S'pore jazz guitarist Farid Ali dies in KL

SINGAPORE- Veteran Singapore jazz guitarist Farid Ali died yesterday evening at a hospital in Kuala Lumpur, where he has been based since 1993.

Details of the exact cause of his death are unclear, but Farid is said to have had a history of kidney problems and also lost his hearing at one point. He was 50.

Tributes to Farid, who has performed at international music festivals and also fronted progressive blues band Pacific Rim before leaving for Malaysia, were posted on social media platforms.

In a post on his Facebook page yesterday evening, home-grown jazz pianist-composer Jeremy Monteiro called Farid's death "a huge loss to the Singapore and Malaysia music scene".

Speaking to The Sunday Times, Monteiro, who had worked with Farid for 20 years, said: "By 6.45pm, I started getting phone calls and SMSes from people who knew him well.

"I'm still in shock actually."

While attempts to reach Farid's family were unsuccessful, Monteiro said his friend was able to recover only part of his hearing in the last two years after undergoing an operation.

"He was determined to start performing again. That was how dedicated he was to music," he added.

Many in the music industry have fond memories of Farid who, they say, was warm, gracious and deeply passionate about music.

He had done the rounds at jazz festivals in the United States and Europe and picked up several awards along the way, such as the best arranger award in the Curacao International Song Festival in 1988.

Farid, who studied at the Berklee College of Music, is also well- known for incorporating the gambus, a 3,500-year-old Persian stringed instrument, into jazz music.

Timbre Group co-founder and chief creative director Danny Loong, 40, who met Farid when he was 19, said that he had been the main inspiration for him to pursue music.

He posted on his Facebook page: "I was inspired by his band, Pacific Rim, to be a musician and one day, open my own music venue and restaurant.

"This is a huge loss to regional music. RIP Farid. You will always be remembered, my friend."

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