Jazz has been showing tremendous progress in Indonesia. If before the music listeners seemed to dig only the light/pop side, today they show more acceptance of idealism brought by the jazz artists, meaning that the musicians are getting wider chance to make a living by still holding their idealism instead of surrendering to the current trend in the industry. Having said that, we still have to question these: how big is their acceptance towards variety of jazz, and how far can a jazz musician go fulfilling their passion and idealism in a country where jazz is not originally came from? On the other hand, we also have to keep motivating these creative heads to be brave in creating something new. That would give so many benefits to the future of our jazz development.
With all of these matters in mind, we got a good news from Boby Limijaya. Recently released his album entitled “Journey”, made by collaborating with a jazz orchestra in Budapest, Hungary, the Budapest Jazz Orchestra. Some of you might still remember when we shared the news of Boby’s trip to Budapest from 28 October to early week of November, 2012 (read it here: http://jazzuality.com/jazz-news/boby-limijaya-to-do-a-recording-session-at-budapest-hungary/). This trip resulted a fine package containing 6 pieces of rich compositions. The album’s already released and soon will be available at our online store, but first, let’s dig more about the album, what made Boby came up with this idea, why choosing the orchestra far away in Budapest and the musical concept.
Let’s begin with a little historical background. Boby Limijaya was born in Tangerang 33 years ago. He’s been playing music since he was still 6 years old. Graduated from Pelita Harapan University, majoring in piano classical, he continued his formal education to Berklee College of Music in Boston USA with the scholarship. There he took dual major, Jazz Piano Performance and Jazz Composition. Being a bright student, he received Herb Pomeroy Award in 2009 for excellence in jazz composition, handed by Berklee. His experiences gained by performing in many prestigious events such as Java Jazz Festival (2005, 2006 and 2012), JakJazz Festival (2006) besides appearances in smaller scenes. He was once the keyboardist of Andien (2004-2006), worked as the arranger for Christmas Album (2007) and the creator/music director of “Give Thanks” concert in 2006. Known as an active participant in jazz communities in Jakarta and Tangerang, nowadays he has his own orchestra, also works as an arranger and orchestrator, a lecturer at Pelita Harapan University and a pianist plus band leader of the famous trio, B3.
Based on his strong will to create his own art work and give contribution to the jazz development in Indonesia, he wanted to do something new, which he believed will add more colors to the scene. He came up with the concept of using 8 horns. He got the idea first by looking at his professor in Berklee who has 6 piece of horns in a band, but expanded it into 8 horns band. “Basically it’s an extension of the well known 6 brasses, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones and alto and tenor saxophones. But I was curious of what it would sound if I added flute and clarinet in it. I believed it would give more textures and colors.” he said. The kind of jazz orchestra, that’s the familiar way to say it, yet with a new format, focusing on the horns. He also stated that it came from an adaptation of Maria Schneider‘s concept, the later Duke Ellington orchestra (in the 50’s or 60’s) and the likes. Having heard all the tracks, he reminds us of the extraordinary Charles Mingus. In his era, Mingus is known much more than just a contrabassist. He was someone with strong character, remain uncompromised when it comes to musical integrity and of course, brilliant in writing for mid-size ensembles. Mingus’ state of mind and spirit pulses strong in Boby Limijaya’s works.
Perhaps it’s also important for us to inform that Boby’s concept of using a part of an orchestra is not about combining jazz with classical. His repertoires contain traditional sound of modern jazz, the way we enjoyed it in Blue Note’s early recordings from immortal jazz giants to the other golden jazz eras. The sound brought by the horn ensemble created rich layers, along with many playful manouvers from each section. You can sense the smell of bebop, straightehad all the way to fusion with rock toppings. In short, Boby creates a grandeur ‘jazzchestra’ soundscape, something that we don’t listen often in our jazz collection. The CD itself resembles a landscapic journey from the 50’s to 70’s jazz era. 4 or 6 brasses are easy to find, but adding flute and clarinet in it is certainly new, at least it’s the first time in Indonesia. Not a usual formation like trio, quartet or quintet, more than just a band with brass section, almost like an orchestra but smaller.
His landing on Java Jazz Festival 2012 soil was monumental, because that was the first time he delivered a unique concept of 8 Horns Jazz Band, using 2 trumpets, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, 2 trombones, flute and clarinet. The rhythm section was included, filled with piano, electric guitar, electric bass, drums and percussions. He presented his original compositions at this festival. While his mind was deep into this concept, one day Indra Perkasa gave him an info that there’s an agent in Los Angeles that offered possibility to do a recording with big band and orchestra. He was introduced to the CEO of Budapest Scoring. He then made series of research by listening to many recordings and also based on his own experiences, the possibility of formations he had seen and studying the recording result of Budapest Jazz Orchestra. Satisfied with the result, Boby opened the contact with Budapest Scoring coordinator in LA by email and expressed his wish to collaborate and make an album with them. They listened to Boby’s compositions, they liked it, the date was set, he flew to Budapest with Bonar Abraham and voila, it happened.