Music flooded Venetian Macau’s lagoon area yesterday following the start of the Cotai Jazz & Blues Festival 2014.
The four-day free event features world-renowned jazz musicians and 12 teams of jazz and blues performers, who will be competing for a total prize pool of HKD550,000.
The Times spoke to rising English jazz star Anthony Strong, who performed last night, as well as two of the twelve finalist teams, The Moreira Project from Mozambique and Budda Power Blues from Portugal, before the event started.
Anthony Strong performed in Shanghai before arriving at the Venetian. He feels that, based on his experience in Shanghai, the Chinese audience has given an amazing response.
“I didn’t know whether the Chinese audience would be very reserved and very polite. But they weren’t. They were screaming and singing along and really going for it. So it was a great experience so far,” he said.
For some, jazz is a genre associated with the old times. However, Anthony Strong believes that there has been a resurgence of the genre, with an increasing number of young people starting to appreciate it. “I definitely think that there has been a resurgence in the last ten years where it is coming back into the forefront. And I hope that continues,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Budda Power and Moreira Project found that Macau is a very friendly and cosmopolitan place.
For Budda, a member of Budda Power Blues, despite the fact that the genre did not originate from this continent, there is a close association between jazz and Asia, given that there are a significant number of Asian jazz musicians around the world.
Moreira Chonguica from the Moreira Project also thinks that jazz music is the most dynamic art form in the world, an art form that allows transformation and experiments. “I know that jazz is not from Asia, but this does not mean that it is not consumed by Asians,” he said.
Moreover, both groups agreed that there is a chance for jazz to make a future comeback as a mainstream music genre. “I think people evolve from listening to what they are given to starting to search for something different. And they usually end up in jazz, in one of its forms,” Budda said.
“I think if you go to the Internet [to do some searching], I think there will be more jazz festivals in the world than [other genres], which means that jazz is not dead. It never dies,” Moreira said. JPL