THE local concert calendar just became a lot more sophisticated and classy with three jazz royals making their way here from this month onwards. Trumpeter Arturo Sandoval; keyboardist Herbie Hancock; and guitarist Pat Metheny are set to bring their smooth sounds to the Esplanade as part of its Mosaic brand revival.
It will be the first time both Sandoval and Hancock are playing Singapore; Metheny returns after gracing the 2006 line-up of the Mosaic Music Festival.
The shows by the three jazz giants - who share more than 40 Grammy Awards between them - will also kick off the new Mosaic Music Series after the Esplanade retired its decade-old annual Mosaic Music Festival earlier this year. "With the Series, we wanted to focus on presenting musicians with exceptional virtuosity and artistry, cultivate a deeper connection between audiences and musicians, and also look to inspire the Singapore music community," says Clarence Yap, head, Music, The Esplanade Co Ltd.
Hence, on top of the three forthcoming performances, there will be a programme called For The Record, which will take place ahead of Hancock's September date.
The event is a listening party hosted by Singapore pianist-organist and composer Chok Kerong that aims to trace and examine Hancock's influence on the genre.
The series is also building on the Esplanade's current efforts to shape the future of local music.
"We have seen a burgeoning number of young musicians who are interested, and developing skills in jazz performance - Mosaic's Bright Young Things jazz mentorship programme, now in its fifth year, has seen more than 50 graduates, some of whom are now full-time musicians in the scene," adds Mr Yap. "We are also witnessing the return of a sizable group who have pursued jazz degrees in overseas universities."
Plans further down the road include bringing together local musicians and visiting international ones, as well as workshops, masterclasses, commissions and collaborative projects.
Although the Mosaic Music Series is kicking off with jazz, Mr Yap promises that audiences can expect artists of similar calibre from other genres in future editions.
"The Festival helped develop audiences for a broad range of genres - from jazz to indie to alternative and world music ... There's now a large selection of commercially presented concerts and festivals in Singapore; (so) we will continue to focus on presenting programmes that audiences can't find anywhere else," he says.
"We'll always aim to have accompanying events for Singapore audiences, and later, Singapore musicians."
Arturo Sandoval performs on Aug 27; Herbie Hancock on Sept 9; and Pat Metheny (as the Pat Metheny Unity Group with Chris Potter, Antonio Sanchez, Ben Williams and Giulio Carmassi) on Oct 27 as part of the 'Mosaic Music Series 2014' at the Esplanade Concert Hall. Tickets on sale now from the venue's box office, Sistic and online at www.mosaicmusicseries.com