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.
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.