Here are five music power players who will grace the stages at this five-day event at West Kowloon
The fourth edition of Freespace Jazz Fest will return this year and feature more than 50 musical performances and different kinds of jazz experiences for friends, families, and couples—from sunset concerts to more intimate set pieces.
From October 26 to 30, some of the jazz scene’s most celebrated names and musicians, including Canto-pop and hip-hop stars such as Jill Vidal and MC Yan, will perform at West Kowloon. There will also be avant-garde musical experience Experimental Lab, where new media artists and local musicians improvise online with musicians from Berlin, Montreal, Seoul and Zurich.
The festival will be spread across various venues at West Kowloon, including The Box, The Room, Lau Bak Livehouse and Wonderland—a major outdoor space that was added to the area’s performance venues in May this year.
Visitors can get one- or two-day passes to Jazzscapes in Wonderland, where music lovers—and their furry friends—can enjoy performances by ten local ensembles in the autumn breeze.
Here are five names to look out for this year.
The Canto-pop singer of Korean and Filipino heritage, who had her first solo performance Arrows in September this year, will be hitting the stage with local pianist and music director Daniel Chu. Together they will perform an energetic mix of jazz, R&B and funk on the final day of the festival.
Vidal, whose style leans into urban pop and R&B, recently released her fourth album Stages under Warner Music.
One can hardly categorise this musician’s specialty. While Daniel Chu as a composer and pianist is often associated with collaborations with many Canto-pop stars such as Janice Vidal (Jill’s sister) and Sammi Cheng, he is also celebrated for his classical, jazz and experimental music compositions and performances. He also formed an avant-garde group called Manvsmachine with Hong Kong-based live electronic musician Hirsk, and drummer Blue Kwok in 2019.
Chu graduated Summa Cum Laude from Boston’s Berklee College of Music with a degree in Piano Performance and Songwriting.
Heralded as Hong Kong’s “godfather of jazz”, Ted Lo was the first Chinese graduate of Boston’s Berklee College of Music in 1976. Since his return home, he has become a pioneer of the city’s jazz and music scene development. Lo has connected talents in the industry and created a vibrant music community in Hong Kong by collaborating frequently with both Chinese and western orchestras, and performing at local festivals and venues.
This year, Lo will put on a new double bill, including a tribute to American jazz composer and bandleader Armando Anthony “Chick” Corea, who was known for composing some of the world’s most memorable jazz songs, such as La Fiesta and 500 Miles High.
The Hong Kong-based jazz pianist, arranger and composer is also the co-artistic director of Music Lab, an emerging festival organiser. Under Music Lab is Ginger Muse, a recording label that Cheung co-founded with world champion harmonicist CY Leo, and pianist KJ Wong. The trio aspires to bring Hong Kong instrumentalists into the international limelight.
At last year’s Freespace Jazz Fest, Cheung presented Jazzical, a 14-piece ensemble performance that explored the fusion of jazz, classical and popular music. This year, she will return with Joyce Cheung and the Latin Experience!, which infuses classical pieces with a Latin vibe. The show will be accompanied by dance.
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The Hong Kong-based, Malaysian fashion model, actress and singer was the winner of Miss Malaysia Universe in 1998 and represented Malaysia at the Miss Universe contest that same year. Early on in her entertainment career, she was active in television and print campaigns for clients such as Ocean Park, as well as fashion and lifestyle brands. After appearing intermittently in Hong Kong concerts and releasing several Canto-pop songs, she returned to her first love: jazz. She has studied singing under musicians in Hong Kong, New York and Japan.
This year at the festival, Wong will collaborate with local musician Andrew Tuason and his band to perform jazz classics.