Jazz music in Singapore was believed to be the uniting factor between the different hierarchies of the society in the 1950’s. Though this genre of music was evident at this period, the inception of it in this country was found to have happened during the British rule. The merger of ‘western’ and ‘eastern’ music was evident. Jazz was a popular choice of music genre for various ‘tea-dance’ events held in clubs and restaurants which continued into the early hours the next morning.
Western classical music greatly influenced the Singaporeans during the colonial days. The wealthy class was known to encourage their children to learn western music, which resulted in producing some of the most talents jazz musicians of all times. Through the 50’s to late 90’s, Jazz clubs have commenced and been a great platform for resident jazz musicians to express their talents locally. As an added bonus to aspiring musicians, many British and American Jazz bands would perform in Singapore as a pit-stop before their tour to Australia and other parts of Asia. Great inspiration was drawn from musicians like Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Mary Lou Williams, Louis Armstrong to name a few.
As a collateral effect, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand also experienced this genre of music. Many have contributed to jazz with their own eastern musical background. This has resulted in many collaborations, band, and orchestras. Native as well as foreign jazz conductors and music enthusiasts have worked together and produced some of the most beautiful Jazz compositions in the modern era.
One such dynamic group of musicians was formed in 1994 by the name ‘The NUS Jazz Band’. They are jazz enthusiasts who conduct concerts in Singapore. One such person that leads this group is the very talented and accomplished Tan Chin Boo. He is a renowned conductor. Many dreams to be as highly skilled as Jeremy Monterio, he is a distinguished artist who has performed and won critical acclaims all over the world. They have actively encouraged and supported local talent in developing the skills and flourishing in the music industry domestically and internationally.
Today, this genre of music is such an integrated part of the citizens that one cannot fathom to think about a time when it did not exist. Orchestras have been conducted in appreciation of such delicate yet dance-along sort of music. The International Jazz Festival is an event conducted every year as jazz music has captivated the hearts of many.