Monday, July 26, 2010


Make My Day – Hilarion M. Henares Jr.

The Philippine Post – August 11, 1999

Centuries ago as time is counted by the very young, in the year 1958, a group of business executives led by Bert del Rosario, president of Treble, and Bobby Manosa, one of our brightest architects, got together and formed the Executive Combo, which later became the Executive Band, led by Raul Manglapus, Senator, Cabinet Secretary, and the schoolboy hero of a whole generation of Ateneans, and their latest recruit, no less than the First Lady Mrs. Ming Ramos. I am an honorary member of the Executive Band, and my TV Producer Dr. Luis Esteban Latorre, former Priest of the Opus Dei, is a banofide member of it, they played the trumpet.

For 3 years, they played with the legendary king of jazz Duke Ellington (piano), Lionel Hampton (piano), with King Bhumipol of Thailand (clarinet) and his princess daughter (trumpet), Prince Norodom Sihanouk (saxophone) of Cambodia, with President Bill Clinton (tenor saxophone), with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir (voice) Ambassador Kulas Platypus (voice), of course the First Lady (piano). They serenaded Pope John Paul II, Frank Sinatra, and other international celebrities. They have performed all over the Philippines and the world. And all for charity as ambassadors of goodwill of the Filipino people. Only recently they departed for Oslo, Norway, and Rome, Italy and Madrid in Spain to serenade the Pope and the great economic heroes of the Philippines today – the OCW’s the overseas contract workers.

White Americans who denigrate the blacks often forget that at the leading edge of American dominance of the world, it its jazz culture whose beginnings can be traced to Negro spiritual music during the time of slavery.

Jazz has many forms: Dixieland that enlivened even funerals in New Orleans; the blues with its earthy lyrics and songs of sorrow, those of Gershwin and Ella Fitzgerald; the syncopated polyphonic Ragtime of Scot Joplin whose piano music you enjoyed in the movie The Sting; soft swing and sway, with Sammy Kay, Artie Shaw, Bing Cosby, and Frank Sinatra; the harmonic Be-Bop, Boogie Woogie, Rock and Roll, Hard Metal, the Rap ,and the noise you hear over NU 107 – all these are different forms of jazz.

Jazz music is mostly innovative and improvised. Its sounds, composed while being played, have natural flowing melodies that express strongly felt emotions – with such instruments as trumpet, trombone, the long-neglected saxophone, harmonica, and the guitars.

What started out as American Negro music now belongs to the world. It belongs more to Filipinos than to any other Asian country, and to such Filipino jazz greats as saxophonist Eddie Catindig and singer Louie Reyes. The Executive Band is one of the more purist of jazz players, practically the only one in the Philippines specializing in Dixieland jazz, the grandfather of all jazz forms.

This is the band we chose to send the world, to serenade our contract workers, and the Pope in Rome, in Oslo and in Madrid, and with whom our ex-First Lady chose to play with in public concerts. And this is the band that played in Raul’s funeral, as per hi request, "When The Saints Come Marching In."

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