Today we meet Su Sheng-yu, a Taiwanese award-winning saxophonist. He founded a band in 2022 in hopes of promoting Taiwanese jazz. FTV reporter Stephany Yang spoke to Su to learn about his career and goals for Taiwanese jazz.
This is Taiwanese saxophonist Su Shengyu. He started to learn saxophone at the age of 12. His love for jazz music brought him to the Royal Conservatory of Brussels in 2006.
Before I went to university to study, the jazz scene in Taiwan was just getting started. It was not easy to learn jazz, despite there being several teachers in Taiwan who had come back from abroad. I went to study abroad because I had another, bigger dream. It was bring such good music to Taiwan that it could reach more people and get more people to listen to this music.
After studying in Brussels, Su came back to Taiwan to release his first solo album in 2020. He won the Golden Melody Award for Best Instrumental Album. He says that over the past decade, he has witnessed the growth of interest in jazz in Taiwan.
Since I came back 10 years ago, I have seen that the number of listeners and musicians in Taiwan’s jazz scene has skyrocketed. Over the past 10 years, jazz events at the National Theater and Concert Hall, and events organized by the Taipei City Government and the Taichung City Government have attracted fantastic crowds.
To further promote Taiwanese jazz, Su founded a band with 11 members, all of whom have studied abroad all over the world. The musicians have collaborated with artists such as Mayday, Lo Ta-you, Tsai Chin, and have been shortlisted for many music awards such as the Golden Melody Award and the Golden Music Award. They make arrangements of golden oldies in Mandarin and Taiwanese, incorporating jazz elements.
I founded this band with the goal of allowing more people who don’t listen to jazz or even refuse to listen to jazz to get to understanding jazz more deeply. To do that, we start off from a common language. We take for example, Taiwanese or Mandarin songs that everyone understands and then arrange them, throwing in some jazz elements. This let people see how you can play around with jazz.
Su and his band hope that their music and performances will get more people to learn to love and understand jazz.
For more Taiwan news, tune in:
Sun to Fri at 9:30 pm on Channel 152
Tue to Sat at 1 am on Channel 53