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Home Features DNX LIFESTYLE | Enter Jazzman: Music for the soul

DNX LIFESTYLE | Enter Jazzman: Music for the soul

Jazz music.

It’s an evocation of smoky bar lounges, of mob molls draped over pianofortes, of silk stockings and clingy black dresses and slim cigarettes and the mysterious woman in the corner where the spotlight hits her face just so to see a hint of red lipstick and pale makeup.

It is music fit for lazy Sunday mornings, where raindrops are pit-pit-pattering over the glass windows, leaving streaks like tear tracks, while a lone lipstick-tainted coffee cup is lone witness to what transpired the night before.

Think Ella Fitzgerald, or Louis Armstrong, or Thelonious Monk, or Nina Simone.

The younger ones might skew towards bossa nova, or Sitti, or Norah Jones.

But jazz music is not for uncultured ears, and you certainly not see it in just anyone’s playlist, nor see fans fighting over which has the better music video.

ALL THAT JAZZ. The virtuoso plays just about any instrument thrown at him, showing a versatility that can be seen only in true artists. | Photo from Michael Tambasen's Facebook Page
ALL THAT JAZZ. The virtuoso plays just about any instrument thrown at him, showing a versatility that can be seen only in true artists. | Photo from Michael Tambasen’s Facebook Page

Enter Michael Tambasen.

Michael is virtuoso of music. Give him an instrument and some sheet music and then forget everything else and enjoy the show.

He has had, after all, decades of experience.

“I have been playing since I was 12 until now,” he tells DNX.

He started small, playing in the Music Room, Hot Spot, Gaisano Food Plaza in the city, and event played in a cruise ship as a pianist.

Smoky lounge bars? Check! Michael is comfortable playing in any venue from restaurants to hotels to bars. | Photo from Michael Tambasen's Facebook page
Smoky lounge bars? Check! Michael is comfortable playing in any venue from restaurants to hotels to bars. | Photo from Michael Tambasen’s Facebook page

But water really does seek its own level because talent as BIG as Michael’s would inevitably lead to posher, more sophisticated crowds.

Soon, he was playing in Manila like in Shangrila Hotel, Intercontinental Hotel, Dusit Thai Hotel, Stumms, Hard Rock Cafe.

After his stint to Manila, he came back her to Bacolod and joined jazz fests including the Bacolod International Festival, Jazzkara, Dumaguete Jazz Festival, and Iloilo Jazz Festival.

He even had had invitations in the Phuket Jazz day Festival in Thailand, which he attended twice.

"I started playing since I was 12," Michael says. Here flexing his piano playing skills. | Photo from Michael Tambasen's Facebook page
“I started playing since I was 12,” Michael says. Here flexing his piano playing skills. | Photo from Michael Tambasen’s Facebook page

Like most people though, Michael’s life is divided into two segments: pre-CoViD, and post-CoViD.

“Before the Covid, my normal life was in events–almost everyday in weddings, fiestas, the big events in Bacolod. I also have regular wedding gigs in Boracay,” he says.

Lean days came when CoViD especially in an industry that is probably the hardest hit.

“The gigs I am doing now is for survival,” he admits. Despite the “not-so-satifying income”, he continues, trudges on.

Talk about passion. Michael has it in spades.

Now, Michael is back to the daily grind, performing regularly at least in more intimate settings: bars, upscale restaurants.

The artist at work. | Photo from Michael Tambasen'a Facebook page
The artist at work. | Photo from Michael Tambasen’a Facebook page

Concept, of course, is his.

“I always give ideas to resto, bar owners how to pitch jazz in their place,” says, admitting that the music genre is not for everybody.

And with the transition to the new normal, Michael is slowly but steadily getting his bearings back.

And his audience is more than happy.

For truly, music is one refuge for the lonely and beaten soul.

Hannah A. Papasin
Hannah A. Papasinhttp://facebook.com/hannah.mariveles
Writer. Critic. Professor. She started writing since primary school and now has two published textbooks on communication. A film buff, she's a Communication, Media Literacy and Journalism Professor of the University of St. La Salle-Bacolod, and has a Master's Degree in English.

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