Guitarist-composer Johnny Alegre, jazz journeyman and recording artist from the Philippines. His pioneering projects progressively contribute towards bringing an emergent Southeast Asian milieu to the attention of musical audiences local and foreign; defying barriers of genre, demographics and cultural stereotypes.
Alegre’s involvement in the Philippine scene spans scores of bands and recording projects, through thirty plus years of history in his country’s seminal “pinoy rock” and OPM (Original Philippine Music), culminating in his an epiphany into jazz.
In 2002, Johnny Alegre formed what effectively became Manila’s premier jazz collective, the JOHNNY ALEGRE AFFINITY (with bassist Colby dela Calzada, drummer Koko Bermejo, pianist Elhmir Saison and saxophonist Tots Tolentino as co-founding members), which initiated a series of musical chairs that continue until the present day. His performances with AFFINITY spanned the breadth of Manila’s high profile clubs and concert venues in modular formats of trios, quartets and quintets. Their first recorded work, “Stones Of Intramuros”, written by Alegre, was included in a limited edition Philippine jazz anthology CD, Adobo Jazz Vol.1, that caught the attention of the London-based jazz specialty label, Candid Records.
Subsequently, the eponymous first album, “Johnny Alegre AFFINITY” was released in the Philippines in mid-2005, described by the local press as “a blend of musical, technical and communal creativity between the composer and his allies”. The opus was subsequently re-released in the U.K. as “Jazzhound”, with notices in British jazz publications, and capped by two sold-out engagements (with guest saxophonist, Dimitri Vassilakis) in London’s PizzaExpress Jazz Club. In 2008, Alegre unfolded “Eastern Skies”, an album set to the framework of an orchestral backdrop by the Global Studio Orchestra (conducted by Gerard Salonga, as arranged by Ria Villena-Osorio). It was his response to the clamor for even more innovative music from “Manila’s jazz superband”. Alegre’s introduction to a mainstream American jazz audience in Hollywood’s Catalina Bar in December 2007 earned him a favorable notice in the Los Angeles Times.