with the gang. Can you guess their names? And which one is Horace Wee, Louis Soliano and the late Tony Castillo?

These concerts were at the Victoria Theater. A copy of the typewritten program illustrates a good variety of jazz styles and features prominent local and foreign musicians of this art form.

My own contribution in Item 4 was a jazz suite in a then advanced approach to jazz using atonal and modal concepts. A US official told me it reminded him of New York City waking up.  

If you thought rock trios of bass, guitar and drums were original - the format I played was a trio comprising of acoustic bass, drums and myself on alto- saxophone and bass clarinet. That was Fernando Cortez on bass and Terry Tay on drums - Horace Wee."

Don't forget to read the chit-chat under Comment page below.
Article and photographs 1, 3 and 4 are copyrighted and belong to Horace Wee.

29 comments:

Henri Gann said...

A great insight into the music scene of Singapore that many are not aware of.
Thanks for sharing your experiences...

BEIBER SHINE said...

Hello, nice blog you got here,
you seem to like music as much as i do, i don't only like to listen to music, i also love making music!

IRENE HOE (JOURNALIST) said...

Hello Horace! Long time no see! Irene Hoe (Sugar & Spice)

HORACE WEE (PROFESSIONAL GUITARIST said...

Hi Irene. Time has flown. How have you been all these years?

STEPHEN HAN said...

I remembered Horace Wee with the Ahmad Jaffar BandA great guitarist who also recorded Guantarmera.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Yes, he did. I just happen to have a copy. Thanks Stephen. Wow, you're a gem for Singapore's music history. Could you write an article for the blog? Appreciate.

JOE PETERS said...

Great blog Horace! Grand memory of that Armstrong visit too. I see Gerry Soliano there. That is a legend that Singapore must never forget. I saw many more pictures of him with Armstrong at his home.

HORACE WEE (PROFESSIONAL GUITARIST said...

Hi Joe. Ages since I spoke to you. I gather you're still chugging along. Cheers

LESLIE WILSON JOSEPH said...

Thanks for a to the point article. Enjoyed reading it and now I know what actually went down. Thank you.

STEPHEN HAN said...

I think one of the Soliano played the drum in the Louis Armstrong show.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Yes, he is Louis. Met him last Saturday at TROPICANA THE MUSICAL invite night. Thanks Stephen again. Did you attend this particular show where Armstrong appeared?

STEPHEN HAN said...

No l did'nt attend though I like Louis style of singing and trumpet playing.With regard the Golden Venus the teenagers then used to dance at the tea-dances.

FREDDIE KANG (THE THUNDERBIRDS, SOLO GUITAR AND KEYBOARDIST, SINGER) said...

or was it Rufino Soliano?

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Yes could be Rufino huh? Now Freddie is in. The Thunderbirds man himself.

FREDDIE KANG said...

Maybe you're right Andy, I just saw the pic and there on the left was young Louis Soliano (Tan)

TONY NG said...

Wow Horace Wee handsome la

HORACE WEE (PROFESSIONAL GUITARIST said...

Hi Freddie. Most likely it was Rufino. At that time the preferred establishment choice.

JOE PETERS said...

Yes, it has been a long time. But I hear about you from various people as I meet them. Essentially, I commute with the region because I assist in various music programmes. From August this year I will be based in NE Thailand so I can spend some time with the graduate music students there, and round off some of the academic stuff that have all strung up like an over loaded clothes line in the rain! Your blog is something that could become a reference point. So all I can do is to strongly encourage you to collate the necessary information and present it from your own point of view. Too many talent and too much hard work in music has gone unnoticed and undocumented in Singapore. People seem to think that the government should do that. No! It is these stories that come from people lie you and so many others. The difficulty is to write, and that requires some composure and time management. I know it is finally happening. I am following for sure!

jimmy appudurai said...

So right horace. It was a nightclub and always had a danceband. We the pop side only played onthe sunday teadance. But there wasso muchfun mate. Catch up in sept for coffee againjimmy

STEPHEN HAN said...

Buddy Rich is considered the best in his era though Gene Krupa was as good had not for his drug addiction.He was with the greatest band,The Benny Goodman along side Teddy Wilson on piano and Lionel Hampton.Maybe Tony Cher can comment.

FREDDIE KANG said...

Thanks Horace and how are you doing buddy, have not seen you since the late Moses Tay's wake when you and Ernesto were making some music, you were on the keyboard and myself on wheelchair haha, keep well bro.. Blessings!

STEPHEN HAN said...

I remembered Louis Soliano winning the drum contest in conjunction with the Gene Krupa film at the Cathay Cinema.

FREDDIE KANG said...

Thank you Stephen for remembering the good old musos.... Blessings!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you Horace for the stimulation and all FB friends for the conversation. Appreciate the interest this posting has generated. I hope it will carry on...

JAMES R. KEASBERRY said...

Four of my uncles are in the pic. Rufino, Frisco, Ernesto, Louis and I think Grand Uncle Alphonsos Soliano

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you James R. Keasberry for identifying your famous uncles. Living legends they are.

I must thank all of you for writing and making comments about this posting, which only came about because of my Facebook version of this blog.

If you have a Facebook account, feel free to check it out under ANDY YOUNG.


ALPHONSO SOOSAY (From: NAOMI AND THE BOYS) said...

Our Music Legend and Guru Horace Wee brings back Sincere Memories of the 60's.

HORACE WEE (PROFESSIONAL GUITARIST said...

It's Gerry Soliano the eldest and not Alphonso. Though Alphonso was a fantastic musician as well. Miss them all

FACEBOOK ANDY said...

THANKING THE FOLLOWING FOR LIKING POST:
Bert Fern
Fred Ching
Steve Goh
Patrick Chng
Richard Danker
Ann Rowena Lim
Tan Soo Khoon
Alphonso Soosay
Anthony Toh
Jimmy Appudurai-chua
Eddie Ng
Tony Ng
Rose Khoo
Mustapha Al-Johary
David Lim
Randy Lee Keng
Peter Lim
Davychandavy Chan
Serene Chew
John Cher
Joe Peters
Jon Goh
Gilbert Louis
Ivor Lesslar
Desmond Chan
Tommy Gomes
Allan Koh
Mel Ferdinands
See Weng Choy