Saturday, May 30, 2015
Album Reviews




You thought you’ve heard it all. But actually, jazz still has unlimited terrains to explore. And it doesn’t always to be far, because something new can still come out from the elements, instruments or music style that we have been familiar with.

Here’s the good news. From Singapore comes a group named TAJ. This group of three consists of Tim De Cotta on bass, Audrey Tengkey on keys, and JR Teo on drums. The band was formed in 2012 and actually found the chemistry as well as the creativity connection pretty fast. They spend almost a year in the studio cooking their meal, and.. voila! An EP titled “The Astral Journey” under local independent record label Darker Than Wax ( is going to be officially released on January 30, 2015.

If you listen to this EP, you would find that TAJ has indeed a very strong concept. The label says that TAJ crafted an album that features poignant, illustrious pieces which evidently highlight their harmonious unity and talent. We totally agree with that. You can find post-rock, psychedelic funk, soul, hiphop and multi-textured beats that should satisfy music listeners including the trendy youngsters. By laying the concept on rich blendings, the Astral Journey is an ‘urban-esque’ jazz fusion that can capture modern cosmopolitan lifestyle with plenty of room to let your mind wander all the way to the imaginative astral world.

TAJ, the astral journey, jazzuality


How was the band born? Audrey (who is actually Indonesian by the way) told us the story.

“We got together by chance actually. It was 2012 when Tim and I went with the Singapore contingent to MIDEM in Cannes. Through rehearsals for this showcase we got to know and like their musical styles in their respective bands. So when they came back, I invited Tim to an open jam session at LaSalle with other young musicians and students. It was a shed session to just have fun and also to try new things. Drummers, keyboardists, bassists and turntablists even. So JR was one of the drummers there and as the jam went on, it was clear that the chemistry between the three of us whenever we were on our instruments together was really strong! We didn’t just jam the songs per se but we moved and evolved them in a matter of minutes. So eventually, we started meeting more and more often, till it became just exclusive to the 3 of us, jamming covers and then eventually writing our own music. It happened very naturally and faster than usual, also because we became great friends. TAJ was born and on 1 Oct 2013 we released our single “The Astral Journey”.

Yes, the organic, epic, mind-traveling “The Astral Journey” was already released more than a year ago, but now TAJ finally has their debut ready to roll. Other than single, the album has other rich textured compositions which serve much, much more than just jazz. Tight drumming, sharp bass line and psychedelic synthesizer shone bright in “Old Town MOFO”, creating an intense emotion over the mellow tune. The post-rock pulses strong on dreamy but punchy “7DB”. The magical mixtures once again nicely showcased on “Daydream” which features the voice of Kaye, co-founder of Darker Than Wax, croons on the vocoder. Cosa Nostra’s refix of Daydream takes on a 4-to-the-floor house-disco approach. And of course, who wouldn’t love the fresh, high energy “Taj You’self”. Soul and rap became the key-elements on this one as well. The smooth beatdown remix by Jaël, a multi-faceted musician from Holland created another vibe on this song. The Jaël’s remix of ‘Taj Yo’self’ is exclusive to iTunes, Boomkat and Beatport. Lots of twists and turns are to be found here and there, not only as the element of surprises but play such important parts of each track.


TAJ, the astral journey, jazzuality


“Do you see what you’ve been missin’?” that’s rapped Tim De Cotta on “Taj Yo’self” in a way sends us a message that their brews offer many interesting stuffs that we might haven’t heard so much lately. What’s make it cooler that there are only three players to carry heavy concept like this. From Singapore comes a small package of fusion with enough dose to make the listeners stoned. TAJ’s “The Astral Journey EP” ignites jazz’s cross-generation appeal in Singapore. Fine works of art from Tim, Audrey and JR (TAJ) should be acknowledged and appreciated.

You can pre-order the EP at one of these links:

And find/interact with them on:

Give a try and find out what you’ve been missin’.

TAJ are:
Tim De Cotta (Bass/ Vocals)
Audrey Tengkey (Piano, Keys and Synth)
Teo Jia Rong (Drums)

1. Taj Yo’self (feat. Eric Foenander)
2. Old Town Mofo
3. 7dB
4. The Astral Journey
5. Daydream (feat. Kaye)
6. Daydream (Cosa Nostra Remix)
7. Taj Yo’self (Jaël Remix)

All track written and produced by TAJ
Cosa Nostra remix of Daydreams by Kaye and Funk Bast*rd
Jaël remix of Taj Yo’self by Giovanni Jaël Jano-Fatbinan.
Artwork by The Town Jeweller
Text by RAH




Artist: Rachel Guerzo
Album: Sejati
Released Date : end of 2013

Speaking through her honesty and singing in her sentimental range, Rachel Guerzo tames the originals like the rain tames the wildfire.

Rachel Guerzo is the granddaughter of Malaysia’s  legendary pianist, Alfonso Soliano  and started her singing career right after school, doing backup vocals for Salamiah Hassan. Shortly after, she went to pursue her music studies in Australia.

This singer who is of Filipino descent, is active in the jazz circuit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She doesn’t take her talent for granted and gives her utmost commitment for every of her shows. She was given the opportunity to perform at the prestigious Dewan Filharmonik Petronas to perform songs from her first album  “Just Friends” was released in 2010. Now, she is back with grace, giving us her latest work, her second album.

rachel guerzo


“Sejati” which means “Eternal” in Malay  is an album with 8 cuts,  comprises of mainly rearrangements of heart hitting love songs that was popular sometime in the late 80s, early 90s. Accompanying her are musicians Ruslan Imam on bass, Steve Nanda on drums, Jordan Rivers on guitars  and Ben Tio.

The first track, “Jerat” which was made popular by Indonesian star Harvey Malaiholo is being injected with a piano introduction as well as nice warm percussions, followed by the second track, “Dia”. “Dia” tells a story of how a girl wishes to be noticed by the guy that she has a crush on. The original was done by Indonesian Vina Panduwinata but in Malaysia Sheila Majid popularized that song. Indonesian songstress Reza did a cover of it too.

Third track is “Kau Pergi Jua” and then comes “Pelangi” and “Sabar Menanti”. The title track “Sejati”, as many of us can recall is a rock ballad sung by heavyweight Awie, when he was in a band called Wings. It became so famous that everytime you enter a karaoke joint, you’ll be sure to hear a glimpse of it. This version is much more seductive and more reflective as the whole song is about an unrequited love.


rachel guerzo


Next is the tribute to Sudirman – Malaysian famous singer and songwriter – done in a very classy way, simple  medley form, where there’s “Merisik Khabar” to “Salam Terakhir” . Lastly, there’s “Love Remains” which was sung and composed by Rachel carries a floating melody. Sweet lyrics that are easy to sing along to, gives this album a nice wrap and also a memorable one.

Essentially, this album puts you in the love zone and all that mushiness that encircles it and when Rachel claims “listen with your heart and you will hear mine”, she wasn’t kidding.

Kau Pergi Jua
Sabar Menanti
Sudirman Medley
Love Remains

Reviewed by: Naj Frusciante
Music journalist,  works for a radio station and part of a clothing line called  The Swagger Salon

*Photos credit to No Black Tie and Halim Saidi




Artist : Mahesa Santoso
Album : iPlay
Released Date : 2013
Label: MIX Pro

It’s always great to see a talent emerges early especially in jazz, one of the most influential genres that needs proper skill when playing it. It’s great having them play in the real squared circle and noticing their steps further in the recordings will be another great one too. There are a lot of things to consider in creating an album and it’s not an easy task for most of the players. Let’s now focus on drums, instruments that, for many, are mainly used for keeping the beat during a song and even dance. Some questions may arise. What do drummers have in mind when composing songs for an album? Do they only deal with the beat or also work on the melody like the way players do with melodic instruments? Is it necessary to have a lot of solo drummings in each song? Is it a must to make the listeners aware that the album belongs to the drummer? From the recordings of many great jazz drummers, we can see that it doesn’t always have to be like that. Quoting what Idang Rasjidi says, “What’s important is to play well. No need to overdo or show-off, and when drummers actually have the solo drum, they have to be able to ‘sing’ through the beat to fit the song.” To play well, to make good songs that can entertain the listeners. Isn’t that the most important thing? The young drummer Mahesa Santoso seems to root himself in it, as he embraces this philosophy in his newest solo album, “Mahesa meets Idang Rasjidi : iPlay.”


Perhaps you have ever heard the name of this boy who resides in Jogjakarta. We mentioned him when we reviewed his group Rekoneko’s debut album “Moonlight Dance” 3 years ago ( But in case you forget, let’s take a quick look of his resume. Mahesa has bagged many awards since 2003, that is when he was still 8 years old. The Best New Talent for Jazz Goes to Campus 2005, winning the first prize of Yamaha Student Competition: Solo Junior Local, First Winner of Drum competition Yamaha Student Contest 2007 in Surabaya, The Best Drum Senior II Gilang Ramadhan Studio Drummer 2008 (Cental Java and Yogyakarta) and The Best Drummer of Jazz Fusion Music Competition 2010 (Semarang) are just a few of his achievements. Since he was a kid he has played with many older jazz musicians to legends including Idang Rasjidi, Benny Mustafa, Luluk Purwanto and The Helsdingen Trio, A.S Mates and Andien. He is a certified drummer up to the Advanced III level, a jury in some competitions and now also as a drum instructor. It’s remarkable to see a teenage boy could already do so much in his musical career. He possesses more then enough skill to produce nice beat and rhythm. In his hands, drum feels alive. While many of the teenagers around his age still find it difficult to control their emotions, Mahesa can already do it. He knows when to play cool, soft, smooth, steady, subtle and when he can roar wild and ferocious with his equipment.  Rising early will also give him benefit since he still has many-many years ahead to improve, upgrade and enhance himself. Don’t be surprised if we see him as one of the all-time greatest drummers of Indonesia and being noticed as the brilliant one in the world.

In this album he brings Idang Rasjidi not only as his ‘crime’ partner during the play, but also as a partner in composing and other creating process, he’s  a music director and mentor. Mahesa met Idang for the first time when he won the Best New Talent for Jazz Goes to Campus 2005. From that moment, he met and played with him several times such as in Pekalongan at Idang Rasjidi’s workshop in 2007 and has been given a private workshop at home. Along with his family, he has visited Idang’s home in Bogor too.




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: 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.


Artist : Hristo Vitchev & Weber Iago
Album :
Released Date :
Label :
First Orbit Sounds Music

The connection between guitar and piano has been established for years not only in the classical world but also in jazz. Take a look at the tremendous collaborations of Bill Evans/Jim Hall, Bill Mays/Ed Bickert and Pat Martino/Gil Goldstein as examples, you can definitely find out that something magical can be created when these two instruments collide. The beauty of this bond is still brought by some of the maestros like guitarist Hristo Vitchev and pianist Weber Iago until today. Three years ago they started to open up the union resulted in one lovely package of beautiful jazz harmony with “The Secrets of an Angel”. Last February 2012 they were back again by presenting their second collaborative album where the harmony now feels deeper and tighter than ever, this time it’s called “Heartmony”.


Since the composition only relies on two instrumental, both players have to be connected in some certain (deeper) levels in order to bring something special, rich in harmony. That’s not a problem for Vitchev and Iago, since their friendship has grown and blossomed in a very special way. “I think this is directly reflected in music… it’s like having a conversation with your best friend.” said Vitchev to us. They are like brothers and have been working together throughout those years as well. For Vitchev, Heartmony continues his role as a leader after “Song For Messambria” (2009) in quartet, “The Secrets of an Angel” (2009) in duo and “The Perperikon Suite” (2011) in quintet formation.

For Heartmony, Vitchev wished to explore new territories from the beginning. If you listen to any of his compositions, you’ll realize how much he’s been into harmony. Being an artist who stands in between music and painting enables him to present something audibly beautiful. While his ideas towards harmony and beauty are limitless, he can somehow bring hundreds or even thousands of emotions and memories in simple drops of notes that can produce divine effects to reach one’s heart and soul. From this point he decided to take one step further which is slightly different than before, compositionally speaking. “All starts by me sitting on the piano and exploring the sound of a single chord. Then when my heart told me it was ready and wanted to move to a new place, I started exploring the possibilities and found the new sound and motion.” he said. In other word, what Vitchev tried to explain is that he wanted to loosen up, away from all the music theory and compositional concepts that he used in the past. More than ever, he embraces a very human and emotional approach by relying on his heart and ears. That’s where the name Heartmony appeared, the harmony and balance of the heart.

On the other side does Weber Ribeiro Drummond stand better known as Weber Iago. Give a minute to listen to him, you’ll find out that he’s extremely talented and amazing in many different ways. He never intends to lock himself inside any small box of genre. Instead he loves more to let his fingers dance freely above the keys, producing streams of melody running like a river. Often during the fingers dance he let out Jazz, New Age, Brazilian and Classical, also inspired by countless sources of music around the world, and the combination between them, flawlessly and spontaneously. He’s capable of doing the wild piano dance as well as peaceful or even spiritually meaningful melodies at the most artistic way. With all the uniqueness he possesses in him, no wonder his friends like to call him as ‘The Amazonian’.


Artist : The Brag Pack
Album : Just Braggin’
Released : February, 2012
Label : Stankoffa Music

If you’re fanatic to jazz, what would you like to have most from it? Is it the manic explorations, glittery improvisations, the challenging, unthinkable and unpredictable moves, or the music with free spirit? Is it the bursting, vibrant colors of jazz, the rhythmical path or the blue notes? Or maybe it’s simply just the swing and bebop? Whatever your interest is, here’s a very strong album that will meet your satisfaction. Came all the way from Netherlands, The Brag Pack is ready to take you into a wondrous jazz journey.


The Brag Pack comprises of multi-national talents who started their bond as friends when living in Amsterdam. That includes a shining young star from our own land Sri “Aga” Hanuraga who has 10 magic fingers that can do the wizardous dance over the keys. Besides Aga, the group has Hungarian Dániel Mester (saxes), German Paul Rutschka (electric bass) and Roald Becher from Holland (drums). We are proud to have Aga in this band, but it was Paul Rutschka who actually formed the band. “He is a guy with exceptional musical vision who knew for sure what kind of players would fit the band” said Aga. Paul established the band in early 2011 but the history actually started way back then in 2005 when they got together for the very first time while studying at the Faculty of Jazz at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. Later they teamed up with Dániel who arrived in Amsterdam in 2009 for taking a Master level. Not long after the group got assembled, they released a 5 track demo EP in May 2011, but only two demo songs were included in the album (Paul’s arrangement “Drive By” and Aga’s “Blues for McCoy”).

It isn’t difficult for them to build their visionary concept since they have been friends for years. But here comes the interesting part of it. When you listen to the album, you’ll notice many flavors fused in together, wrapped by the freedom and intention as one to find a new musical land. “We are the kind of cats who get bored easily.” said Aga. That should be able to explain how they can use the composition as the vehicle for musical exploration to produce different sounds. Another thing that we should know is that the group has various different backgrounds. Paul and Roald had a funk, soul and hip hop background, Paul was even a rapper some years ago, Dániel got a rock and classical music background and Aga used to play progressive rock music. It could be an obstacle for others to find their finest blend as a team but not for The Brag Pack. Besides as closed friends, they also have similar approaches to music.


It took only a year for them to launch their debut album. The making itself was pure fun. There was no time limit in completing the album since the studio where they recorded belongs to Paul. “Nobody around, just the band and the music… and of course good food..” recalled Aga. What’s interesting is that often their rehearsals happened at hang out places like bar, apartment or even on the bus. They just talked about it, but then when they actually played it, everything just fell into place. Still with this kind of calm ambience they only needed 4 recording days and 2 months of production, mixing and mastering. Just as how the graphic design on the cover goes, the band now has placed their finger prints on the music industry, not only in Amsterdam but also throughout Europe and every other corner of the globe, all the way to Indonesia.


Album: Audiophile Female Vocal – Voices of Love
Artists: Various
Released Date: 2012
Label: Evosound

Would you fancy a crystal clear sound with pretty female voices in one package? “Voice of Love” compilation album is a right choice to brighten your day. Fifteen singers, specialist for audiophile recording will offer you a comfortable atmosphere wherever you are. We all know, an audiophile CD can produce high quality sound that similar to live music performance, as if they are singing right beside you. To enjoy its clarity at best you should play the CD in high-end audio stereo set or preferential playback components like turntables, amplifiers, electrostatic speakers, and other equipments. Then, just a moment you’ll find the distinction in quality with ordinary CD.

Truthfully, an audiophile is someone who’s able to recognize the good or even the perfect sound. And what is a good sound? It’s the sound that we hear directly from the source without going through an electronic process. However, CD is an optical disc used to store digital data. So, if we listen to it, we have to understand the factors that determine the quality of sound reproduced by the electronic device. Ethan Winer, an expert on music technology said that, “Four audio parameters that define everything needed to assess high-quality audio reproduction are frequency response, distortion, noise, and time-based errors.” Master those four points, then you’ll become an audiophile.

We can call an audiophile is a “purist”, a person who has deep concern about the purity of the original song without any “polish” in it. The sound quality of recordings is the main thing to gain the high level of result. Audiophiles are not related to the certain type of music, as long as the sound is great. But people usually find classic and jazz, because both contain more various dynamic range than pop or rock.


So here we have a label based in Hong Kong named Evosound who’s always concern of the quality of recording at its finest. As a company which stands at the forefront of the new generation ’boutique’ music labels, they always intend to bring you the best music from everywhere, even from the furthest corners of the world if they have to. With that in mind, a very beautiful CD recorded in the finest way consisting love songs from some of the most beautiful female voices in the world today was released not long ago called “Audiophile Female Vocal : Voices of Love”. We’ll see who are the ‘nightingales’ featured in this album, but first let’s see a wonderful fact: Voices of Love CD currently stands in Hong Kong Top 10 albums, even more it now enters the daily and single weekly chart Top 100 in Europe and USA. This great news wouldn’t actually surprise you if you listen throughout the album.


Artist : Dewa Budjana
Album : Dawai in Paradise
Released : December 2011
Label : Demajors Independent Music Industry

Bali has been worldwide known as one of the most beautiful islands in Indonesia. In other name, this is Land of Gods which is surrounded by sunny beaches, Hindu temples, or Balinese rice paddy sites in Ubud area and Pupuan. Meanwhile, Bali is also famous for its culture and art with strong influence from Hindu spirit and its philosophy. As the result, most Balinese artists pour their talents in painting, sculpture, literature, and even music. Among all these famous Balinese artists, there is one talented guitarist named Dewa Budjana.

Aside from his fame as guitarist in GIGI Band, Budjana already has long journey in his career; both in solo and other well-remembered groups, some of them are still exist until now. His musical history began after he bought his first guitar at the age of eleven and learned guitar by himself. He finally had a chance to explore guitar more after he moved to Surabaya, where he took a classic guitar class, and formed his first band, Squirrel. At that time he was still a high school student.

Budjana’s lifework expanded after he moved to Jakarta and met Jack Lesmana. Jack taught him about jazz and introduced him to other musicians. Budjana started becoming a session player before he joined Spirit Band in 1987 and released 2 albums. He left the band to join Indra Lesmana’s JAVAJAZZ and released ‘Bulan di Asia’ album in 1993. In 1994, along with Armand Maulana, Aria Baron, Thomas Ramdhan, and Ronald Fristianto, he formed the band GIGI and it aimed its famous. Today it stands as one of the most famous rock bands in Indonesia.  While JAVAJAZZ recently made its return in Red White Jazz Lounge (read the report from that event here), we have to mention another group where he has involved, Trisum. Here, he collaborates with two other guitar maestros, Tohpati and Balawan and surprised people with their explorative creation. Trisum so far has made two albums, ‘1st Edition’ and ‘Five in One’. This March Trisum will come back to the Java Jazz Festival 2012 and that is certainly worth to wait. Besides these groups, Dewa Budjana also has a successful solo career since 1998.

Endways year 2011, we got a pleasant surprise knowing that Dewa Budjana finally launched his new solo album, “Dawai in Paradise”. Dawai in Paradise (Dawai means String in English) is his fifth album after ‘Nusa Damai’ (1998), ‘Gitarku’ (2000), ‘Samsara’ (2003), and ‘Home’ (2005). In this album which was produced independently we can hear 3 of his new songs (“Gangga”, “Masa Kecil” and “Dawaiku”) plus compilation of his compositions from the previous albums. The reason of placing selections of his previous tracks was explained by Budjana as “My previous albums are no longer available, so I picked each two songs from them and added 3 new songs that have never been released into album yet. Some of these compositions were recorded live and the others reinterpreted again in studio recording.” he said.  A very artistic cover art gives more nuances into this album with interesting title. “I named the album “Dawai in Paradise” as interpretation of my passion for guitar. It is my great hope that these Dawai can sound like Paradise on earth.” he says.


What’s on your mind when someone talking to you about French jazz music? Instantly you might feel the air, the bustling downtowns, the people, all fused into a single unbroken string. It’s an irresistible fact that jazz is always an appropriate element to be mixed up with traditional music creating some unusual and explorative tunes. Suddenly your wild delusion will be drifted away to a typical, familiar French atmosphere while sitting in a small cafe, looking out through the window alone, and savoring a piece of Chausson aux pommes and a cup of tea. Probably you’ll visualize crossing Millau Viaduct in southern France with clouds around you, or you’re just walking in large vineyards in Burgundy. That’s how wondrous the music can be, being able to be a potent sorcery for our minds. Moving our moods from sorrowful into happiness will take us back to some memorable occurrences, and magically it can fly us to places that we’ve never even been there before. And France seems right in the eyes when listening to “Sup Dude” album by Jacques Pellarin Quartet. Here it is; a brilliant package of affluent colors. We’ll find Latin sounds of samba, tango, the beauty of smooth jazz, reggae, energetic funk and Celtic rock, but brightly it still has a deep scent of France.

Let’s get back few years ago. the virtuoso accordionist and superb composer Jacques Pellarin formed an acoustic trio in 2008 with Diego Fano on saxophone and Yann Pajean on Percussions. A year later in 2009, they spawned an album entitled “Sound of Philadelphia” which sent American Philly soul into romantic side of Paris. Then In 2010 “Karenita” was born. It’s like a “sailboat” album, mainly speaks about the South Seas, describing their adventurous journey to Latin music and French cinema in a complete artistic composition. Jacques Pellarin continued his musical trip in 2011. He made a significant diversity by bringing an electric bass player, Renaud Bourquard into the group to raise more modern ornaments and extend the trio into Jacques Pellarin Quartet.  (For live concert Franck Detraz is taking over Renaud’s position as the bassist). Pellarin said, “In Sup Dude, the twist was to hire a studio bassist, trained electro-pop, who likes to use the effects without necessarily abusing it.” Yes, Renaud Bourquard really filled a steady pulse and harmony, affiliated with the three other messieurs. A piece of Renaud’s work with Jacques and his trio can be found in the previous album Karenita, when he joined the trio for the last song titled “Latin Blues”. Now he officially became the member and turned the group into Quartet. Together they walked up the musical stairs and attained a jazztronica style as their salient point.

The expression “Sup Dude” certainly arouses our curiosity. Pellarin recalled that there was an unforgettable moment when their acoustic trio had a meeting at a studio in New Jersey during the recording for “Sound of Philadelphia” in 2008 with the producer/composer Chris Orazi. He taught Pellarin about an American term to greet someone new, and that was “What’s up dude”. And it became “Sup Dude” for Pellarin’s accent. That’s what they took as the title for this album, something feels funny yet unique. That memory was poured into a glass of melodies, served chilled to all music lovers over the world, notably for anyone who is searching for the preponderance of melodic themes without ignoring the free improvisations.

As a musician who grew up through learning classical and traditional music, Pellarin just constructed an experimental building of electronica framework. He expanded a multitude of sound effects and finally strengthens the whole structure. He said, “It’s far from over. I began a new era with this quartet!” It tastes like Raclette, a special melted cheese with some boiled Bintje or Charlotte potatoes, almost similar with cheese fondue in the winter. Raclette has traditional ingredients but really palatable with various additives. You can add any vegetable, herbs de provence, apple, bacon, or eat just like that. So does Pellarin’s music. Those modern contents will enrich the flavor without relieving the basic pattern. It’s a right dish for your appetite!


Artist : Martin Denev Meets Colonel Red & Other Survivors
Album :Bamness
Released : December 2011
Label : Demajors Independent Music Industry

Have you ever imagine listening up to jazz tunes in a club? That is a good idea if you are a jazz freak and also a night clubber. Now, easy for you guys to enjoy two contrast sensations at the same time. Technology always affects the emergence of new types of music. Jazz not only can be found in bars or lounges; it spreads out on the dance floor from every DJ set. People often call it nu jazz. Nu jazz scoops from forging free improvisation of jazz with live instruments into digital electronic zone. It is a combination of many musical components, such as soul, funk, electronic dance music, and jazz for sure. Roots of traditional Jazz and modern electronic music uniquely create multitude of styles. It depends on the artists to explore lots of experimental sounds and spacious concept. Those stuffs can consist of broken rhythms, atonal harmonies, and improvised melody. In nightclub area, nu jazz has very thick electronic dance music vibes. It is a music which is produced principally for filling the need of a circle that concentrates on dance-based entertainment. By using computers and synthesizers, it usually displays percussive music scenes. Disco, techno, hip hop, and house music, all of them in one box to accompany people who search for a delightful dancing party.

Martin Denev is well aware and he takes control of this modern musical texture by his hands. We knew him already as a Bulgarian musician who has traveled the world with his creativity. He had lived in various cities in the world and now he stays in Bali, Indonesia. He expanded his musical knowledge in Rotterdam, Holland to Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA, then to Santiago de Cuba with classical piano education background. He improved his skill brightly and experienced on many stages and wide different music. Jazz, hip hop, latin, and dance are successfully carried by his nimble fingers. Remembering his first solo album “Stolen Blessings”, he came back with the second one, “Martin Denev Meets Colonel Red & Other Survivors – Bamness” on Demajors independent label. We had an interview with him in his official album launching at Portico under Tabac JazzCoTheQue about this album. (Read the full length interview here: He continued a great cooperate with Colonel Red, even gave him wider space to contribute. Jazztronica is still being carried on, yet this album has many different things to offer, as Martin said: “It is like the prolongation of a line. More groove… That is what my preference for now. I tried to emphasize the beat and the groove. Sound wise it’s different too. It’s more club oriented.” So that is the path that Denev and his partner in crime, Colonel Red, took for this second album. By listening to “Bamness”, we can find their firm and private connection as two very close friends. They seem have comprehensive desire in music and understand each other musical taste. That is why both of them keep moving forward in collaborating. And the result is magnificent.