When asking where and to whom we should learn how to play bass in Indonesia, it’s obvious the answer mostly will point to Indro Hardjodikoro. And that’s really no surprise since Indro is one of the complete bassist we have in Indonesia today. He’s capable of adapting to whatever genre or style he has to play, wherever the composition goes and whichever the pattern appears, he will always know how to jump in and give his touch. The result is always great as Indro can control the pace and contribution in perfect amount, to build the song effectively well. He’s talented, his skill is remarkable. He knows when to move in and back following the flow of the song. And experience has shaped him very well to be who he is today.
Indro Hardjodikoro has been living inside the inner circle of Indonesian music scene for more than 2 decades. He was first inspired by his own elder brother, Manto, a musician. “Playing music can make us cool.” he said one day. Starting as early as he was in the third grade of elementary school he began learning music all by himself. He joined a vocal group as a percussionist and then later tried to play guitar while also singing and playing harmonica. At one point Indro switched to bass. His curiosity on this instrument appeared when he met Bintang Indrianto, a senior bassist of Indonesia. Later Indro added his musical knowledge from stand out musicians such as Indra Lesmana, Erwin Gutawa or the late Maryono, a legendary saxophonist. One day he met Tohpati at PMMC (Yamaha), that brought him to join the famous fusion band in the 90’s, Halmahera. Their friendship flourished when they both joined the first formation of Riza Arshad‘s simakDialog besides playing together on many projects and recordings. Indro emerged as a popular session player, especially by his ability to play all around with his distinctive style.
Through his career, Indro has played in many different band sizes and formations, both on stage and recording. He released two albums with Halmahera, “Kuyakini” and “Khayalanku”, another two albums with simakDialog, “Lukisan” and “Baur”, joining Earth Music with Australian percussionist Ron Reeves, the legendary jazz icon Indra Lesmana, senior drummer Cendi Luntungan and the senior saxophonist Arif Setiadi. We can find his name in many recordings of jazz, pop or any other genres. He’s worked with many top artists from different eras such as Erwin Gutawa, Indra Lesmana, Tohpati, Balawan, Trisum, Dwiki Dharmawan, Donny Suhendra, Humania, Elfa’s Singers, Khrisna Balagita, Edo Kondologit, Ruth Sahanaya and Vina Panduwinata to name a few. He’s been performing on TV often, such as on the popular quiz show “Gita Remaja” back in the 90’s, Indonesian Idol and any other programs in various TV stations. He contributed in Indonesia’s big orchestra such as Erwin Gutawa‘s, Addie MS‘ Twilite Orchestra, Andi Rianto Magenta Orchestra, and of course Dwiki Dharmawan‘s World Peace Orchestra, a gigantic sized orchestra consisting of more than 100 musicians around the world. In this orchestra he got the chance to play with international musicians like Walfredo Reyes Jr, Andy Suzuki, Steve Thornton, Tollak Ollestad, Yellowjacket’s Jimmy Haslip and Russel Ferrante, Roger Burns, the ‘oud’ (pear-shaped Arabic guitar) player Kamal Musallam and many more. He was on tour with Eric Marienthal around Indonesia in 1997. He has also collaborated with many other international stars including Sadao Watanabe, Kenny Garrett, Dave Koz, Michael Colina, Michael Lington, and Sheila Majid. He became one of the Master Class lecturer in “Rhythm and Groove Music Camp” with Victor Wooten. He tasted the jam session with Herbie Hancock in Bali. He has performed with George Duke and the “Freak Guitar” Mattias “IA” Eklundh. Recently he’s also involved in Dira J Sugandi‘s debut album produced by Bluey of Incognito. Even with this loads of activity, somehow he can still find some time to teach. He is the Head of Bass Department at IMI (Institut Musik Indonesia) and also a bass teacher at Farabi Music School. Many of his students have emerged as top bassists today, including Barry Likumahuwa and Shadu Shah Chaidar (Shadu Rasjidi), the son of legendary artist Idang Rasjidi.
With this illustrious career, Indro Hardjodikoro is shining as an excellent bassist, not only to the music fans but also to all his colleagues. His “soulmate” Tohpati once told us, he will feel totally safe if Indro is the one behind the bass. “I like playing together with him. We fit to each other. We already know each other so well, that sometimes we don’t need to plan anything, we just play. In the music world like this, I have to say friendship is really needed. You already know each other’s style, each other’s feels and so on. It makes things easier.” said Tohpati on an exclusive interview with him. Barry Likumahuwa proudly stated that Indro was an amazing teacher on bass technique. “He’s the up-to-date bassist we have today in technique mastering.” said Barry. One of his students stated that Indro always urged his students to master the speed. “It will help you a lot during the recordings” he said. He always know how to bring a certain touch in every style. That’s why we can clearly see Indra Lesmana, Tohpati, Dwiki Dharmawan and many other top musicians in this country always love to have him in their gigs. With all said Indro Hardjodikoro is a down to earth and humble guy. He smiles a lot when on stage, enjoying every second of his performance and always bring the cheerful aura among the other players. And Tohpati has something to say about it. “One word to describe Indro..it’s laugh”
Standing out as a side man or session player should never be enough for such a special musician like him. For us, it’s definitely a pleasure to see Indro Hardjodikoro finally found his spirit to go further standing in the front. Ever since 2009 we have seen this Musicman 5 String user with Piezo Pickup and Markbass appeared in the front with his own band, the pace gets even more intense in 2010. After his special performance gracing some prestigious stages such as Serambi Jazz or Java Jazz Festival 2010, now he has released his new album where he stands as the frontman. “Feels Free”, that’s the title of the album that will speak a lot about who he is idealistically. This is the album if you want to know a lot more about the real Indro Hardjodikoro, his taste, his skills, his ability on composing and also in leadership. “There comes a time when the musicians feel the needs to compose and play their own songs.” he said one day. And by standing in the front as the leader of his own band like this he will be able to achieve that needs. In our opinion the timing for him to release this album is just perfect, since jazz has been growing significantly in Indonesia lately. Look at the young players he brings in. The outstanding young drummer Demas Narawangsa who is also active in Balinese jazz fusion band KulKul , Lal Intje Makkah, a stylish keyboardist/synthesizer. The album concept is strengthened by the appearance of senior musicians, like the legendary guitarist Oele Pattiselano, Indro’s “soulmate”, the guitar maestro Tohpati and senior keyboardist Irfan Chasmala.
Listening to “Feels Free” is like having a flashback into the delightful scene of Indonesian jazz fusion in the 90’s, but serves to fit the current trend. You can get a hint that he expresses the freedom of fusion from that era but it doesn’t feel old at the same time. It’s a journey of sound in which Indro takes us to see the freedom of sound comes from his inner sense. The compositions were all made by Indro himself during his career as a musician. As a jazz musician, he knew he had to leave some room for improvisations, and that’s what he did. Simply put, the beauty of jazz fusion finds its mark with this album.
Let’s see the tracks of “Feels Free”. The opening “Titik Awal” (Starting Point) is an uplifting song that first appeared in the Bass Heroes compilation in 2006. Now this song has re-arranged more solid to fit the new dawn with Demas’ lively drum beating and Lal’s hand keyboard that replaced the guitar distortion and trumpet in the earlier version. This song appears energetic, passionate and courageous; it delivers the message of a new starting point of Indro’s career perfectly. The next song appears in delightful syncopation entitled “I Like Surprises”. This song was inspired by Barney, the purple dinosaur’s friend, Baby Bop who always likes to say “I Like Surprises!” And that’s where he got the inspiration from. Lal’s keyboard roars wildly on this lightning speed track. The album slows down with a smooth and tender “My Angels.” This is like a lullaby in the spirit of Pat Metheny’s story-telling style that will bring your sense to the deepest calm. It’s also a notable duet between Indro and Tohpati, two great friends who has been supporting each other for two decades.
Imagine if you’re finding a beautiful land full of green grass under a clear blue sky. That’s the thing you will imagine by listening to the next track. “Greenland”. Feel the freshness of the country side through the inspirational cheerful folk/country style embedded in this song. Again Indro successfully balanced the speed of Tohpati’s guitar playing on this one. When you’re ready to free your mind, you can continue to the next song. “Feels Free” is perfect to listen when you want to go mind-wandering by closing your eyes. Indro did a great job in making this song alive. This is also the song if you want to find the technique and feeling Indro can bring. The groovy “Psycopath” is next, capturing the deranged mind into teasing melodies, served in a vintage bluesy style. The 7th track features the fantastic showdown of side-by-side playing between Indro’s bass and Demas’ drums. Lal’s streamingly fast keyboard playing comes to bring more flavor into the song. The preciseness between Indro’s bass and Demas’ drum is outstanding. It’s a difficult repertoire for sure, as Demas said this song was a real challenge to him. The album continues on with “Menyapa Pagiku” (Greeting My Morning), a lovely composition where you can feel the magic touch of the legendary Oele Pattiselano in a sweet duet with Indro Hardjodikoro. Try to listen to this song when you wake up and you will have a better morning with a smile.
The “Lost City” is another journey of sound that will stun you. Again Tohpati gave his magic touch on this one together with Indro’s stand out bass and Dimas’ drum pattern. The mysterious nuance can be felt so strong on this number. The album closes with another sweet and smooth collaboration between Indro and Oele, “Senja” (Nightfall). If they start with greeting the morning, now they closes the session with praising the beautiful moment of sunset. This song will land softly in your heart and bring you deeply relaxing in no time.
“Bass is an instrument that can be used not only to play the notes, but it can also be used to bring out the melody and rhythm section that has harmonious effect when it appears solo.” Indro said. And Indro proves it right with 10 tracks available on this album. “Feels Free” marks the new dawn of Indro Hardjodikoro’s career, and it delivers elegantly. This is also a celebration of a twenty years career of this remarkable man. All these times Indro has never lost his spirit, in fact it grows even higher with the release of this album. If you are into jazz fusion, if you want to have a nice flashback into the vintage music scene that appears fresh to fit the current trend, if you want to taste the real Indro Hardjodikoro, or if you simply want to have a journey of sounds with your own soul, you should grab this one. Whenever you’re ready, let’s feel free with this album!
Indro Hardjodikoro (bass)
Demas Narawangsa (drum)
Lal Intje Makkah (keyboard/synthesizer)
Tohpati Ario Hutomo (guitar)
Irfan Chasmala (keyboard)
Oele Pattiselano (guitar)
I Like Surprises
Drum & Bass
To buy the album, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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