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Jazz has been going through a bit of revival lately. Pluto Media sat down with the owner of Tago Jazz in the Philippines to find out why a whole new generation is discovering Jazz

How long has the club been going for?

Tago Jazz Cafe started in 2011, and was built on and around an old house, situated in a residential area in Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines. Five years in, and a few major road bumps ago, we are still staying strong, the path to all roads jazz and excellence.

What inspired you to start the club?

The club was a project between former partner and I. We saw there was a need for jazz hub in Manila, because there were none at the time we opened. Jazz is so beautiful that I had to push to open “Tago”. “Tago” in Tagalog/Filipino means “Hidden”.

Why Jazz, and not rock or other forms of music?

Jazz is a beautiful language. Jazz music, through its intricacies and complicated forms brings about positive change and inspiration. Through jazz and improvisation, we come up with resolutions, and equilibrium is restored. In these very challenging and changing times, there is a need for everyone to express deep-rooted emotions and remain inspired. Jazz Music is the perfect medium to harness positivity and the maturity of the soul.

Tell me about some of the acts that you get at the club?

We host some of the finest local jazz cats in the Philippines. Both great old and future gems. We also pay homage to all the legends and forefathers of jazz. And we get visited by foreign jazz icons from New York City, Japan, and Europe. We also hone and support the younger generations to take on this lovely art form called jazz.
As examples, here are some of the finest Filipino jazz acts playing here: The Ryan Villamor Trio, The Pete Canzon Group, Noli Aurillo, Skarlet Swing Machine, The Modern Playground, The Rey Infante Trio, The Brass Munkeys, Baihana, Tim Cada, Bergan Nunez, Gabe Cabonce, Paolo and Nicole Duo, Venus Fly, Rick Countryman, Trilogy, and there are many others....

Why is Jazz becoming more popular in The Philippines?

Jazz is not really becoming a prominent medium here. It is a struggle, for all the artists, and for me. It's much like in any other parts of the world, where jazz musicians are a minority and struggling for a gig. Especially in a third world country, jazz is a misunderstood and not so popular art form and branded as for “the rich only” or “only for intellectuals". However, I strongly refute this, and say that jazz is for everyone. People are curious, and probably getting tired of spoon-fed mediocrity, wanting something with more "sense and resolve”.

Tell me about some of the people who come to the club to watch bands?

It is a very diverse crowd out here. Some nights, there are just a few tables, maybe just a group of curious college kids, or an old couple celebrating a special night. Then there are nights when it's packed, and people from all nationalities, race, creed, religion, or sect, come under one small simple and humble roof, to bask in the intimacy of “Tago” and appreciate the artistry of the musicians, and celebrate friendship and good solid vibes. Then we become family.

Tell me about some of your best nights.

Every night is quite special and different here. It is at its absolute best whenever jazz or live jazz music is involved. On empty idle nights, you get to witness how an artist adapts to the situation, and then see them perform with much fervor and grace. On heavy nights, it is almost the same, only there are people who witness it, and then we allow them to absorb the positivity of the music and artistry that comes out of us.

Younger people are starting to discover jazz. Why do you think that is the case?

Jazz is a fascinating art form, and it is good that more and more folks are discovering and starting to appreciate it. It is amazing that jazz strikes the curiosity of young and not-so young people. They get to learn the roots of jazz and how it grew, and they get exposed to this language, from basic rudimentary concepts, to the abstruse.Jazz encompasses the basic human traits, explores it, stretches it, and helps people grasp and comprehend it. Jazz is a stage, where a myriad of emotions are presented, and the specific requisite of the soul can be appeased. The soul can be taught to be humble and kind. Jazz is love. Now, who wouldn’t be attracted to love?

What's coming up for the club?

Tago Jazz has become more than just a bar or club. I am doing my best to sustain this club, and support the jazz artists even in the direst of times. I now have an obligation to different generations, and a nation. I want to lift the spirits of as many people as possible through jazz, and by simply taking up music, eventually give an option, and hope.

Tago Jazz is committed to the education and emancipation of a lot of people.
We will host live jazz shows in key venues around the metro and in the provinces, and now, by having a once a week radio show, the “Tago Jazz Hour” on DWDD 1134khz AM radio, we maybe able to re educate the public, and attract a younger crowd to embrace this discipline and medium. In the future, with the help and support from all the jazz artists and supporters, we will hopefully be able to build a local/regional circuit.

Where can people find you?

Tago Jazz Café is located at #14 Main Avenue, Barangay Bagong Lipunan ng Crame, Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines. You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram.. Just key in Tago Jazz Café. Or you can reach us through +639223575896 or email us at Tagojazz@yahoo.com.

Why Jazz?

Go to:  Rodney Gill – The Artist artist's page.

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