I had a wonderful time at Noir’s concert on Friday, and have been raving about Melissa Tham to all my close friends since. She is the best local jazz singer I’ve heard in person, and her honeysuckle voice and Doris Day personality is so absolutely thrilling in person. She brings back a little of the old-fashioned excitement I have of sitting there in the darkness before the first few words start, and Joshua Wan’s arrangements were playful and a breath of fresh air. I absolutely adored the interpretations of My Fair Lady they did, being a big musicals fan and having memorized the lines of I’ve Grown Accustomed in my mind, and I think its a first for me listening to an interpretation of that.
A strikingly original band, Noir takes its inspiration from the classic jazz repertoire and adds improvisational nuance and color, embodying both individuality and the gestalt of group creativity in a single unit. Noir is Melissa Tham(vocals), Wen Ming Soh(drums), Tony Makarome(bass) and Joshua Wan(piano).
Photographs I took off Noir’s site below (photographs by Kevin Foo). Wen Ming was also powerful on the drums, a worthy note and perfect for the band. I loved his entrances and exits, done exceptionally skilfully. Makarome needs no introduction, a pleasure on the bass and he needs more solos of his own! Joshua Wan’s playing was so playful, he brought us back to days of jazz springtime, or given the theme, perhaps a little Ivor Novello in Gosford Park?
I also had to take a photograph with Melissa, who kindly obliged!
After the closure of Jazz @ 7Atenine, have been looking for good jazz and had been talking to S about it. But Melissa Tham brings a little of that spirit back, and I am now definitely going to be a fond regular at the Mandarin Oriental. Joshua Wan is apparently a regular too.
I could not find sample tracks of hers or the band online, but there are some hazy quality youtube videos which simply don’t do justice. Noir has released a cd, Close Your Eyes, and they also have a facebook page for updates. CDs can be purchased by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
I ever brought D to one of her performances at Jazz @ Southbridge when it was still existent, and he was so blown away that he declared that it would start him on jazz if jazz sounded anything like that. I think it was his first time on jazz, and Melissa, if you ever read this, you brought out the little jazz lover out in him and I am sure he still remembers that performance of yours till this day!
Here was something I came across while doing a search on the band, and here’s some little facts on Melissa:
– I used to teach classical piano to little kids.
– I like to cook, and am learning to cook now.
– I like to put my hands in my pockets most of the time.
– I play the clarinet.
– I am not into clubbing at all, never been to places like Zouk.
I think the pockets part is adorable. But indeed, isn’t it a cozy thing to hide in pockets.
Pardon me for sounding like a starry eyed fan, but I just haven’t heard anything this good for some time! Irving, I’ll be sending their cd to you. Possibly my favourite performance for the start of the year. For jazz lovers like Irving and I, this was simply such a treat.
Only complaint – 5 tracks on the cd is simply not enough, after tantalizing us with such night pleasures, Noir!