CCP to hold 2nd International Jazz Festival
Annual event aims to be a major feature in international calendar of jazz

HEADY SWING. Alegre and Viray play Herbie Hancock. Photo by R. Torre/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Cultural Center of the Philippines holds its 2nd International Jazz Festival on September 17-22.

Featuring more than 100 artists and 15 bands from the Philippines, United States, Europe, and Asia, the festival presents jazz in its wide range, from blues to big band, mainstream to fusion and avant-garde.

Also featured are workshops and lectures on these various jazz genres.

The concerts will be held at the CCP’s Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater) and Silangan Hall.

Jazz community

The Main Theater will feature performers and groups whose production and equipment setup would require a larger stage and merit the expected audience size. The Silangan Hall will be for smaller-scaled, more intimate performances.

The festival upholds jazz as a major genre in music, said CCP president Raul Sunico.

“The global attraction of jazz has reached a wide spectrum of enthusiasts including Asia, where its own brand of Eastern and ethnic music seems to fuse well with its style,” he said.

“Through the festival, the CCP hopes to bring the Philippines into the mainstream of global jazz activity and make it a recognized [milieu] for international jazz festivals.”

Another objective behind the festival, Sunico said, would be to secure a harmonious relationship among the country’s jazz figures and groups and to help strengthen their community.

“With the establishment of so many of these ensembles, it is imperative for the CCP to provide a prestigious venue for our talents to perform and be discovered, to foster a camaraderie with which to collaborate with other groups, and to help nurture this wonderful musical genre for everyone to enjoy.”

The CCP held its first jazz festival, billed, “The Story of Jazz: 1st CCP International Jazz Festival,” in August, 2011. It featured more than 150 jazz musicians from around the world.

Here’s a glimpse into the first festival:

The CCP held a presscon on August 28 that presented a sample of its second festival’s heady, swinging action.

Humanfolk, represented in this presscon by renowned jazz guitarist Johnny Alegre, drummer Jun Viray, and bassist Jay Ronquillo, made a funky, electrifying rendition of Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island,” which still had a mainstream/acoustic feel despite this trio’s electric lineup.

Pianist Emi Munji performed an evocative medley of songs, including the film-noir standard “Laura,” which could well be the soundtrack for the interiors of the prewar Manila Hotel where this presscon was held, amid the cool if sooty breeze from the bay in this month of August.

EVOCATIVE MEDLEY. Emi Munji on piano. Photo by Kiko Cabuena/CCP

The band Anything Goes (named after the Cole Porter ditty) — vocalist Michael Puyat, keyboardist Bobbet Bernadas and altoist Archie Lacorte — went all-out swinging in their freewheeling rendition of the Frank Sinatra signature and Rodgers and Hart classic, “The Lady Is a Tramp.”

“I am just thrilled and this is something like a trophy in my head,” Michael Puyat said of his participation in this festival.

ALL-OUT SWING. Anything Goes with 'The Lady Is a Tramp.' Photo by Kiko Cabuena/CCP

Johnny Alegre said he finds it “an honor and a privilege” to take part in this event, “to share my art and to perform to the best of my ability.”

Other musicians shared the same sentiment and also affirmed Sunico’s hope that this Philippine festival will soon become a major feature in the international calendar of jazz festivals worldwide.

One journalist inquired in Filipino, and we paraphrase, “Paano natin ipapabatid itong sining sa sambayanan, at ano ang kinalaman nito sa ating lahi?”

(How do we relate this art form to our people, and what is its significance to the Filipino?)

These are relevant questions that lead one nevertheless to wonder if the querier himself knew the answers.

Because jazz was the pop music before World War II, almost anywhere in the world, including the Philippines during the United States’ colonial rule.

Sunico cited the “local participation” in jazz and the Filipino’s “global” aspirations being in line with the genre’s global scope as basis for “promoting the Filipino artist through jazz.”

He also pointed out the improvisational character of the music as being the same quality of the Filipino and the Filipino artist.

SUNICO. Local participation, global scope. Photo by R. Torre/Rappler

The festival’s international roster is made up of Italian accordionist, pianist, and guitarist Fabio Turchetti; guitarists Wayan Balawan, Neris Gonzalez, Shun Kikuta (in this link, performing a feminist reinterpretation of Muddy Waters’ one-chord macho blues, “Mannish Boy”), and Roger Wang of Indonesia, Spain/Argentina, Japan, and Malaysia; percussionists Royal Hartigan and Harald Huyssen; Dutch quartet The Buzz Bros. Band, Blood Drum Spirit, and Bandung Blues Project.

Among the Filipino jazz artists and ensembles who will perform in this festival are, besides the aforementioned, the band Low-Cal, guitarist Bob Aves; singers Charito, who is based in Japan, and Sandra Viray and Sitti; the UP Jazz Ensemble; Emi Munji Band; UST Jazz Band; Blue Sub, also from the UST; A.M.P. Big Band (this link also featuring Bituin Escalante); PYSB Jazz Big Band; quartet Akasha, piano trio Majam; blues band Brown Fix; and Brass Munkeys.


Here is the schedule of performances:

September 17

Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (TNA), 7:30 p.m.

Blood Drum Spirit

Roger Wang

Wayan Balawan

Brown Fix


Brass Munkeys

September 18

Silangan Hall, 7:30 p.m.


Neris Gonzalez

Sandra Viray

Shun Kikuta

Anything Goes

September 19

Silangan Hall, 7:30 p.m.

Emy Munji


Fabio Turchetti

Blood Drum Spirit

Bandung Blues Project

September 20

TNA, 7:30 p.m.


Fabio Turchetti


AMP Big Band

September 21

TNA, 7:30 p.m.

UP Jazz Ensemble


PYSB Jazz Big Band

Buzz Bros. Band

September 21

Silangan Hall, 9:30 p.m.

Blue Sub

Blood Drum Spirit

September 22

TNA, 7:30 p.m.

Bob Aves

UST Jazz Band

Blood Drum Spirit



For more tickets and information, please call the CCP Box Office at tel. no. 832-1125 local 1409 and direct line 832-3704 or visit the CCP website at

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