Musician Chris Carpio To Revive A Legendary Hong Kong Jazz Club For One Night Only

By Lee Williamson

Hong Kong pianist Chris Carpio is planning two unique tribute shows in June, one of which involves teaming up with violinist Olivia Dawn Mok

Tatler Asia
Cover  Photo: Chris Carpio

Pianist and Gen.T honouree Chris Carpio is hosting two special tribute shows in June, one in honour of a legendary Hong Kong jazz venue and a second dedicated to a renowned jazz pianist, which involves a collaboration with violinist and fellow Gen.T honouree Olivia Dawn Mok.

The Tribute to the Little Giant Concert, taking place on June 17 at Tsuen Wan Town Hall Auditorium, is a tribute to French jazz pianist Michel Petruccani, who overcame osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic disorder known as “glass bone disease” that also stunted his growth, to become one of the most accomplished jazz pianists of the 20th century. 

Carpio says that Petruccani’s recordings helped him find inspiration after what he describes as a “negative loop” with music. “[Petruccani’s] live concert was the kick I needed to regain my inspiration in music,” says Carpio. “Seeing Petruccani's life journey and how he overcame incredible challenges to make an impact through his talent was very motivational. It pushed me to continue to thrive at what I do best.”

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Above  Chris Carpio
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Above  Olivia Dawn Mok

The show will see Carpio, who was recognised in the inaugural Gen.T List in 2016, collaborate with violinist Olivia Dawn Mok, a 2021 honouree. “Olivia and I have been friends for a long time… To watch her grow has been amazing. I'm so proud of what she has accomplished thus far.” 

Carpio is also leading another tribute concert a week earlier, to The Dickens Bar, a venue in the Excelsior Hotel that was a Hong Kong jazz staple from the ‘70s to ‘90s. His father regularly performed there as the Tony Carpio Big Band. 

“It was my first exposure to music, listening to classic big band music from the greats like Glen Miller and Duke Ellington,” says Carpio. “Every first Sunday of the month was like a big family reunion with uncles, aunties and friends all gathering together. Surrounded by some of the best musicians in Hong Kong, my brother and I would rotate from conducting the big band and doing the occasional drum solo to walking around the bar with our toy instruments, copying the band members. It was a very special time that I will cherish forever.”

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Above  Plastic fantastic during The Dickens Bar heyday (Photo: Chris Carpio)

For the Back to The Dickens Bar concert, Carpio will team up with his brother Bernard once again as their outfit The Carpio Brothers, to pay tribute to the legendary venue on June 12, also at the Tsuen Wan Town Hall Auditorium. Plastic instruments, sadly, likely won't feature. 

As for the on-stage Gen.T collaboration, Carpio says that although this won’t be the first time he and Dawn Mok have collaborated, audiences can definitely expect something different. “We've been having a blast, and over the next few weeks leading up to the show, I can only see our musical chemistry getting stronger, allowing both of us to do justice to some truly beautiful songs.”

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