When you think Jazz, you probably think: stodgy, slow-moving and superannuated. Growing up mostly on Pop, Rock or Country, you probably think that you don’t know one thing about jazz, that you are a complete neophyte to this foreign genre. But you couldn’t be more wrong. Truth be told, unbeknownst to you, you are more than familiar with present day jazz luminaries in the vein of jazz-pop sensations Michael Buble and the late Amy Winehouse, classic musicians like Kenny G, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Diana Krall, including our very own homegrown songstress Olivia Ong who began her career when she found success in Japan with English-language renditions of bossa nova classics.
Established in late 2004 by former student Mark Tan, this eight-year-old CCA prides itself as the only pre-university Jazz band in Singapore constantly producing genuine, quality music that never fails to satisfy. A non-SYF CCA, the club is perpetually kept busy with a constant supply of gigs from not only internal but external organizers, not forgetting their highly anticipated annual concert that is understood to be the most significant event, wholly planned and executed by the club. This year, the club was also honoured to perform at an enchanting white veil occasion, celebrating the union of two lovebirds while mesmerizing the audience with live jazz standards.
Without a doubt, the Jazz club has built up quite a reputation for itself since its early years. Do not be fooled, however, by the genteel image crafted by the Jazz club. Be warned: a ‘hairy’ culture perpetuates the club, and it is highly infectious. Legend has it that none have left the ship unscathed, at least not without an infiltration of ‘hairiness’ into their disposition. As the former Chairperson of Raffles Jazz (2010-11) Daniel Lim proudly declares, “Hairiness is a virtue of life.”
Every Friday evening, the Jazzers gather at their humble abode, also known as the Jamming Studio (or at times, the Storeroom), and well, jam, occasionally come up with magical spellbinding melodies. They also have exciting lessons conducted by their instructor Seow Yizhe, as well as additional band practices for gigs and performances undertaken by the club.
Jazz members are required to possess musicality, but more importantly, a gazillion pounds of passion and soul. And that is really all it takes! Alright, not exactly all – all members also have to pass an audition and an interview, but that’s no roadblock. If you do not have prior exposure to the genre, do not fret! Forthcoming seniors, many of whom also started out as lost sheep, are more than happy to conduct workshops and give advice to out-and-out keen novices.
Prospective juniors can expect to dive into a sea of opportunities and learning experiences that will come intentionally through our lessons under our coach Yizhe, as well as inadvertently through increased practice and exposure to performing. An enriching musical journey awaits you, as apart from developing your personal instrumental skills, you can always pick up a new instrument from a fellow Jazz member (free-of-charge!). “It is immensely gratifying to see how much we have all matured, both musically and emotionally, over the past year. All the experience has really made us so familiar with the stage and empowered us as performers to take our recitals to a next level,” a current Jazzer enthuses.
Indeed, the benefits you get from joining this CCA goes beyond that. Although the size of the CCA may pose certain restrictions and limitations as to how much “fame and glory” or glamorous achievements it can provide for its members, there is also much to gain from its small size. Made up of like-minded individuals motivated by the same fervour for music, a closely knit community is naturally formed. Furthermore, the nature of this CCA is one that is very independent and free, where you will get plenty of opportunities, freedom and room for expression, yet at the same time, you always know that you’re not alone and that all the Jazzers always have your back.