“All you need is one really great performance to spark off interest”: Interview with Shridar Mani

What’s new about Jazz in July this year?

We’ve been presenting Jazz in July at Esplanade’s Concourse for the past six years. This year, we decided to go bigger and present programmes at the Outdoor Theatre on the waterfront as well.  Performers range from established local jazz artists like Louis Soliano and Don Gomez, to young musicians such as the band The Last Train Home—part our Bright Young Things mentorship program.

Any advice for aspiring jazz musicians in Singapore?

Musicians today have access to lots of resources, and can draw inspiration from various genres, styles and artists. It’s therefore important for them to keep experimenting. One of the best things about being in Singapore is that you don’t have to look far to discover new musical genres. For example, one of our groups, Raghajazz, fuses Indian classical music with jazz—very unique!

What would you say to someone who hasn’t “discovered” jazz yet?

Sometimes, all you need is one really great performance to spark off interest, and I think that Jazz in July is a great avenue for that.

Do you think jazz can remain relevant beyond the usual repertoire of standards?

Part of the beauty of jazz is that it is an incredibly versatile musical genre. Over the past century, it has continually adapted and evolved with the times to cater to changing tastes. It has also constantly reinvented its musical language. In that sense, I think that jazz will remain relevant as long as music is relevant. 

Catch Jazz in July from July 1 to 31, various times.