How this real estate broker found a second wind in his career as a jazzman



Traveling back and forth between London and Singapore every two months – he runs Michael Elliott Asia here – Ng’s vision is for Maduro to be a place for both high-stakes negotiations and casual jam sessions.

What about the fateful Steinway, the acquisition that led to the second resurgence of his musical career?

“It’s not here [in Maduro], but you can come to my house to see it, ”Ng said with a laugh. “I wouldn’t leave him here to let anyone and everyone beat him up.” Instead, he leads us to a Yamaha piano that has been played by the who’s who of the local jazz scene.

Ng starts playing Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Memory of Cats on the Yamaha. But instead of singing the accompanying lyrics, he serves up some wise anecdotes. In summary: you can play beautiful music with just two fingers if you can sing the melody; if you make a mistake pretend you hear it as a jazz note and go for it; know when to support, lighten and balance your actions. “When people expect something, like you going back to a particular note, play something a little different instead. It leaves a lasting impression, like the lingering sensation in the mouth after a spicy meal.

Ng has also just finished recording a seven-track album, titled Journey with my Friends. “My friend and producer Ricky Ho, Golden Horse Award winner, was free at the time, so we sought to record a thank you note to all of my friends.” He distributed the CD to his friends and associates, asking in return for a donation to charity.

A particularly memorable track from the album is Ng’s rendition of Fiddler On The Roof, in which he sprinkles several jazzy alterations, before transcending into the very jovial, contemporary and universally recognizable major scale notes of If I Were A Rich. Man (written by Zero Mostel, but cleaned up by Gwen Stefani). He shared that the song is dedicated to his hard-working Jewish business partners in London, with whom he broke bread in their homes.

Another song from the album, which Ng didn’t dedicate to anyone in particular, is Cinema Paradiso. “It’s a beautiful movie. I really like this movie and this song because it’s about a boy who fights for himself and finally comes back to the cinema he used to go to, ”he explained.

In a sense, it’s really a metaphor for his own experience.

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