By MARGA MAGALONG
Right off the bat, if you ask you’re co-worker or PSYCH 101 seatmate what they think about jazz, don’t be surprised if they say “Starbucks music I can drown in the background” or “soothing elevator music.” More so, a graph of the years 2011 to 2012 showed the decline in album sales of jazz. It was safe to assume, for any pessimist, that jazz would die along with its archaic fanbase and deceased musicians.
However in recent years, there’s been a revival of interest in jazz among younger crowds – but not exactly in the form jazz veterans remember it to be. Movies like La La Land have heavily incorporated the revival of the genre as Seb’s advocacy, with the soundtrack being widely integrated with jazz elements. Rapper, Kendrick Lamar has been dubbed by Billboard as “The John Coltrane of Hip-Hop” after releasing his thematically heavy “To Pimp A Butterfly.” It’s satisfying to witness that, despite album sales of the genre declined, musicians keep it alive by chewing it then regurgitating it out to the younger listeners in forms of sampling (see Nujabes’ Feather sampling Yusef Lateef’s LoveTheme).
With that in mind, the guys here at GIST were stoked when we found out that the new jazz collective, Project Yazz, will be playing in Jazz Night at Mow’s on June 1 (Thursday). The collective is composed of Bergan Nuñez and Faye Yupano on bass and vocals, Karlo Soriano on drums and Kenneth Castillo on guitar. In this gig, they will be a quartet joined by Ryan Villamor Trio.
In a statement they exclusively told us at GIST, they envisioned a jazz that uses “OPM as a template for jazz improvisation like how the first jazz musicians used pop music in expressing their musicality. The band experiments with modern music, bending melodies, rhythms, and harmonies, creating new sounds.”
Project Yazz’s Jazz Night at Mow’s aims to “create a channel for jazz music enthusiasts who don’t have access to Filipino jazz music” said Nuñez. Kenneth Castillo later followed “this gig is to bring jazz to a much younger and hopefully bigger audience. There is a notion that jazz music is confined to the older generation, most notably the elite, and we are taking steps to change that.”
I don’t know about you – but I am hyped for this night of jazz music in Manila. What can you expect from the gig? Nuñez excitedly tells us “We think that the two performances on this night would make the listeners feel the music more. What we offer differs from the kind of jazz you hear from hotels and radio stations.” So far, the question of adding more acts remains up in the air with Castillo stating “For jazz nights to come, we’re eyeing more jazz and soul acts to be added to the roster.”
Cancel all your dinner plans! Do something different this Thursday night (June 1) and invite all of your friends and dates *wink* to this night of j-a-z- z! Catch Project Yazz and Ryan Villamor Trio perform in Jazz Night at Mow’s Bar, Matalino St., QC. Gates open 9 p.m. and music starts at 10 p.m.