ANNA MARIA FLECHERO – BIO
Afro-Filipina singer and songwriter Anna Maria Flechero’s voice has been described by national, local and international jazz critics: “[a]n articulate and serious expression of vocal jazz at its finest,” “incomparable…creating a voyage from start to finish, and her jazz standard CD, Within the Fourteenth Hour, “is a stunning voyage into the creative and soulful mind of Anna Maria.”
Born and raised in San Francisco, California, Ms. Flechero’s music is sophisticated yet down to earth, dynamic yet romantic, soul searching as she vocalizes with grace and charm. The Palo Alto Daily News affirms, “San Francisco jazz singer Anna Maria Flechero delivers an outstanding set. The soul and sophistication of her voice brings new meaning to such standards as “Misty” and “I Wish You Love.”
Recipient of the Bay Area Blues Society Best Jazz Group of the Year, Ms. Flechero
has recorded and performed with numerous resident musicians as well as the late bebop jazz luminary and pianist, Cedar Walton. She continues to perform at many Bay Area venues—Yoshi’s, Oakland; Angelicas, Redwood City; Fenix, San Rafael and festivals including the San Francisco Filipino American Jazz Festival, Fog Fest, and Streets of Brentwood. Anna Maria is a frequent performer at the Birdland Jazzista Social Club, Oakland, California.
Ms. Flechero has performed concerts in Vilnius and Kaunas, Lithuania; Paris, France as well as Fukuoka, Japan. In October 2015, she recently returned from Manila, Philippines after several successful performances at popular jazz venues in Manila, Philippines.
Ms. Flechero is slated to perform at the West Philippine Sea Blues and Jazz Festival, Bolinao, Philippines, April 8-10, 2016, founded by Birdland Jazzista Social Club owner, Michael Parayno.
For the past decades, Henry Katindig’s pianistic genius has earned him his rightful place in local jazz history. Whether playing straight-ahead bop or silky smooth jazz fusion, the jazz maestro’s
prodigious chops, melodic inventiveness and rhythmic sophistication clearly point out why he has become one of the few anointed keepers of the jazz torch.
He has paid his dues as a respected leader, sideman and first-call session artist, and his world-class keyboard artistry has been immortalized in countless recordings and jazz festivals both here and abroad.
With a musical lineage that has spawned some of the country’s most revered jazz icons, some quarters may say that his destiny has been preordained. But despite the individual successes of his kin – including uncle Romy and cousin Boy (both piano virtuosos) and sax superstar dad Eddie K – Henry carved his own niche through sheer hard work and tenacity.
Like most beginners, Henry attributes his digital dexterity to his classical training when he was nine years old. From then, he further honed his jazz skills and modern techniques at the Yamaha School of Music, and from then on taught himself the rudiments of musical arranging.
Despite his jazz inclination, Henry’s first few professional gigs found him dabbling in pop, blues and even rock. He was part of the Centerfold Band managed by the late Wyngard Tracy. He also did session work for Pinoy Rock guitar icon Wally Gonzales and played with his dad as well.
Through the years, he counts himself lucky for having worked with some of the biggest names in the jazz fusion scene, having worked with Pauline Wilson of Seawind and Laura Fygi as their musical director.
And thanks to jazz’s popularity in the Asean region, Henry also prides himself in having played at such prestigious festivals such as Japan’s Kobe Jazz Festival, the Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta, Indonesia, our homegrown P.I. Jazz Festival and the recently-concluded Euro Pinoy Jazz Festival.
JEANNIE TIONGCO began her career at the age of 17, daughter of Emil Tiongco of the popular Tiongco Brothers trio in the 60s, Jeannie honed her craft by singing with masters like Bert Nievera, Tony Velarde, Eli Saison, and recently with Henry Katindig. Jeannie’s interpretation of classics are unadulterated yet powerful, characterized by sensitive phrasing and grace. Well versed in standard., mainsteam and fusion styles, she sang at the Manila Hotel, Sheraton, and Shangri-la and participated in local jazz festivals.
When his late great grandfather’s horn was handed down to him as an heirloom, Alvin Cornista spent over a decade playing saxophone before winning a scholarships to study at Berklee College of Music, the University of Maimi, and the the University of North Texas where he played with the Grammy award winning Two O’clock Lab Band. He won the Fraser MacPherson Scholarship in 1999 and the HIGH NOTE AWARD OF EXCELLENCE for top Canadian Music Graduate at the 2001 JUNOS.
His playing, composing, arranging, and producing have garnered him much attention and critical acclaim. Because of his ground breaking 2002 outfit, “Sekoya”, he is a Canadian Music Indie Award Winner, a two time Urban Music Canada Award Nominee for Jazz, a Juno Award Nominee for Best Contemporary Jazz Album 2004, and a National Jazz Awards Nominee for Best Electric Album. His music hit #3 on the Canadian jazz charts (earshot-Oct 2004).
In 2008 Alvin was selected and commissioned by the Canada Council for the Arts, the great distinction of composing and arranging for the Hard Rubber Orchestra. He was invited and performed his music at the 2010 Olympics.
As a composer and arranger, his unique process enables him to churn songs that defy genre fusing the combination of engaging arrangements, modern rhythms, and sonic variation. His original compositions has been aired worldwide on North American, European, South American and Asian Radio, and Television.
Alvin has played, toured and/or recorded with such North American visionaries as Paul Anka, Kurt Eling, Norah Jones, Dee Daniels, Ingrid Jensen, Hugh Fraser and VEJI, Gregory Hutchinson, Rueben Rogers, Gilberto Moreaux, Celso Machado, Rob McConnel, Brad Turner, The Hard Rubber Orchestra, The Jill Townsend Big Band, Fred Stride Jazz Orchestra, The North Texas Two O’Clock Lab Band, Ian McDougall, Moka Only, Sekoya, Nyko Maca, Romy Posadas and Eddie K.
He has opened for Cuban sensation Maracca, Micheal Franti of Spearhead (USA), the UK’s Cinematic Orchestra, Ursula Rucker(USA), Norwegian nu-jazz groups Jaga Jazzist & Beady Belle, Zenzile of France, Canada’s Kid Koala, Eumir Deodato, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Randy Bachman, Esperanza Spalding, Gretchen Paralato, Incognito, and Lee Ritenour.
In 2012 Alvin recieved a Philippine Awit Award Nomination for Best Composer/Arranger.
Self Titled -Sekoya (Universal 2003)
Dalawa -Sekoya (Universal 2005)
NM+PG -Nyko Maca (2009)
Unlocked -Manila Paris Confidential (2011)
I “M” Jazz -Alvin & Junji (2011)
Volume 1 -Vintage Jazz (Plantaeshun 2013)
Jazzmatik -Alvin Cornista Quintet(Plantaeshun 2013)
Jonah Levine is a Los Angeles-based trombonist, pianist, composer, and arranger. He has performed at leading jazz festivals worldwide including the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and the Monterey Jazz Festival in California, as well as venues throughout France, Italy, the Balkans, Mexico, and South America.
Known as “Funky Lips,” Levine has versatile style that allows him to work in various types of situations such as big bands, world fusion groups, hip hop/pop producers, and more. In addition to leading the Jonah Levine Collective, he regularly performs with theAditya Prakesh Ensemble, the Le J Trio, and the Late Night Jazz Orchestra.
Levine has recorded with has worked with Leonard Cohen, The Game, Ed Sheeran, Ryan Leslie, Bennie Maupin, Rudimental UK, George Watsky, Dumbfoundead, and Shafiq Husayn, among many others.
He has studied with Kenny Burrell, James Newton, James Miller, George Bohanon, Robin Eubanks, Steve Turre, Hal Crook, Andre Hayward, Wayne Wallace, and Marty Wehner.
He has a passion for teaching and works at University High School in the music program as well as giving private lessons on piano and trombone. He is a recent graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles Ethnomusicology Jazz Composition program.
Emile Martinez, a trumpeter from Los Angeles, is the recipient of the Gary Burton Presidential Scholarship. A graduate of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), Martinez started playing the trumpet at the age of 9, and has studied with trumpeters Clay Jenkins, Oscar Brashear, and James Ford III. He received honors at the Reno Jazz Festival, the Berklee in L.A. summer program, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington competition, the NAACP/ACT-SO competition, and the National Association of Negro Musicians. He has played with the Colburn School of Performing Arts Monday Night Jazz Band, as well as the LACHSA orchestra, big band, combo, and chamber ensembles. Martinez was a Presidential Scholar Berklee School of Music.
Colby de la Calzada
His musical experience spans more three decades as a performer, arranger, composer and musical director. The list of bands he has played with includes not only the top local bands in the 80s and early 90s like Music Making Co., Boy Katindig, Rage & Side A, but also Filipino international jazz luminaries like Bobby Enriquez, Mon David, Charito, Abe Lagrimas and Tateng Katindig. As a session musician Colby has played for almost all of the country’s top pop and jazz artists , toured extensively internationally with APO (Hiking Society), Philip Morris Jazz Concert Tours featuring Verni Varga, Tots Tolentino and John Lesaca. He also sat in as musical director for Kevyn Lettau in 2002 and 2009. A colorful and interesting musical career has brought Colby to almost every continent in the world. He has played twice in the North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague (’94 and ‘95), the Jakarta Jazz Festival, Jazz Festivals in KL and Singapore, the Candid Records Jazz Festival held at the Pizza Express in London, and @ Billboard Tokyo with Eumir Deodato. Played with International Jazz performers Kevyn Lettau, Michael Shapiro, , Flora Purim, Airto Moriera, Jon Irabagon, Yuri Arimasa, Charito, Laura Fygi, Pauline Wilson, Dutch pianist Mike del Ferro and Swedish saxophonist Anders Paulsson, Swiss pianist Claude Diallo and NY pianist Edsel Gomez.
He will be performing with Henry Katindig, Jorge San Jose and other special guests.
Hoochie Coochies Mikkie
Ace Agamata- Guitar & vocals
Stephen Lachica- Bass, backing vocals
Nathan Manansala- Guitar, backing vocals
Red Mallari1/Paul Matcott- Drums
Janine Liao- keyboards, vocals
Billy Manosca- saxophone
Ian Lofamia- (Ian Lofamia Band)- harmonica
Marvin Bea- guitar
Kim Buella (Lagkitan Trio)- guitar
Marco De Leon (Reklamo/Basti and the Nice Ones)- guitar
Gus Abela- bass
Gerard De Dios (Thy Holy Water/Charlie Y.)- bass
Empi Martinez (FlightSkool)- bass
Carlo Pimentel- bass
Spencer Rymonte (Ian Lofamia Band)- bass
Justin Cruz (Lagkitan Trio)- bass
The Birth of a Blues Band
The idea of forming BLUE WAY started when front man Ace Agamata met drummer Red Mallari sometime in February 2013 during one of the Sunday Blues Jams at The Roadhouse Manila Bay, the home of blues and rock & roll in Metro Manila. Red approached Ace after watching him play Elmore James’ The Sky Is Crying with the house band and introduced himself as a drummer who was interested to join a blues band. Ace, who was then playing for a hard rock band, saw this as an opportunity to play more traditional blues music and was open to the idea. The two agreed to contact each other after they find a bassist who was willing to join them.
Ace had a video recording of his Sunday jam at The Roadhouse and he then posted this video on Youtube and on Facebook. This caught the attention of one of the owners of Freedom Bar in Quezon City who immediately invited him to an audition for a slot at the bar’s Monday Blues Night held every other Monday. The invitation hastened the formation of a new blues band that would eventually be known as BLUE WAY TRIO.
After going through classified ads online, Ace was able to contact and meet up with original bassist Gus Abela. After less than a month of getting together and rehearsing, the trio was ready to perform a set of blues covers for Freedom Bar’s Monday Blues Night.
The band played its audition/debut gig on March 18, 2013, opening for Philippine blues-rock pioneer Koko Marbella’s band Bronx St. Blues. Impressing the bar owners as well as the main band with their versions of blues classics such as Hoochie Coochie Man, The Sky Is Crying, and Roadhouse Blues to name a few, the trio was instantly chosen to be the regular front act for Bronx St. Blues at the Monday Blues Nights. This stint at Freedom Bar would open the doors for greater opportunities for the new band in the emerging blues scene in Metro Manila.
Shortly after the trio was formed, Ace, who had a passion for composing original songs aside from playing the guitar, had already written a few blues songs. After finalizing the arrangements of these songs, the band started playing them between cover songs in their succeeding Monday Blues Night gigs. It was one of these originals that would lead them to a slot at the top blues bar in Metro Manila.
Maximizing the use of social media to promote the band, Ace posted the first performance of one of Blue Way’s original songs entitled The Doctor in Youtube and Facebook. With its catchy lyrics and melodic hooks, the song earned praises from no less than the owner of The Roadhouse Manila Bay, Mr. Ciaran Carruthers. The band was immediately invited by Mr. Carruthers to perform at the top blues bar in Metro Manila if not in the Philippines, as this is where the top Philippine blues bands such as the Blue Rats, the Bleu Rascals, and The Brat Pack, among others, regularly play. After their debut gig at The Roadhouse on July 4, 2013, the band got a good review from the management and immediately became a part of The Roadhouse lineup of bands.
From BLUE WAY TRIO to BLUE WAY
Just a few months after formation in March 2013, the trio would go on to play several gigs in different venues in the metro. By this time, the band members had gained the respect of notable veterans of the local music scene such as Philippine rock legends GARY PEREZ (Samapguita, Anakbayan), KOKO MARBELLA (Labuyo, Bronx St. Blues), and STEPHEN LU (Rizal Underground). Even the relatively younger veterans of the music scene took notice of the newest blues band. Thus, when original bassist Gus Abela took a hiatus from playing, his post was soon ably filled by bass virtuoso EMPI MARTINEZ, the first Asian endorser of Warwick, one of the prominent international brands for bass guitars. But due to a very busy schedule, Empi was only able to play as a session musician and shortly after, he recommended a young bassist who was making a name for himself in the bass players’ community with his jazz-influenced grooves on a 6-string bass— Stephen Lachica. After a couple of gigs, Stephen committed to a full-time membership with the band.
The band soon began combining traditional blues with elements of rock and roll, jazz, funk, and soul in its original music. By this time, the band had opted to drop the “TRIO” from its name and chose to call itself BLUE WAY in order to allow other musicians with a similar passion for the blues to join and avoid limiting it to the sound and repertoire of a blues trio. Very soon, another veteran of the blues/blues-rock scene would join the fold.
Guitarist Nathan Manansala, formerly part of Firebottle, (one of the blues bands that released original songs under the first BLUESKRIEG album- a compilation of original Philippine blues songs which sparked the revival of the local blues scene in the mid-2000s), and currently the lead guitarist of Blue Jean Junkies (another veteran band of the local rock scene which has released its own album under a major label), started as a frequent jammer during Blue Way’s gigs. The band always had a great time during these jams, and Nathan soon became a full-time member of Blue Way.
Drummer Paul Matcott is a seasoned drummer who hails from Australia and has been playing a few session gigs with Blue Way when Red is not available. He is a graduate of the Percussion Institute of Technology (PIT) in Hollywood, USA where he won the Yamaha Outstanding Student Award in March 1984. He has performed in concerts, on Australian national TV, and in various clubs and hotels in Australia and Los Angeles, USA, playing jazz, funk, rock, Latin, and classical music with a variety of bands and ensembles. He worked with internationally renowned singer/pianist John St. Peters and recorded several albums over the years which featured mostly original music with (jazz, rock, and blues). He currently gives private drum lessons and conducts drum clinics around Metro Manila. He has now officially joined Blue Way’s roster of musicians in light of Red’s temporary leave from the band.
More Venues for Blue Way’s Blues
After the band secured a regular slot at The Roadhouse where it played at least twice every month, it would eventually be invited to perform at other major venues that feature live music. Shortly after the first month of the band at The Roadhouse, the band got to perform at Café Huh and Last Home, two steadily growing bars in Ortigas Home Depot in Pasig City which feature both mainstream as well as independent artists from different genres of music.
Blue Way was also invited for an audition at Craft Rock & Grill, an establishment located at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig known more for featuring established rock bands. Having impressed the management during the audition, Blue Way became the pioneer blues band at Craft that was chosen to perform at the first-ever Blues-Rock Night organized by the management in January 2014. Shortly after, the band was invited to play on all Mondays of March at H&J (formerly Heckle & Jeckle) in Makati which had started its own Monday acoustic blues nights.
Another venue that features blues music is The Bar@1951 located in the tourist belt area of Malate, Manila. Blue Way would be invited to play there twice. On the second time, the band was given the opportunity to pay tribute to Filipino guitar legend Jun Lopito by playing at a special benefit concert held on May 16, 2014 to raise funds for his medical expenses. The invitation was considered a major gig as the band was privileged to join a stellar lineup of established artists which included Rolly Maligad of legendary Filipino reggae band Coco Jam and the Bleu Rascals.
Subsequently, the band would be fortunate to be invited as one of the few Manila-based blues bands to perform at a major blues event outside Metro Manila—the 2nd Angeles City Blues Summit held on May 31, 2014 in Angeles City in the province of Pampanga headlined by legendary guitarist Gary Perez and which featured blues bands from Manila and Pampanga. The band’s inspired performance at the Summit was described in a feature article published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Entertainment Section as “solid, as ever”, the first time the band was featured in a major daily.
The band would also get the privilege as the first band to bring back the blues to Bonifacio Global City in June 2014 after the management of Skippy’s Bar & Grill, an emerging bar in the area which halted its blues nights to focus on other music genres, decided to feature live blues music again and invited the band to play there. Blue Way was also invited to play twice recently— in June as one of the featured bands, and in July 2014 as front act for the album launch of The Brat Pack— at 121 Bar at the Allegro Centre in Makati, a place that features jazz and blues artists among others.
On August 1, 2014, the band had the chance to play at the legendary Club Dredd, the bastion of Philippine rock music in the 1990s where legendary Philippine bands such as The Eraserheads, Wolfgang, and Razorback started their music careers. Now under new management and with a new location in Eastwood, Libis in Quezon City, Club Dredd has opened its doors to other genres particularly the blues. Blue Way is honored to be part of the first blues event held in Club Dredd for that year.
Radio Guesting and Album Production
Shortly after Blue Way’s performance at Club Dredd, it received an invitation from COUSIN HOAGY PARDO, legendary local radio DJ for blues and rock music, to perform live on air at his program called the ROCK AND ROLL MACHINE at Jam 88.3FM on August 23, 2014. This is a major development not only for Blue Way but for the growing local blues community in general as Jam 88.3 is a major FM radio station in the Philippines which boasts of a good number of regular listeners. Being the first in the current generation of active blues bands in Manila to have been invited to perform at the show, Blue Way put the local blues scene in the spotlight and fulfilled the band members’ dream of sharing original Filipino blues music to a wider audience by performing five of its original songs.
As of this writing, the band has performed in two other major radio shows- (1) on October 25, 2014 at legendary OPM singer Richard Merk’s radio show Words and Music aired at 106.7 Energy FM and (2) on November 2, 2014 at Musika at Entablado hosted by Mr. Ed Montealegre at DZXL RMN Manila 558.
Bright Prospects for 2015
2015 saw the band take a more active role in the local blues scene. Blue Way was one of the bands invited to play at The Roadhouse tribute gig in honor of the late blues legend BB King last May 24, 2015. This gig was capped by an interview of frontman Ace by Reuters which was featured in major TV stations, internet news websites and various social media in the Philippines and abroad. Also, for the second straight year, the band was invited to play at the 3rd Angeles City Blues Summit last May 30, 2015. Also starting in June 2015, Blue Way has been chosen to be the regular band for Strumm’s Makati’s Happy Hour Blues Night every first Wednesday of the month. In September 2015, the band was a part of the feature on The Roadhouse Manila Bay televised on PTV 4’s Good Morning Boss.
At present, Blue Way has started pre-production for the recording of two of its original songs. The band has also started arranging two new original songs to be added to its debut album which it plans to release hopefully before the end of 2015.
Band Influences and Repertoire
The band counts the following artists, among many others, as some of the major influences in its music:
Fleetwood Mac (Peter Green era)
Stevie Ray Vaughan
The Derek Trucks Band
The Black Crowes
Sample Repertoire for a Three-Set Gig
Little Wing (Jimi Hendrix)
The Hunter (Albert King)
Crossroads (Robert Johnson)
Messin’ with the Kid (Junior Wells/Buddy Guy)
My Woman (Blue Way original)
Romansa Blues (Blue Way original)
Oh Pretty Woman (Albert King)
Born Under A Bad Sign (Albert King)
The Sky Is Crying (Elmore James/Stevie Ray Vaughan)
Gravity (John Mayer)
Roadhouse Blues (The Doors)
Tore Down (Freddie King/Clapton)
Pride and Joy (Stevie Ray Vaughan)
Last Hour (Blue Way original)
2-Month Blues (Blue Way original)
Black Magic Woman (Fleetwood Mac)
The Doctor (Blue Way original)
Long-Legged Woman (Blue Way original)
I’m Ready (Muddy Waters)
Looking for Somebody (Fleetwood Mac )
Mojo Working (Muddy Waters)
Old Love (Eric Clapton)
Have You Ever Loved A Woman (Freddie King/Eric Clapton)
Georgia On My Mind (Ray Charles)
Thrill Is Gone (BB King)
Can’t Stop the Blues (Blue Way original)
Hoochie Coochie Man (Muddy Waters)
Live video recordings of Blue Way’s original songs:
1. The Doctor- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrsWN2JJQKw
2. Long-Legged Woman- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sONxhgvnbas
Live video recordings of cover songs:
1. Black Magic Woman- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yd4plmQx0TY
2. Crossroads- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vn3LKYbJ33c
1 On leave.
Ian lofamia Band
The Ian Lofamia Band is a dedicated blues band that provides a great soundtrack for the independent blues scene in Metro Manila. The band has provided a name for themselves by tapping the real essence and story behind the music. Going beyond and giving edge to the three chord progression of the blues, the band gives a rocking, swinging and mellow tunes from covers to their originals.
The Ian Lofamia Band features the music of Muddy Water, Little Walter, James Cotton, Rod Piazza and other Chicago blues and Delta blues artists and even putting legendary Pinoy music in the mix. The band’s strength of playing music from the heart has captured audiences from all walks of life to the sweet sounds of the harp, smooth guitar riffs and awesome drum and bass combo that can be appreciated even in a relatively low volume.
Ian Lofamia – Harmonica/Vocal
Arvin Austria – Guitar
Spencer Rymonte – Bass
Ejae Mercado – Drums/Percussion
- 9th Asia Pacific Harmonica Festival Malaysia 2012 – 2nd place Diatonic Harmonica Division (ian lofamia)
- 1st Philippine Blues Competition 2012 – (Ian Lofamia Band) 4th runner up
- 3rd Philippines Blues Competition 2014 – (Ian Lofamia Band) 2nd runner up
- International Blues Challenge 2015 – Solo/Duo Category Memphis, TN (ian lofamia)
- International Blues Challenge 2016 – with Lampano alley
- Venues: The Roadhouse Manila Bay; H and J Sports Club Makati, Strumm’s Makati, Hobbit House, Handle Bar Makati, Master’s Den, Skippys Bar and Grill, The Bar 1951, Hotel Rembrandt, SM Shopping Mall
- 2nd CCP International Jazz Festival (Ian Lofamia)
- 2nd Philippine International Jazz and Blues Guitar Festival (Ian Lofamia)
- 9th Philippine International Jazz Festival with Professional Bass (Ian Lofamia)
- Woodstock Saranggani – October 2014
- Dumaguete Festival – October 2014
- Harley Davidson Bike Fest 2014,2015
- Puerto Galera TCNBC 1st Blues Festival
- Blues and Roll Sessions,
- Pinoy Blues Cruise
- Fete Dela Musique 2012-2015
- 1st Philippines Blues summit Pampanga
- International silent film festival
- Bastille day French National day
- RJ Station
- Philippine Daily Inquirer Newspaper
- Enriched Magazine
- Blues Asia Network
- Radio 106.7
- Pinoy Blues Jam album (Roadhouse Rekords; 2012)
- With Timmy Cruz (2014) (ian lofamia)
- With Sammy Asuncion (2015) (ian lofamia)
Ian Lofamia Band facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/ianlofamiaband?ref=br_tf )
Formed April 24, 2014
- Joko Reantaso (16 years old) on guitars and vocals. Artist/Endorser for Fender Guitars
- Paul Regalado (18 years old) on drums
- Tin Caberto (21 years old) on bass.
- Sessionistas 2014 Grand Champion. Youngest band to win in the history of the competition.
- 3rd Philippine Blues Competition Finalist. The youngest band to reach the finals in the history of the competition
- Represented the Philippine Blues Society in the 2015 International Blues Challenge Youth Showcase in Memphis, Tennessee.
- 2015 Yellow Room Battle of the Bands Champion (out of more than 170 entries). Won the individual awards for best drummer, bassist and guitarist.
Society Red Quintet
Quezon City-based quintet The Modern Playground is a jazz band that takes the traditional forms of jazz such as swing and bebop, and combines them with the modern sounds of funk, fusion, neo soul, and hip-hop in an effort to spread the word of jazz to a younger and wider audience.
Although formally formed sometime around August 2015, the members of the band have known each other for some time – as schoolmates, as members of the band scene, as friends and as rivals – all connected thru their passion for music and inclination towards jazz, which led them to be regulars at Tago Jazz Cafe’s Sunday jazz open jams. The core of the group was started by keyboardist Juni Sitaca (UST BM Jazz Studies – Piano, RSDC) being invited to a Baguio gig, enlisting schoolmates and co-jammers Josh Chua Tulagan (UST BM Contrabass, Cygnet) and Tim Dadivas Odulio (UST BM Jazz Studies – Drums, MilesExperience), going by the humorously named “STD” (which stands for their last names Sitaca, Tulagan, Dadivas) and playing swing and bebop standards. During a session gig call (which sadly never happened), they brought in Kenneth Castillo (UP Diliman BA Journalism, Yomi no Kuni) as a guitarist, pushing their sound further into fusion territory while still maintaining their swing roots. They gigged for a while as “STDC” before deciding to add a vocalist into their lineup. The last piece of the puzzle was alto vocalist Faye Yupano (UST BM Voice) who was brought in for another session gig. Her addition marked another change in the band’s sound, adding influences of vocal jazz, acid jazz, soul, gospel, and hip-hop into the fold. They were known as “STDC w/ Faye Yupano” for a while before settling on the name “The Modern Playground.”
The band is currently working on their debut album comprised of completely rearranged jazz standards to be released this 2016, and is set on writing original material.
HUMANFOLK is the musical collaboration and concept band of guitarist-composer Johnny Alegre with the New Yorkbased Fil-Am percussionist Susie Ibarra and her husband, drummer Roberto Juan Rodriguez, together with the multi-instrumentalist Cynthia Alexander and the electronica exponent Malek Lopez. This collective is a pioneering effort marking the convergence in a contemporary Philippine setting of multiple musical idioms (jazz, rock, electronic music, kulintang,agung and indigenous percussion, with Iberian and folk music influences). The group’s name is a deliberate conjoining of the words “human” and “folk“, akin to “menfolk” and “womenfolk“, without prejudice to gender and frequently set in all caps to distinguish it from a dictionary term.
The band started as a collaboration of musicians in the summer of 2008. The introduction of Alegre, Ibarra and Rodriguez at the United States Embassy in Manila spurred a series of musical and social interactions. The impetus culminated in the recording sessions for the “Humanfolk Suite”, a world music cycle composed by Alegre, for which Alexander and Lopez completed the HUMANFOLK quintet. Towards October 2008, the threesome of Alegre, Alexander and Lopez performed a live semi-improvised score for a short, silent film by Sasha Palomares, entitled Une Femme Andalouse, which was awarded the KODAK Best 16 mm Experimental Film in that year by the Kodak Filmschool Competition. They were subsequently invited to perform at the 4th Philippine International Jazz & Arts Festival in February 2009, and a live collaborative performance with the Australian didgeridoo virtuoso William Barton in January 2010, that also introduced vocalist-keyboardist Abby Clutario as a new principal member of the group. These appearances and many others that followed led to the release by MCA Music (Universal Music Group) of Humanfolk’s eponymous album in May 2011.
In 2012, Humanfolk was conferred an Awit Award for the song “Para Sa Tao“, as Best World Music Recording by thePhilippine Association of the Record Industry (PARI). Upon the exodus of two founding members, Cynthia Alexander (for the United States) and Malek Lopez (for Singapore), Alegre and Clutario have continued as Humanfolk’s principal members in a configuration described as Mark II, which was introduced in 2013 before international audiences in Singapore’s Mosaic Music Festival and Malaysia’s Kota Kinabalu Jazz Festival. In the Philippines, the group performed at the 2nd CCP International Jazz Festival in September 2013, and recorded the promotional EP, Ephipany. In January 2015, the group performed in India at the Saarang International Cultural Festival organized by IIT Madras. Towards the end of 2015, the group was joined by vocalist and rhythm guitarist Kris Gorra Dancel; and session percussionist Deej Rodriguez. This expanded group, described as Mark III, recorded the year-end extended play album, Naglalarong Ilaw, an independent released venture.
Juan Bautista H. Alegre (III) (born June 4, 1955), widely known as Johnny Alegre, is a jazz guitarist and composerfrom Manila, Philippines. He leads the jazz group, Johnny Alegre AFFINITY, as well as the world music group,HUMANFOLK.
Johnny Alegre attended the University of the Philippines College of Music in the latter 1970s, where he studied composition and was a founding member of the U.P. Jazz Ensemble. He studied with the jazz educator Dr. Joseph Howard and pianist Fred Robles, and participated in creative workshops by musicologist-composer Erhard Karkoschka, guitarist Ike Isaacs and composer-scholar Chou Wen-chung.
Alegre’s involvement in bands and studio recording sessions, both as a musician and record producer, spans more than thirty years of Philippine jazz and popular music history and discography. In May 2002, Johnny Alegre formed the Johnny Alegre AFFINITY, with bassist Colby de la Calzada, drummer Koko Bermejo, pianist Elhmir Saison and saxophonist Tots Tolentino. Their first recorded work, “Stones Of Intramuros”, written by Alegre, was included in the limited edition Philippine jazz anthology CD, Adobo Jazz Vol.1, which caught the attention of the U.K.-based jazz record company, Candid Records. Subsequently, the self-titled album, Johnny Alegre AFFINITY was released in the Philippines in mid-2005 and was re-released in England for global distribution as Jazzhound, capped by two sold-out engagements in London’s PizzaExpressJazz Club with guest saxophonist, Dimitri Vassilakis.
The greater part of 2006 and early 2007 Alegre and AFFINITY developed Eastern Skies, an album of original compositions, set to the symphonic backdrop of the Global Studio Orchestra conducted by Gerard Salonga. The project was released in 2008 by Candid Records (Philippines).
In 2009, a trio recording, in which the Alegre was joined by American jazz musicians, Billy Hart (drums) and Ron McClure (bass), was released by MCA Music (Universal Music Group), entitled Johnny Alegre 3. The album also marked Alegre’s induction into the MCA roster as its first jazz artist from the Philippines.
In 2008, Johnny Alegre recorded “Humanfolk“, a suite of his world music compositions and the subsequent concept band he undertook with the New York-based avant-garde percussionist, Susie Ibarra, together with her husband, drummer Roberto Juan Rodriguez, and Philippine-based musical artists Cynthia Alexander, Malek Lopez. In the ensuing months until 2010, Alegre wrote and recorded additional music for HUMANFOLK, most notably Para Sa Tao, the award-winning song he composed based on the Baybayin letters of the Pre-Hispanic Old Tagalog language. The collected eponymous undertaking was released by MCA Music in May, 2011.
Johnny Alegre is profiled in the book, “The Great Jazz Guitarists: The Ultimate Guide” (Published by Hal Leonard, April 23, 2013) by the prolific jazz historian, Scott Yanow. In early 2014, MCA Music released an album entitled Stories, featuring highlights from Johnny Alegre’s seminal recordings with Candid Records.
- 2002 – Adobo Jazz Vol. 1 – one track (“Stones of Intramuros”)
- 2003 – The Concert At Remedios Circle
- 2005 – Johnny Alegre AFFINITY (CAN-KC-5001) aka Jazzhound (CCD 79842) (in the UK)
- 2006 – Environmentally Sound [World Wildlife Fund benefit album] (ALI) – one track (“Jazzhound” [radio edit])
- 2008 – Eastern Skies (CAN-KC-5006)
- 2009 – Johnny Alegre 3 (MCA-Universal, UPC: 00600753200070)
- 2011 – HUMANFOLK (MCA-Universal, UPC: 00600753330432)
- 2014 – Stories (MCA-Universal, UPC: 00602537694600)
- 2014 – Epiphany (Independently released)
- 2015 – Naglalarong Ilaw (Independently released)
Rick Countryman Ensemble