With the deep and passionate voice of Jazz Queen Salena Jones resounding in the Shanghai Oriental Art Center, the 2006 Shanghai International Jazz Week opened its curtains.
Jazz and old Shanghai
If you have ever watched old movies that tell stories of the Bund in the 1930s and 1940s, you would remember this scene: gentlemen in western-style suits and ladies in cheongsams (Chinese-style dress) dance in the Paramount Dancehall to the accompaniment of intoxicating jazz music. China's first jazz band came into being here.
It was learnt that in today's Shanghai, some old men who had experienced that bygone era are still crazy about jazz. The famous Peace Hotel in Shanghai has an old jazz band. In the more than 20 years since it was formed, the band has been invited to perform in many countries and regions including the US, Japan and Singapore and received warm welcome from domestic and overseas guests. One can say that jazz has been closely related to Shanghai for quite a long time and it has even become a symbol of old Shanghai.
Jazz in modern Shanghai
Experts from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music said that jazz entered China in the 1980s as a form of culture. In those days, Shanghai youths made utmost efforts to collect all available information on music. Jazz and rock music reached their life at almost the same time. After several decades of development, jazz has broken through traditions and became commingled with various other musical elements including electroacoustic, folk, rock, and neoclassical elements.
Jazz in the backdrop of night
In fact, jazz music always exists in Shanghai in its unique way. The jazz bars that emit soft rays of light in the backdrop of night, the jazz singers who carry their luggage and rush to one bar after another to give performances... Whether amateur or professional, jazz fans can find something to satisfy their ears in Shanghai, from the Cotton Club on Huaihaizhong Road to lobbies of the Hilton Hotel and the Portman Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
(By Sun Lu)