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It’s a revival night for the Jazz Club

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"Only with the effort of all this dream can become reality", says Manuel de Almeida about the attempt to revive the Macau Jazz Club. Existing since the mid eighties, the Club plunged into an eight-year period of inactivity but some of their initial members want to make it live again. Tomorrow, from 10 pm, the Jazz Club will hold a free concert at Casa Garden (near Camões Garden), displaying their old resident band, ‘The Bridge’. Before the music starts, a one hour film screening will bring back the great moments of jazz festivals organized during the golden days of the Jazz Club.

The coordinator of the library of Portuguese Oriental Institute (IPOR) and one of the oldest members of the Jazz Club wants the venue room to be full tomorrow at show time. “I would like that the greatest number of people could occur, to give this project a vitality that currently doesn´t exist," says Manuel de Almeida. The Bridge will play two 45 minute sets, featuring jazz standards, mainstream, fusion and pop jazz music.

But the organisation suggests that the party continue. "If the audience wishes to do so​​, the night can continue. We hope that musicians will show up so that we can make a jam session and create a moment of celebration and joy. I hope it's a night to mark Macau and the principle of major projects for the Jazz Club" says Manuel de Almeida.

The jazz lover told Macau Daily Times that one of the main reasons for reopening the Club is "to relive the past and return to the old days". The other is to relaunch the International Jazz Festival, which Manuel de Almeida considers to be "the pioneer of Asia" when it started in mid-1980. Through the years, the festival gained notoriety, not only in Macau. "Hong Kong people always showed great curiosity to come to Macau to see the festival. The South China Morning Post has always followed closely the jazz festival and appealed to the people of Hong Kong to come here," he mentions.

Manuel de Almeida says the festival highlighted "bands from several parts the world," but he remembers mostly the Portuguese musicians. "In recent years, Portugal has had a very significant development in terms of jazz. When I recapitulate some of the names that passed through the festival, I like to remind the Portuguese”. Almeida also praises Eugene Pao, a veteran of the jazz scene in Hong Kong.

The festival thrived for some years but the Jazz Club did not resist because there were no alternatives for a new space. According to a press release, the return to Portugal of many members and the lack of motivation of the remaining ones were among the reasons why the club closed its doors.

Starting with tomorrow’s concert, when membership cards will be distributed to everyone who’s interested in joining, the top aim is to gather the former Club members and attract new ones. After having more members, the club promoters want to call upon a general assembly, as well as organise elections.

The other priority is to find a new basis. The Jazz Club has had its own spaces in Macau (it was based at Rua das Alabardas, close to the São Lourenço church, for 15 years and then for a brief period at the Glass House, but the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau took the property back in 2003) and intends to return to a place where it can develop a regular activity.  The Club promoters are planning to maintain a dialogue with the Government to be assigned to a site where "the Jazz Club can be reborn and become again a reference in Macau and Asia.” Setting up a jazz school to form young Jazz musicians is other aim.

"There is new blood in Macau. And not only the Portuguese, there are several communities. Through music we can bring together the people of Macau into a common project. This is what would be beautiful to Macau and is, rather, the identity of this city,” says Almeida.

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