MANILA, Philippines – Lovers of jazz and those who wanted to get acquainted with the musical style flocked to the Rockwell Tent in Makati last Friday for the Philippine International Jazz and Arts Festival, which featured both local and foreign acts.
The February 22 show was presented by ABS-CBN, and was thus dubbed the ABS-CBN Jazz Gala. Host and model Karen Pamintuan opened the event and introduced the four jazz acts for the night.
First up was Jennifer Blair-Bianco, a model and theater actress who only recently entered the local jazz music scene. Having only dabbled into songwriting for a year, Blair-Bianco wowed the crowd with her unique music, which is a fusion of folk, jazz, island and soul.
Blair-Bianco was followed by the second front act, the female trio Baihana composed of Filipinos Krina Cayabyab, Mel Torre and Anna Achacoso. Their set was pure entertainment with their upbeat original songs coupled with covers of old and new hits – from Maroon 5 to Katy Perry and Lady Gaga.
There was a short intermission before the first main act of the ABS-CBN Jazz Gala, the popular jazz duo Tuck and Patti. The venue was packed by the time they performed numerous songs, which showcased the strong and soulful voice of Patti Cathcart and the guitar prowess of Tuck Andress, who had the opportunity to do a solo number. Both artists got standing ovations, with the audience requesting for an encore, but they were not able to due to time constraints.
This as Tuck and Patti had to make way for the final performer of the night, Mindi Abair. After another 15-minute intermission, the American jazz saxophonist gave energetic performances with her equally skilled band during the show, bringing some members of the audience to their feet.
While most of her songs were instrumental, Abair was still able to make the crowd sing along, from the occasional improvisations to her performance of Eagle Eye Cherry’s signature song “Save Tonight.”
"A little rock and roll in a jazz festival wouldn't hurt," said Abair, whose performances are accompanied by an electric guitar, bass and keyboard.
By the time she did the encore, some audience members approached the stage to dance with Abair, who gamely stepped down and played the saxophone beside them.
“I love you, Philippines! I’ll be back,” said Abair, who visibly had fun during the jazz festival.
View the slideshow to get a glimpse of the recently held ABS-CBN Jazz Gala at the Philippine Jazz festival.