Singapore Jazz Fest

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on February 22, 2018.

The Jazz Association SG Orchestra led by Monteiro (front row, second from right).

Hathaway.

House of the Gypsies.

Incognito.

Cullum.

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Tickets are now on sale for the eagerly anticipated 5th anniversary edition of the Singapore International Jazz Festival (SING JAZZ) 2018, which returns to the iconic Marina Bay Sands from April 6 to 8. Set to excite over 20,000 fans with a distinctively curated musical line-up, the three-night musical extravaganza spans across multiple stages around the integrated resort to feature jazz and all its affiliated genres, including soul, blues, Latin, funk, R&B, hip-hop, world music and electro swing.

The Main Stage and The Late Show combine with an impressive 30-hours of live music by 12 mega-acts across the entire weekend. On April 6, electro swing sensation, Parov Stelar will headline the sunset sessions on The Main Stage by the waterfront at Marina Bay Sands Event Plaza, introducing a massive weekend of music. “Super Saturday” features a stunning programme comprising five-time Grammy Award-winning soul singer Lalah Hathaway, and jazz-pop genius Jamie Cullum on The Main Stage, with legendary hip-hop and soul artiste Lauryn Hill headlining The Late Show.

 Performing in Singapore for the first time, Hill will be one of the most highly anticipated performers of the year, fittingly as her monumental album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, hailed as “one of the most incredible albums ever made”, marks its 20th anniversary in 2018. Setting the scene for party-goers, the electric atmosphere of The Late Show indoors at Sands Expo and Convention Centre will be designed as an intimate concert arena (complete with VIP tables), taking the late-night experience till 4am on both April 6 and 7.

 

The Main Stage

The Main Stage is the heart and soul of SING JAZZ. This year, doors open on a Friday afternoon and culminates later in the evening with the award-winning Stelar. Considered as one of the pioneers of electro swing, he broke through the international music scene receiving global recognition with tracks being used on hundreds of compilations worldwide, as well as numerous movies, TV shows and ads. His unique sound and unorthodox combination of musical genres will have fans old and new dancing away the evening.

Saturday night will feature the soulful sounds of five-time Grammy winner and R&B artiste Hathaway. The contralto singer and songwriter’s unmistakable vocals have been sought after by the most powerful names in music. Fresh from collaborating with Pharrell Williams on their track Surrender, a heavyweight contribution to the remarkable Hidden Figures soundtrack, as well as featuring on Kendrick Lamar’s revolutionary To Pimp A Butterfly, Hathaway’s unforgettable vocal prowess will leave an indelible mark at this year’s landmark event.

 For the fifth-year anniversary, SING JAZZ sees the return of the UK’s most popular jazz artiste, Cullum, who headlined the inaugural SING JAZZ festival in 2014 to a sold-out show. The extraordinary vocalist and pianist has sold over 10 million albums worldwide, the first ever jazz musician to do this. Cullum’s incredibly intuitive creativity has achieved phenomenal success due to his natural ability to smudge musical boundaries. The former jazz student and big band drummer has produced tracks for OneRepublic, Adele, Williams and Kid Cudi, and performed at iconic venues such as The Blue Note in New York and London’s Ronnie Scotts, and Madison Square Garden supporting fellow piano man Billy Joel.

 

SING JAZZ also celebrates Singapore’s very own Jasso (The Jazz Association SG Orchestra) led by the “King of Swing” Jeremy Monteiro. Joined by local songbirds Melissa Tham and Alemay Fernandez, Monteiro has combined their superb vocal talents with an orchestra made up of 24 jazz musicians, together with the most outstanding members from their youth orchestra.

Four decades on since The Gypsy Kings burst onto the scene with their wild and ecstatic Spanish rumba no one has followed in their footsteps until now. Selected for their explosive and energetic performances, SING JAZZ is proud to present Gypsy Kings alumni’s — Cedric Leonardi, Patchai Reyes and Fred Breton — and their House of The Gypsies (HOTG). Setting the stage ablaze, they will take the raw nomadic rhythms that trace gypsy culture 1,500 years ago to the original gypsy tribe of Rajasthan, to seamlessly integrate their soulful gypsy fusion. Hitting a nostalgic note, fans will hear some of their favourites including Bamboleo and Volare.

Funk royalty and heroes of the ‘90s acid jazz scene, the Brand New Heavies will take centre stage for a fun performance by the fabulous Sulene Fleming. With over 2.5 million records sold, 16 Top 40 UK singles and two double platinum-selling albums, The Heavies are best known for a string of hits such as Brother & Sister, Midnight at the Oasis and the super-catchy track Never Stop.

For the spectacular finale who better to wrap up the celebrations of the fifth SING JAZZ festival than regulars Incognito who this time will be joined on stage by special guest artistes British soul singers and musicians Omar, known for the smooth sounds of There’s Nothing Like This, and Imagination singer/songwriter Leee John.  In a career spanning 30 years, Omar has worked with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, and Angie Stone to name a few. While John adds to the groove factor, having released a number of dance tracks as well as a mixture of jazz standards and original compositions.

In a luxuriously appointed private area, the Champagne Terrace created in collaboration with Billecart-Salmon Champagne is back, offering an elevated view of The Main Stage coupled with table service for a sophisticated evening under the stars.

 

The Late Show

Headlining the indoor stage of The Late Show at Sands Expo on Saturday night is none other than the global music phenomenon that is Lauryn Hill. The American singer-songwriter-rapper and record producer is renowned for her stylistic mastery and ability to perform a powerful hybrid of musical influences including R&B, soul, neo soul, hip-hop, folk and reggae-infused music. Performing for the first time in Singapore, the multi-talented artiste who established a reputation in the music world as the lone female member of The Fugees, a band whose record sales make them the second biggest selling R&B act worldwide since Michael Jackson.

 New this year, the Diablo Lounge will be open to all guests of The Late Show who are keen to enjoy a bottle of wine, spirits or champagne, hosted by one of the world’s most admired wine brands, Casillero del Diablo. Meanwhile, The Late Show VIP ticket holders can expect VIP table service in an exclusive VIP Lounge catering up to 20 guests per table booking.  The Late Show commences at 10pm, and guests can party all the way until 4am on both Friday and Saturday night.

General admission tickets for The Main Stage are S$138 (RM408.90), while access passes to the Billecart-Salmon Champagne Terrace is S$288 (includes one bottle) or VIP Passes at S$328 includes free-flow bar and gourmet food. Tickets for The Late Show are also S$138, while VIP passes are ideal for groups — four guests at S$1,488 including one magnum of Billecart-Salmon Champagne and one bottle of Ciroc Vodka, while 20 guests at S$9,888 comes with six magnums of Billecart-Salmon Champagne and two bottles of Ciroc Vodka. Day passes to both The Main Stage and The Late Show is S$248, while a full-access weekend pass is S$488. To book tickets, visit www.sing-jazz.com.