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Jeremy Monteiro (born 20 June 1960, Singapore) is a jazz pianist, singer, composer and music educator. He has performed and won critical acclaim in many parts of the world; in Singapore, he has been dubbed "Singapore's King of Swing" by the local press. He was awarded the Cultural Medallion in 2002.
Monteiro grew up in a family that loved music where both his parents played musical instruments and both his sisters, the piano. He took piano lessons at a young age and eventually attained a Grade 8 music certification. He was drawn to jazz due to the music's spontaneity and was influenced by friends who were making money moonlighting in Chinese nightclubs.
By the time he was 16, Monteiro was already working as a professional musician. He first performed at Club 392, where the Palais Renaissance now stands along Orchard Road. He spent many years playing in local clubs as well as performing at international festivals such as the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. He has performed with a range of fellow jazz musicians, including saxophonists James Moody and Ernie Watts, Eldee Young, Paul Martin and Shawn Kelly.
In 1988, Swing Magazine of Switzerland called him "one of the best exponents of Jazz Piano". That year, he performed with his all-star band, Monteiro, Young & Holt at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival. As a composer, Monteiro was awarded a Silver Medal at the 1991 International Radio Festival of New York, as well as finalist awards at the 1990 and 1991 London International Advertising Awards for best original music score (radio, TV and cinema). He has composed or produced over 700 pieces of music and is listed in the year 2000 edition of Who's Who of The World. In late 1992, he produced the Ernie Watts album Stand Up.
During the middle of 2002, Monteiro launched the album Swinging in Chicago, which featured tracks such as "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" and "I'm Confessin' That I Love You". The album was released in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan and Japan. He is also the composer of the national song titled "One People, One Nation, One Singapore" which he penned in 1990. Other achievements in Monteiro's career include: being designated a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (organiser of the Grammy Awards) in 1991; performing with the Asian All-Stars jazz band to 14,000 people at the Shanghai Convention Centre in 1996; and being appointed artistic director of the Singapore International Jazz Festival in 2001, featuring 52 bands and more than 150 musicians from Singapore and overseas.
On 8 October 2002, Monteiro was conferred the Cultural Medallion in recognition of his artistic excellence and contributions. He was the first jazz musician to achieve this honour. On 28 November 2003, Monteiro was conferred the "Lifting Up The World with a Oneness-Heart" lifetime achievement Award by Sri Chinmoy, who is the leader of the interfaith Peace Meditation at the UN (since 1970) and also the leader of the International Peace Centre.
In the 2003 Singapore Arts Festival, Monteiro performed with legendary harmonica player Toots Thielemans, together with the members of his NYC Trio, bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Adam Nussbaum, at the Victoria Concert Hall.
On 11 March 2005, as part of the inaugural Mosaic Music Festival, he performed at the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay in Singapore, with his international trio of Shawn Kelley and Belinda Moody, Singaporean singers Claressa Monteiro, Jacintha Abisheganaden, Anne Weerapass and Rani Singam, together with jazz legend James Moody, in a concert to commemorate Moody's 80th birthday.
Monteiro was appointed a board member of the National Arts Council of Singapore on 1 September 2006. He was also elected a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures & Commerce in the UK (the RSA) on 15 September 2006. He became a Fellow of the London College of Music, which is part of the Thames Valley University in the UK, in early 2007.
On 29 May 2006, Monteiro released his first album of all original compositions. The album, which is the latest in his discography of more than 20 albums, is entitled Homecoming, and was recorded in Los Angeles and is released in HDCD format on the Jazznote label. The recording was funded by the National Arts Council's Cultural Medallion grant.
Monteiro, who is also a vocalist, has been singing more and more often in his recent performances. The Sept/Oct 2005 issue of the Chicago Jazz magazine had this to say about his singing, "Monteiro has an appealing and expressive voice....you don't expect such a technically dazzling pianist to have such an intimate and wistful vocal sound...Monteiro is a consistently excellent vocalist."
Besides running his own production house, Showtime Productions Pte Ltd, he is also the Director of Composers and Authors Society of Singapore Ltd, a company which administers music copyrights.
Monteiro has a total of 21 albums to his credit. He has performed and/or recorded with the likes of James Moody, Michael Brecker, Lee Ritenour, Herbie Mann, Paulinho DaCosta, Ernie Watts, Charlie Haden and Simon & Garfunkel, to name a few.
Monteiro has two sisters, Sheila and Claressa, the latter a professional jazz singer. He also has a son, Varian.
- 1986: Back to Basics
- 1988: Blues for the Saxophone Club
- 1988: Faces & Places
- 1990: Always in Love
- 2003: Songs My Dad Taught Me
- 2002: Swinging in Chicago
- 2003: Songs for You, Karen
- 2005: Foolish Heart
- 2005: Only Trust Your Heart
- 2006: Homecoming
- 2009: Singapore Swing: A Jazz Album of Singapore Songs
- 2010: Jeremy Monteiro Compositions: Golden Year Inaugural Volume 1
- 2011: Live At the Montreux Jazz Festival
- 2014: Jazz-Blues Brothers