Jeramzee swing back to town

Jeramzee swing back to town
Jeramzee members (clockwise from top) Eddie Jansen, Steven Rufus, Jeremy Monteiro and Tony Zee in a picture taken in 1986.

SINGAPORE - Long-time jazz fans in Singapore may remember Jeramzee, a fusion quartet that were a stalwart on the live scene in the 1980s and early 1990s.

The good news is that the band, headed by jazz pianist-composer Jeremy Monteiro, are back in action and will perform tonight and on Sept 27 at the Sultan Jazz Club.

The quartet, which also comprise home-grown veterans Tony Zee on drums, Eddie Jansen on bass and Steven Rufus on the saxophone, will also hold a free lunchtime show at Nanyang Technological University on Wednesday.

Monteiro, 53, tells Life! that tomorrow's set will be a "reunion of old friends" as it is the first time the four of them are playing together in 20 years.

"We split up in 1993 but we've kept in touch and I have played with each of them individually," says the 2002 Cultural Medallion recipient on the telephone from Bangkok, where he is on a business trip.

Because of each member's busy schedule, the quartet will only get together to jam this afternoon, before the actual show.

"I'd like to think all four of us have improved as musicians. We are playing our old songs but we will bring our current sensibilities to the music," says Monteiro, who plays the electric piano and synthesizer in the band. Guest musicians for the show include jazz flautist Rit Xu.

Formed in 1983, the band played nightly at now- defunct nightspots such as jazz pub Saxophone at Cuppage Terrace and Marina Village amphitheatre. They also performed in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Their first album, Back To Basics, now out of print, was released in 1986. It was the first local album to be recorded digitally, and featured Grammy-winning American jazz musicians such as Eldee Young on bass and Redd Holt on drums.

Jeramzee's second album, Faces & Places, was released in 1988 and featured celebrated musicians Herbie Mann from the United States on flute and Paulinho Da Costa from Brazil on percussion.

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