Boy Katindig returns to spark up jazz

Cate de Leon
The man from the Filipino Latin jazz clan and 'Batukada' fame passes the torch to younger Pinoy jazz artists

BAIHANA TOOK HOME THE Best Jazz Band award. All photos by Kris Rocha.

MANILA, Philippines – Jazz is indeed alive in the Philippines, albeit catering to a niche market of enthusiasts who gather around closely to listen.

I got my first good exposure to jazz in college through the UP Jazz Ensemble. I loved how it was free-flowing and spontaneous, but at the same time precise in its runs.

It was undeniably classy and sophisticated, but at the same time earthy, sensual and involved a lot of “bring it” attitude.

Mostly I loved how there were neither stars nor back-up musicians in jazz. Everybody, from the vocalist, to the bassist, the keys, the strings, the brass and the percussions, was insanely skilled. They were all expected to step up to the plate and wow the audience with their solos.

And when they played all together, it was this thick, dense, beautifully-diverse but cohesive sound that naturally caused you to move with it.


The first ever Boy Katindig Songwriting and Jazz Band Competition was held at the Hard Rock Cafe in Glorietta 3, Makati last July 28, when the jazz legend flew into the country after 30 years of being in the US.

With him, he brought nostalgia for the “Manila Jazz era.” And what better way to perk up the genre than to have a night of music and competition?

Each of the contestants interpreted a Boy Katindig classic and went on to showcase their own original compositions.

“We are doing this to encourage creativity, originality and progressiveness in the jazz performing arts,” said Katindig. “We want to discover new artists who transcend traditional and contemporary ideas. It’s time for the renaissance of original Filipino jazz,” he added.

It was surprising to be reminded of how many flavors the genre could branch out into during the event: from jazz blues, Latin, bossa, funk/groove, modern jazz, vocal trios, R&B/soul, and to hear Pinoy flavors incorporated into the music in some of the songs.

MONET SILVESTRE RECEIVES THE Best Original Jazz Composition award from Katindig for his composition 'Puso't Pag-Ibig.' Silvestre performed with his band, DaMoRe Trio.

ABS-CBN’s Pinoy Dream Academy mentor, keyboardist and vocalist Monet Silvestre brought home the award for Best Original Jazz Composition for his song, Puso’t Pag-ibig. He accompanied himself on keyboard, with Rey Vinoya on drums and Dave Harder on bass (collectively known as the DaMoRe Trio). Their slow and understated song transported listeners to an easy-going, intimate night in with their lovers, whether real or imagined.

It probably helped that it was a cold, rainy night that had everybody in the audience seeking refuge at the back of their minds, and perhaps a little warm lambing.

“The voice is an instrument,” Katindig remarked when he handed out the Most Outstanding Instrumentalist award to Krina Cayabyab, singer, songwriter, arranger and soprano 1 of the female vocal trio Baihana, which in turn bagged the Best Jazz Band award.

Sharing vocal chores with Krina at Baihana were Melinda Torre (alto) and Anna Achacoso (soprano 2). The instrumentalists of the band were Tim Cada, guitars; Adriel Bote, keyboards; Joshua Royeca, bass; and Karmina Santiago, drums.

The members erupted into screams and excitedly made their way to the stage when they found out they would be joining Katindig at the World Youth Jazz Festival in Putrajaya, Malaysia on May 2013.

BAIHANA's KRINA CAYABYAB RECEIVED the Most Outstanding Instrumentalist award (vocals)

The night ended with vocalists and instrumentalists from the contending bands sharing the stage with Katindig to make more music.

That moment embodied exactly what jazz was at the end of the day: a communal jam and an indulgent good time. –


Visit to listen to the 8 finalists’ original Pinoy jazz creations.