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Philip Morris Rhythms Presents:
The Music of Lito Molina
Feb. 18, 6 p.m.
Philippine jazz has for so long been an elusive creature in the last three decades of the 20th century, moreover with the ascendance of a pop culture of which attention span has already been effectively addled by MTV. Elusiveness, however, isn't necessarily the nature of the musical beast.
Jazz in the country has only become so after years of neglect, which both musicians and audiences share the burden of guilt. For one thing, hardly anybody bothered to document its history - a common practice among cultural agencies in countries, especially in Europe, where jazz has uncharacteristically taken root. Local jazz history is mostly an oral tradition with but a few perfunctory paragraphs in cultural encyclopedias that barely scratch the surface.
According to some oral sources, the first musician to appropriate the word "jazz" in order to describe his music was a certain Lou Borromeo in the early '20s. Borromeo was also known as the local "king of jazz," perhaps taking after Paul Whiteman.
Also, unknown to Filipinos of that era, but documented in a book titled The Dance Band Era by English author Arthur McCarthy, brothers Manolo and Federico Elizalde, of the wealthy Elizalde clan here, had already taken to the music in the US, where they were sent for schooling.
Aghast at the interest in jazz which the brothers shared, they were sent by their parents to Europe, hopeful they would redirect their attention to classical music.
Even there, however, Federico persisted and went on to form a jazz band among students from the Quinquaginta Club …