CHOK Kerong has established himself as one of Singapore’s most versatile talents. Traversing the worlds of straight-ahead jazz and the numerous genres under the umbrella of popular music with equal aplomb, he has distinguished himself as a swinging, harmonically inventive pianist and organist, and is also emerging as a composer of extraordinary clarity and depth.
Chok’s compositions and arrangements have been performed by luminaries like Jeremy Monteiro, Rani Singam, the T’ang Quartet, the Singapore Wind Symphony, and his own chamber ensemble ELEVEN. In 2017, he wrote Disquiet, commissioned by the Singapore Symphony Group for the Victoria Concert Hall Organ Series. A chamber work for pipe organ and strings, Disquiet was performed by eminent organist Dr Margaret Chen in August 2017. In 2018, his compositions for an 11 piece chamber ensemble were featured in Hong Kong as part of ‘Departure’, a project helmed by guitarist and composer Teriver Cheung. Chok’s latest work, Sketches of Miles, commissioned by Jazz Association (Singapore), is an episodic work for big band that showcases his fresh approach to orchestration and complex harmony. The piece’s premier performance in May 2018 featured trumpeter Randy Brecker, saxophonist Antonio Hart and bassist Jay Anderson .
An active hammond organist, Chok’s current working band with guitarist Andrew Lim and drummer Soh Wen Ming is regarded as one of the finest ensembles to emerge from Singapore. The organ trio’s music reflects the members’ unapologetic dedication to swing, the blues, and an aesthetic that favours authenticity above all. In 2016, the trio became the first Singaporean ensemble to perform at the world renowned Tokyo Jazz Festival. Tales They Told Me, Chok’s second album as a leader, features this trio, and was released in July 2017. Most recently, Chok performed at the 2018 Melbourne International Jazz Festival.
Chok also works outside the straight ahead jazz scene, most notably as the organist/keyboardist for eminent singer-songwriter Charlie Lim, where his many stylistic influences coalesce with his foundational sensibility as a pop musician. On Lim’s critically acclaimed double EP Time/Space, he can be heard channelling the spirit of the ragtime and stride masters on Blah Blah Blues, adding shades of gospel on Bitter, and providing emotional depth through his arrangement for strings on the poignant Light Breaks In.
An active educator, Chok is the Music Director of the National University of Singapore Jazz Band, and is an instructor at LASALLE College of the Arts and School of the Arts (SOTA). He also mentors young jazz musicians as part of the Esplanade’s ‘Mosaic Jazz Fellows’ programme.
Chok is a Mosaic Associate Artist, whom the Esplanade has committed to providing tailored, intensive support.