Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Jazz Event Report




Serambi Jazz hasn’t visited Bandung for quite some times. So now that the program landed again in the Parahyangan soil, the jazz aficionados should be excited. It was a 5 star quality concert with very interesting collaboration between a group who’s been placing its feet on Berlin and New York, and two of the best Indonesian musicians from younger generation. Representing Europe is a group formed more than a decade ago in New York, Benny Lackner Trio. This trio is led by the German-American pianist Benny Lackner, who’s been known as one of the most successful students of Brad Mehldau.

The trio came for an Asia, Australia and New Zealand tour in order to promote their 5th album, “Sisikiyou” which was recorded at the famous Jazzanova Studio in Berlin. For this tour Benny Lackner is accompanied by drummer Matthieu Chazarenc and bassist Paul Philipp Kleber. Speaking of Paul, we have been wowed by his mastery play last year when he came with Kai Brückner for a mind-bending encounter with Riza Arshad Project on April 2013. If this trio is already stunning, the collaboration with two of considerably young but highly skilled musicians got their master degrees in Netherlands: Johanes Radianto (guitar) and Adra Karim (keyboard/B3 organ).



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We attended the Bandung gig on October 15, 2014 which took place at the historical hall of ITB, the Aula Barat (West Hall). There were lots of things going down in this particular spot in the 70’s when it comes to the history of jazz in Bandung. So placing such classy concert like this in this building created some kind of different atmosphere to the already fully spirited one.

The concert started right after the welcome speech from ITB, Mrs Sulastri and Riza Arshad. Lackner began with glittery solo piano as the opening of soft, smooth with David Bowie’s “Cygnet Committe.” Adra Karim joined them shortly after to play “Pianohaus”, a song listed in their 2012 album, “Chacuma”. The beauty of free jazz shone from them where both piano and keyboard collided yet they went on harmoniously.



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Let’s get a little bit deeper with Benny Lackner Trio. This group was build under a standard jazz trio formation, but their concept is anything but typical. Their music is like the combination of hard grooving beats, slow, atmospheric sounds and modern jazz. The balance of the composed music and improvisation contains a deep respect for the Jazz tradition but at the same time bringing out contemporary elements of modern music which can be inspired by Radiohead as well as harmonic language inspired by composers such as Brahms and Chopin and Keith Jarrett. You can only imagine the wideness of their coverage musical area.

In a way, you can say that their music resonances the expressive jazz. They decorate their music with slight electronic that spiced the acoustic sound with subtle electronics by utilizing organ like  the Nord that’s being used in this concert. The team marched on playing totally collective with each member plays an equal role inside. Modern, groovy beating rhythm, artistic and in their veins, you can find the fine electrocoustic feel.



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So far they had formed a quartet at the West Hall of ITB.  Johanes Radianto expanded the formation to quintet. “Name Dropper” arrived in fair fusion style. They went dreamy in the next song, not too long but enough to share a lot of feelings. Benny and Paul left the stage and a new organ trio was formed between Adra, Johanes and Matthieu. A warm swingin’ straightahead became a base for them to play around. That include, a cool 8-bar trading.

Lackner and Kleber came back again to play a song from their new album titled “Heartracer”. Heartbeating, heartpounding, and certainly, heartracing that was kept intense and sharp.

“A Park” brought them back to the beautifully build melodical structure. Next they played Adra’s composition titled “It Hurts A Bit” that created the wonderland atmosphere.


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The unconventional interpretation of some diverse contemporary works of artists ranging from Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Björk, Feast to David Bowie has won more and more crowds everywhere they landed. But that’s not all, since they can fly their wings to reach wider lands by making surprisingly insightful arrangements of Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk and the Gershwins. and of course Benny’s former private mentor Brad Mehldau who openly stated his compliment to Benny.

The variation and combination between interesting covers and originals can be found in their collections like “Not the Same” (2003), “Sign of the Times” (2006), “Pilgrim” (2007) and “Cachuma” (2012). In the brand-new 5th album “Sisikiyou” they continue to feature a modern, groove-oriented sound with electronic embellishments. Funky, but full with twisting techniques that can only be done by highly skilled players like these lads.




We scored another streak. After the crowded premiere edition, the Braga Jazz Walk #02 once again draws good number of audience. Held in the mall located at the historical Braga street named Braga City Walk, this second edition served something quite different than the menu on the previous one. This time it was about pop jazz, soul, and then the rare jazz flavored reggae with some blues, rock and pop delights. We believe by bringing in different styles we could introduce the rich variety of jazz towards the society as well as showing that jazz is indeed a genre that could fit everyone’s ears. Another important mission to accomplish is to make Braga City Walk a jazz spot/destination in Bandung. With the solid cooperation between us, the venue Braga City Walk and the kind-hearted music school KPH Music who provides the instruments and sounds plus the support of musicians in Bandung and the jazz fans who have been with us, we know we can make it happen.


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The event started 15 minutes after 7:00 pm with a band of Maranatha University student, Imagodeo. Since Imagodeo shows the intention to reflect the image of God in their nature, this band wishes to luminate it through their music and performance. This band is focusing on ‘Pop Soul’ by placing quality and harmony up front. The personnels are Andhika Caesar Sesa (Dhika) on vocal, Yohansa Ambarita (Yoan) on electric guitar, Dennise Natasha Inadea Mata Hine (Dea) on keyboard, Janoko Dewanto (Ojan) on bass, Engelberth Fredrick Watory (Engel) on acoustic guitar and Gerids Yanri Yulius on drums.

RAN & Tulus’ “Aku Bisa” was their first song that directly followed by Earth Wind and Fire’s “September”. After the happy groove they turned to ballad, this time with a big hit from Brian McKnight, “Back at One”. A song from Tulus’ second album titled “Satu Hari di Bulan Juni” with a piece of “When a Man Loves a Woman” being blended in the middle. Dewi ‘Dee’ Lestari’s “Malaikat Juga Tahu” which also sang by Glenn Fredly was the next choice. In this song Dhika showed everyone his deep, soulful vocal quality that reminds us of Glenn. Dhika has the kind of voice that perfectly suits the trend in our music industry today. It was beautiful, but they didn’t want to end their session in mellow tune, so they took everyone for one last joyride with Slank’s “Kamu Harus Pulang”.


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We have planned to bring them in for some months, but only until now we could find the time to have them for real. Well known songs, nicely executed with happy moods. This band would perfectly fit to run around the field of blues, jazz, groove, doo woop, traditional pop, soul, RnB and everything in between. An entertaining band it is. Well done, Imagodeo, keep reflecting the image of God in anything you do, especially in music!



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The second session was taken by a band, still two months old named Rizki Jonathan Project. This group is led by a young male singer Rizki Jonathan, whose vocal character has gentle yet strong, bluesy, soulful and husky that in a way reminds us of Sandhy Sondoro. He came to our event so often, almost in every edition and consistently joined the jam session. Since he already established a group, it’s about time to feature him up in the showcase session.




This year’s PIM Jazz Festival  was successfully held on Monday, September 28, 2014 at Wing Atrium of Palembang Indah Mall. Made by the cooperation between PIM-Palembang Indah Mall, Trijaya 87.6 FM, Palembang Jazz Community (Pal Jazz Com) and The Faculty of Computer Science of Sriwijaya University (Fasilkom UNSRI), the festival managed to grab the public attention in Palembang city as well as the musicians.

The event started early at 10 am in the morning with Festival Band Technology Euphoria. “This Festival is followed by no less than 25 bands with the hope to accomodate the creativity of young musicians in Palembang”, said Siti, the Chairman of Festival Band. Meanwhile, Adji from Trijaya 87.6 FM shared his happiness too. “This event become a solid proof that the jazz virus has indeed spread. More and more youngsters are into jazz in Palembang today.” Palembang Jazz Community or Pal Jazz Com is always consistent in searching young talents and provide enough space for them to  explore, as told by the head, Zaelan Hanani.

Bands from Pal Jazz Com were in line after that. Teguh Project was the first band. With the formation of Vinsensius Brian Jordi (keyboard, backing vocal),Rieo Rizky Permana Putra (guitar, backing vocal), Nickodemus Tethool (drums), Surya Adi Putra (bass) and three vocalists: Bayu Valerinoya, Ade Irma Suryani and Aldhita Rizky, they played 4 songs such as “Denganmu”, “Let’s Fall in Love”, “All of Me” and “Moving On”. This soon followed by Hei that chose fusion as their forte. Hei stands as the initial of the members: Hendra (drums), Edo (piano) and Ian (bass). The songs were “Smiling Faces”, “Friend & Stranger” and “Flying East”.


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The attractive performance was given by EMS Creative Percussion. Ical, Arif, Dhio and Irvan are the players behind this group from Entertainment Music School. They combined the harmonious sound of percussion with variety of beating technique and attractive arrangements.


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After that, Mr Jack John, a group of six with two vocalists represented songs in blues color. Staccato was next, comprises of Andre Martadinata (vocal), Roby (drums), Riski (guitar), Agung (bass) and Icha (keyboard). They entertained the audience with 3 songs: “Spend the Night”, “Celebrate” and “Rame-Rame”.

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The special guest Bintang Indrianto Trio was the final show. In this trio, senior bassist Bintang Indrianto brought two compatriotes: Danny Chasmala (guitar) and Muhammad Iqbal (drums). Bintang Indrianto Trio served live performance and music clinic altogether in one package. Nutricious education was given, yet informal and entertaining.



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The clinic part started with a brief explanation of setting up the instruments. Bintang Indrianto asked the audience and clinic participants especially bass, guitar and drums players to approached the stage so they could establish an intense communication. There were many interesting questions given to them, all were answered in detail by Bintang, Denny and Iqbal. Bintang emphasized on the importance of finding the right tone before one starts playing the instrument. What’s cool is this: Bintang directly invited those who asked questions to step up the stage and then tried it under their guidance.

Speaking of performance, Bintang Indrianto took a song highly popular in the early 80’s titled “Madu & Racun” in compelling rearrangement. He really showed his class as one of the all-time best Indonesian bassists through variety of techniques and his creativity of making unique sounds appear from his play. They also played a unique composition which he will include in the trio’s upcoming new album, “Kendang Kribow”. In the end, Bintang Indrianto Trio asked the local musicians to play together in an open jam session.

Based on the result, this event will continue to run for more years to come. Intan, the promotional manager of PIM said that PIM will always give different jazz entertainment plus music clinic as a part of responsibility to support the local musicians. With this we can hope to see more jazz players to emerge from Palembang as well as watching the tremendous growth of jazz in this particular side of Indonesia. Keep jazzin’ Palembang!

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The article’s written by: Eko Adji
Translated into English by: Riandy Kurniawan
Photographer: Djoean Kellij (except the header, provided by Eko Adji)


Braga Jazz Walk 01


We have held Terraz Jazz for 11 straight editions. Actually it ran very well, but apparently the venue Festival Citylink suddenly closed its door and no longer wish to support the event for whatever reason. So be it. But since we carry such important mission to provide a home for musicians (especially the young ones in Bandung), a place where they can practice, gain experience and of course have fun, we just got to find a new ground.

Thank God we didn’t have to wait too long. The Braga City Walk, a mall located in the historical Braga street understood our mission and agreed to support. Being held in a new venue, this event got a new name too: Braga Jazz Walk. This new place should be easier to access since it’s located right at the heart of Bandung. KPH Music provides the instruments and sounds. All set. We look forward to have a solid cooperation and aim for a better future.


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We figured out that the event was held exactly on Bandung’s 204th Anniversary. It was totally coincidence, but we hope this to be a good sign.  What make us proud is that the event was a huge success. We got wonderful happening crowds that gave lots of applauses and cheers to the performers. Many musicians, many mall-goers and some audience from the Fave Hotel were enjoying the show too. Look at the photo above. We feel really, really happy with that scene.


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What did we have here in this new chapter? Three groups were participating happily: Two bands and one project plus a happening jam session as usual. The first performance was set for Duolid, a project belong to Andre Mangunsong, the founder of KPH Music and the soulful powerhouse Agis Kania. But since Agis fell ill and had to rest, the stage was given to Duovali. Still a duo, but it was a vocal-guitar connection with Dian and Yuga.

It turned out to be a very nice substitute and worked really well as the first performance of Braga Jazz Walk. Presented intimate in minimalistic concept, Yuga and Dian pinned some of the famous soulful RnB renditions like Brian McKnight’s “Another You”, The Commodores’ “Thank You”, also the current radio hit Magic!’s “Rude” and Renee Olstead’s song, “A Love That Will Last”.


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When we heard about Duolid as a project of Andre and Agis, we knew it’d be magic. It was unfortunate that Agis couldn’t come, but hey, we got a sweet surprise. Dian shone bright with a top notch RnB singing voice and Yuga is indeed a stylish guitarist.  What a lovely, intimate start it was. Minimalist yet warm, classy and fancy. Exactly what we needed after fighting the heavy traffic to reach the venue.


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The second band in action was Setim Project. The band is still new but the faces found in the band are familiar to us due to their frequent appearance in our events. The personnels are the students of STiMB (Sekolah Tinggi Musik Bandung/School of Musician) consists of Jerry Gates and Amo Conka (guitars), Reinhard Worran (bass), Andi Pramudito (drums), Billy Geraldy (keyboard) and Budy Prama Dongoran (saxophone).




From 2009 Serambi Jazz has been providing series of quality concerts in Jakarta that involve both great local talents and European artists, mostly from Germany. This event belongs to Goethe-Institut Indonesien with Riza Arshad stands as the curator got so many loyal fans in no time, and said to be one of the most successful overseas programs of Goethe. Riza once said that this event was made as an alternative and complement the already existed events. But what this program brings is more than just that. For example, thanks to Serambi Jazz, the mutual friendship between these two great nations has been re-established through music as one of the art forms-jazz to be exact. The artists who show high commitment to jazz got a good spot to perform in front of the jazz aficionados in Jakarta. Later Serambi Jazz extended its service to reach other cities like Bandung, the capital of West Java and then stretched further to meet Yogyakarta and Surabaya. And that’s a good move, since those cities have many jazz fans too that are thirsty for a high quality event. Serambi Jazz definitely can quench that thirst.

Yogyakarta just got their wish two last July with Duo Project representing Serambi Jazz. Then two months later Surabaya got the chance. The Goethe Institut and Wisma Jerman Surabaya (Goethe-Centre/Goethe-Zentrum Surabaya) proudly presented a stunning band with unique concept, the one that we love to mention as one of the most dynamic bands in terms of musicality, variation and formation: SKETSA. This Serambi Jazz event took place at Ciputra Hall, Performing Arts Centre, Sekolah Ciputra, Puri Widya Kencana, Citraland, Surabaya with good amount of crowds.

Good amount of crowds? Yes. Let’s see some facts. The location of the venue is quite far from central Surabaya, and there were many events ran at the same time. But still, many jazz lovers spent time to be there watching the cool acoustic group from Jakarta.


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Serving the opening act was a jazz fusion band from Surabaya named Deny and the Add. Under quintet formation the band released the joy of funky jazz fusion into the atmosphere. After that, madame Birgit Steffan, the Director of Wisma Jerman Surabaya gave the opening speech. And then the main show started right after.

Gerald Hiras Situmorang and Dimas Wibisana, the dynamic duo of Sketsa took their position on stage. Without further ado, they began sailing with the title track of their second album, “Different Seasons”.


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Sketsa was originally formed as a duo almost a decade ago (in 2005). That’s the core formation. Just like the name says, the way they play music is like two painters painting as one. What they ‘paint’ on their ‘canvas’ is an connected discussion or heartfelt dialogue that can be enjoyed by anyone. Both have their own role in creating a masterpiece on the same canvas. Two should already be enough, that’s what we might think. But along the journey Gerald and Dimas have been enjoying the dynamic soundscapes through variety of extensions. Gerald once told us that he always needs varieties to avoid stagnation. Moreover, both of them always love to have richer tones by adding up other instruments than guitar. Who could predict that they would stretch the band from just guitar to ‘crowdier’ sounds involving contrabass, violin, percussion, clarinet, accordion and some vocals in adding up some more aestethic taste? But they have done it. Another important thing to note is that in any formations, Sketsa happily flies higher than genre. They serve rich varieties of sound, from jazz, bossanova, folk, pop and ethnics, not separately but in harmony to create enjoyable sounds that fits the ear of anyone who loves music.

For the second song, they called in one more player, Andreas Arianto Yanuar. From duo to trio, that’s right, but hey, Andreas didn’t play the usual instrument found in normal trio, he played accordion and clarinet. Andreas is not a newcomer in Sketsa at all. He’s been playing with the band since 2010 and participated in “Different Seasons”. Other than being a multi-instrumentalist, Andreas Arianto Yanuar is a well-established music producer, arranger and songwriter. You will find him in other successful bands too such as Andre Harihandoyo and Sonic People for example. As a trio, they played the fast-paced country-ish tune, “Horse Race”.


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For the third song they played “Try Anything”, a composition that told a story of a man who’d do and try anything to win the heart of someone he truly loves. It started with clarinet that soon filled with the harmony of two guitars. This attempt created a sweet, soft nuance yet dynamic. During the concert they loved to throw jokes or making up funny gestures. Talk about the effort of making everyone felt at ease, they did it really, really well. Or maybe, it wasn’t even an effort since everything flew naturally from them.

In the fourth song, Dimas led the audience to clap their hands and used it as the beat. Andreas took his accordion and played “Cousins.” Not only accordion, Andreas also played clarinet in this one. Meanwhile, Dimas kept reminding the audience to provide the beat with their hands. The 5th song “Up and Down” kind of took the audience into a jolly joyride. Sketsa got a huge applause in this one.

What’s interesting is that Gerald took the chance to introduce his newer group called Gerald Situmorang Trio. With this group he recently released an album entitled “Time is the Answer”. More songs came in such as “Kita Tidak Bisa Mengulang Masa Lalu/Namun Ada Masa Depan”, “Anak Bungsu” (the album version is featuring Tohpati), the title track of the first album “Childhood’s Dream”, “Hop Hop” all the way to reach the end with one of their most popular tracks, “Into the Light”.


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Taking Sketsa to Surabaya as the representative of Serambi Jazz was indeed a brilliant decision. This group is filled with experienced young lads that can give warm concert tone. They are explorative and love to spread the wings wide in creating music, yet somehow all pieces are friendly even to common ears. Under the trio formation Sketsa served a very intimate atmosphere. Some songs were melancholy but beautiful, creating the impression of sweet sorrow. “Did you try to close your eyes? I did, and somehow I felt like I was in Paris in the spring time” said one of the audience to us. While the harmonious sounds from two guitars took us into a journey around the globe, accoustically, in crossovers, Andreas’ accordion gave a strong scent of European accoustic scene/scent, just like the musicians you found while streaming along the streets of Paris.

Based on the great, appreciative response given by the crowds, we hope Serambi Jazz to keep Surabaya in the schedule. The good quality concert and players will stimulate and motivate the local musicians to reach their best state. Thank you Sketsa, Serambi Jazz, Goethe Institut and Wisma Jerman Surabaya for a beautiful concert. We loved it! May there be more to come.

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Reporter: Destina Kawanti
Photographer: I Putu Surya KB, Pramadi Wardhana
Editor: Riandy Kurniawan




What a showdown of talents. The team of Tesla Manaf and Gerald Situmorang Trio finally nailed their album showcase called “Duality” in two cities. Last Monday, September 8th, 2014 they successfully hit Indro Hardjodikoro’s Jazz Spot at Rolling Stone Cafe, Jakarta. Before they visit UPH Jakarta next week, on the beautiful but cold night of  September 12, 2014 Bandung got the chance to enjoy the package of these two brilliant young guitarists.

As we know, Tesla Manaf and Gerald Situmorang are young guitarists who have fought for their music since many years ago from one stage to another. The appealing point of this show was how two distinct styles and concepts of music could be cohered and blended harmoniously in one single concert. The collaboration of creating this concert occured since they both need to promote their new album, which, coincidentally or not, is being realeased during close period of time. Gerald and Tesla is around the same age, they have the same passion in music by playing the same instruments. Eventhough they are based in different cities, both of these guitarists have made big impact in Indonesia’s jazz scene. They gave a strong statement that a calling is worth fighting for. Look at how these boys struggle in their early career. But then, look where they are standing now, while they are still considerably that young. It surprised us when they announced this collaborative event, but it does make sense and should happen sooner or later.


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What Gerald brought into this event is his trio, simply called Gerald Situmorang Trio which has just released an album entitled “Time is the Answer”. Gerald started the show with him alone playing a sentimental composition “Natural Thinker”. This composition brought out the sensitive side of us. Actually, Lawang Wangi is a cafe and art space that located in Bandung’s high land. Since the event was set outdoor, a very beautiful scenery of sparkling Bandung’s city lights was the background that naturally made a perfect harmony with the music, especially in night hours.

Before we carry on with this report, let’s take a closer look at Gerald Situmorang first. This man is skillful as a guitarist, great in composing and also ‘restless’, in terms of never stop producing something. He’s been active with variety of bands where each of them has different concept. BAG Trio came out at the first time as a jazz band, then they added more flavor and changed the name into BAG+BEAT with more team-mates and urban sound. He also shaped Hemiola Quartet and of course, his probably most famous band to date, Sketsa. It was born nine years ago, mainly as a guitar-duo concept (that stays until today), a showdown between him and Dimas Wibisana. However since they always love to place more sounds and wish to avoid stagnation, Sketsa’s formation is made flexible. They can appear as a trio, quartet or even bigger with vocals, violin, contrabass, percussion, clarinet and accordion.


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Back to the concert, the second song was “P & L”. He called his team mates to play with, bassist Ankadiov Subran and a drummer Jessilardus Mates. They came out and brought a fun medium to fast beat. Jessilardus Mates was the spotlight on the third song, “Keeps Coming Back”. The syncopative drum beating, the long-duration solo run and cool dynamics made him gain applauses from the crowds. Gerald and Ankadiov gave him comfortable space to show off his ability. The next song was called “Debu” which allowed Ankadiov to set his bomb. Gerald played a pretty catchy melodious jazzy tune in it. “This song is a reminder that we’re all formed of dust, so arrogance should have no place in us.” Gerald said in explaining this song. This reflective song relaxed our minds.




How relevant is a big band today, especially in a far away country from the origin of jazz like Indonesia? It’s far from the current trend, we don’t hear or see it often on TVs or radios, yet you’ll be surprised to see how many audience a big band could get in a concert. This Salamander Big Band‘s 8th Anniversary Concert in Bandung again got huge crowds, at least around 500 people or even more. Many of the audiences had to stand since all seats were taken, and many of them were youngsters. Another huge success for Salamander Big Band. Well prepared, great choice of songs, wonderfully executed, all resulting an epic concert.

Let’s see the case of this highly successful Big Band in Bandung for example, the Salamander Big Band. They don’t make concerts that often, only two to three times a year. But once they make one, it’s always that good or even sensational. For us who have covered their concert since 2008, we have seen tremendous progress of it. They keep the traditional formation of a Big Band like Count Basie’s ensemble, they are absolutely great in swinging, but they can cover more musical horizons too like fusing in some traditionals or going European style. They have served many collaborations with legendary musicians from Europe like Dieter Mack or Thorsten Wollman. Not only have them in concert, but the Salamander Big Band has been fortunate to learn from them as well. This year once again they got the previlege to have it from a legendary Dutchman from The Hague/NL, Mr Ack van Rooyens. Organized by Goethe-Institut Indonesien in corporation with Erasmus Huis, Salamander Big Band’s 8th Annivesary’s served grand in 3 locations: Bandung (Bumi Sangkuriang), Jakarta (Erasmus Huis and GoetheHaus). The program is a part of the initiative “Culture & Development” which was set up by the Goethe-Institut in 2009, with the mission to provide professional qualifications and support the intercultural networks as well as to create cultural and social platforms.


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Maybe you don’t hear the name that often in Indonesia, but Ack van Rooyen is actually one of the most important names in European music scene especially in jazz. Ack van Rooyen was born on New Year’s Day of 1930 and already started playing flugelhorn since he was only 7 years of age. On a trip to US with brother Jerry van Rooyen and Rob Pronk, they heard jazz in New York and were among the first to introduce it to Holland. When he moved to Germany, Ack joined SFB Big Band in Berlin, also the SDR Orchestra in Stuttgart. He toured with Wolfgang Dauner and Albert Mangelsdorff all the way to Asia and South America. He’s also a charter member of United Jazz and Rock Ensemble plus Peter Herbolzheimer’s Rhythm Combination and Brass.

Not many of today’s generation know it, but Ack van Rooyen is closely related to Indonesia. In 1946 when the van Rooyens were members of a big band, interestingly they made music here in Indonesia. It was also here in Indonesia when Ack heard bebop for the first time. According to him, it became one of the most important milestones in his life, something that inspired him for the rest of his life. Speaking more specifically about one of the cities he’s going to visit, Bandung, this capital of West Java was the place where he made the acquaintance of Rob Pronk, the prolific Indonesian-born musician, composer and arranger who was later on working extensively with the siblings. A lot of nostalgia and memory must this be for him, therefore this year’s series of concert tour will also be used as a tribute or to pay respect to brother Jerry van Rooyen and Rob Pronk. A very important tribute to Ack van Rooyen’s life, could be the most important one, and Salamander Big Band is the ensemble for him to go with.


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We came to the Salamander Big Band meets Ack van Rooyen: “A Jazz Life” (8th Anniversary Concert) in Bumi Sangkuriang Bandung on the lovely night of Monday (September 8, 2014). The concert began a few minutes after 7:30 pm and sailed directly after the opening speech from Verena Lehmkuhl,  Coordinator for Culture & Development Southeast Asia. The famous song written by Frank Foster for Count Basie, “Shiny Stockings” was the first choice. The singing pianist Imelda Rosalin took it to the top, creating a glorious opening. The founder Devy Ferdianto himself stood as the conductor.

Then he called Ack van Rooyen that directly told the audience that he was here in Bandung for the first time in 1948. “There’s a song I played back then that I still remember until now,” he said, and it was the ever-lovely “Moonlight Serenade”. They were like setting up a time capsule, sending more than 500 audiences to the swingin’ era in the 40’s. It was magic!


Salamander Big Band meets Ack van Rooyen 2014 (1)


In “Walking Tip Toe”, Ack introduced the trumpeter to stand in front, Brury Effendi. This man matched Ack with his flugelhorn in the front row. They spread harmony, backing each other up and exchanged punch lines. Once again loud applauses were given to the team. Another Ack’s original song came next, “Autumn Bugle”. It’s a sentimental song, sweet and touching that could bring happy tears to those who hears it.

While Mr Ack took some rest, Devy Ferdianto introduced his vocal lines, the Salamander Voices. Four singers (Devi Remondi, Lia Amalia, Sekar Teja Inten and Adi Sigerra) joined the 18-piece big band. They covered an Indonesian evergreen song written by Maladi, “Di Bawah Sinar Bulan Purnama” very, very beautifully.  Since “Di Bawah Sinar Bulan Purnama” means “Under the Light of the Full Moon”,  something strange happened tonight. We don’t know if the musicians and audience realize this or not, but a shiny full moon actually graced the night sky outside the hall. Speaking of coincidence.


Salamander Big Band meets Ack van Rooyen 2014 (10)


A song from Rob Pronk, a legendary Dutch musician with Indonesian blood (he was born in Malang, Indonesia) was the next piece. It was a pentatonic-based song called “Sinta”. Not an easy repertoire, yet they all did very well in bringing it back alive. The sweet night continued on with Imelda Rosalin back on vocal. She sang another standards, “It Could Happen to You”. Then the first session reached the end with the song everyone know so well, “Route 66″. The guitarist Bramania Bachtiar did a cool rock n roll solo, while the Salamander Voices was captivating.


Salamander Big Band meets Ack van Rooyen 2014 (14)


The second session started with Matt Ashworth on flute stood right beside Ack. The ensemble played “Elusive” really well. Then Ack conducted everyone to hum along with some guitar lines, and that was the opening of the next song, “Sometime Ago” in swingin’ Blues. Bram once again showed his tasty blues line on guitar, but many other musicians got their own round too, from Imelda on piano, Brury on flugelhorn, Matt Ashworth on saxophone, Gallang Perdhana on contrabass, to Agustinus on drums, they all had fun with Ack’s flugelhorn who once again involved the audience’s humming sound brilliantly in this song. No wonder this song got the biggest applauses up to this point.


Salamander Big Band meets Ack van Rooyen 2014 (2)


“Day In, Day Out”, a 1939 song by Rube Bloom and Johnny Mercer took a fast swing lane with Imelda’s vocal plus Brury’s solo run in the middle, followed by a very old standard, “For Heaven’s Sake”. “Time to visit Brazil”, said Ack before the Salamander Big Band pinned Ivan Lins’ song, “Commeçar de Novo”. A piece written by Jerry van Rooyen “Tailspinning” took us back to the jazz path. Matt Asworth gave a cool improvisation lines in this composition which is probably the most difficult piece they play this year. “Because I Love You” brought back the sentimental mood to us. Devy introduced the whole players before serving up the last song, a Jimmy Dorsey’s piece, “Tangerine”. Trumpeter Egi Bayu who got promoted from Sangkuriang Youth Jazz Orchestra (SYJO) to Salamander Big Band did very well in it. More solo runs and energetic playing sealed the official show with an ace.


Salamander Big Band meets Ack van Rooyen 2014 (23)


Since it was very beautiful, the audience of course asked for more. So they brought one last song, Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo” by involving all players. One interesting thing about Mood Indigo, this was the song that made Rob Pronk fell in love with jazz for the very first time. Also because of this song, Duke Ellington became his role model). As much as we loved it, the concert finally reached the very end.

With Mr Ack van Rooyen, the Salamander Big Band sent respect to Jerry van Rooyen and Rob Pronk as well as treating the audiences with a very special and beautiful package. Last year they explored many difficult terrains, playing complex compositions that showed how far a Big Band can stretch its concept under the guidance of Dieter Mack (read the report here: This time they came back to the mainstream, embracing the true heart and real spirit of Big Band, just like the moment it was born and changed the course of music. Ack has taught them how to play as an ensemble. How they should blow the brasses to create an ‘alive’ sound. So tonight, we saw the whole team of Salamander Big Band involved their souls in creating a ‘warm’ tones with heartfelt dynamics on any given piece. We always know that Salamander can take up repertoires with high degree of difficulties but can make the more simple ones sound rich and majestic. Thanks to Ack, the Salamander has taken one step higher in producing lively dynamics throughout the performance.


Salamander Big Band meets Ack van Rooyen 2014 (6)


Ack is the perfect one to do it. He has a very long experience, more than 60 years at least. There are many flugelhorn players, but it’s rare to find someone who still can play it like Ack. The sound he produces with his flugelhorn is naturally beautiful, it feels like having a heavenly sweet caramel candy melts in your mouth. The brass section of Salamander Big Band should be proud to learn it from him. But Ack gave a lot of space to the rhythm section too to shine.

For you who live in Jakarta, you can catch their next performances on Erasmus Huis (Tuesday, September 9, 2014) and GoetheHaus (Wednesday, September 10, 2014). Both show will start at 7:30 pm without taking any charge. The first concert in Bandung was very beautiful, you people in Jakarta should not miss this one.


Salamander Big Band meets Ack van Rooyen 2014 (17)


We sincerely thank the Salamander Big Band, Ack van Rooyen, Goethe Institut, Erasmus Huis and everyone else (persons/institutes) behind this event. Happy anniversary Salamander Big Band! So happy to witness your tremendous growth for 8 years and look forward to see more updates from you. And long live, Mr Ack, may you be blessed with the best of health and keep bearing much fruits for many more years. We hope to see you again in Indonesia and give another unforgettable round with Salamander Big Band like the one we got tonight.

See more pictures:

Repoter: Riandy Kurniawan, Titus Firmanto
Photographer: Mia Damayanti




When we created Terraz Jazz, we planned something simple. What we had in mind is to push the regeneration process by creating a platform that’s free to use by any jazz oriented/related bands. They all can showcase their concept, skill either individually or as a unit, as well as getting experienced to play in front of the real audience and to taste how it actually is to stand on the real stage and be covered by the media. They can have the stage as a playground, the place where they can have fun while entertaining people at the same time, unleashing their passion and energy positively through music. And naturally, it should become a new spot for jazz lovers in Bandung to visit.

We make Terraz Jazz as a jazz-based program but open, meaning that we never close our door to any other genres as long as they are interested to play in a jazzmosphered show. We’ve also been trying to look up for unique formation that most people might never thought of. We have featured many special duos like drums-guitar, drums-saxophone, drums-keyboard and guitar-violin. We have invited full electric bands and acoustic ones. The younger musicians found on stage was 8 and 10 years old, many female drummers and percussionists, and speaking of location, we have had musicians not only from local Bandung areas but also from other cities like Jakarta, Bali, all the way to overseas like Malaysia, USA and France. And what amaze us is that all of these happened only in ten editions.


Terraz Jazz 11 - Titbits (1)


With no intention of building an exclusive community, so far there are many regular attendances especially young musicians. Eventhough they had no schedule to perform, they just came either to watch or to join the jam session. We wish to keep it that way, making everyone feel at ease when they are attending the show. As our tagline says: “fun jazzin, fun jammin’, fun learnin’, these three aspects that are all rooted in ‘fun has got to be there in any edition. What makes us happy is that many successful, well-established or senior musicians/bands have given their supports and blessings. Some have even showed it by playing together with these young ones. We hope this to grow and continuously give benefit to Jazz, its development and everyone living in it.

So, just like we predicted, the Terraz Jazz #11 stood as a strong, solid one with rich flavors. We say rich, because there were varieties of styles and cross-genres in it. We spotted jazz fusion, smooth jazz, Brit-pop, blues and a pleasantful folk.

For the first time we featured a solo performer. We’re glad to have it from a young fella named Guntur Satria. We knew him when he came and took part in the jam session in one of the early editions. We directly got hooked on him, his magic charm worked just perfectly to stun us. From there we’re connected with him and all his updates.


Terraz Jazz 11 - Guntur Satria-GFRtrio (7)


Guntur Satria has a trio called GFRtrio with bassist Farhan Faikar and drummer Raka Rizkyandi. This trio played at the 6th edition that was dedicated fully to Blues (read the report here: The trio was just finished their recording session and is looking forward to launch their album. We’re planning to bring them again in letting them promote their upcoming album, but first we thought it’d be cool to feature him first as a solo player because we believe he’s capable to carry it.

He’s eccentric, meaning that he can be on his own doing weird stuff and unpredictable, he’s energetic, attractive, expressive and interactive. He could stun everyone when he’s on fire on stage. But surprisingly, when he stands alone as a solo performer he actually got a different concept. We have heard some of his solo sessions in his Soundcloud ( and we just had to feature him in this format. He was a mad blues player when plays as a trio, but in his solo he’s a lot calmer both in gesture and music. He goes embracing the country side while still keeping his blues-rock tone in much smaller dose. But Guntur is always Guntur. He’s still fully connected to the audience and happily inserted some real-life stories during his show.

He started in folkish pop by covering John Meyer’s “Stop This Train”. Then he gave his newly written ballad, only 2 days old called “Kala Rindu”. “Blackbird”, a hauntingly beautiful song of The Beatles written by Paul McCartney came alive from him in fresh country style. This one is a winning song, the song that made us impatiently has to invite him to perform in this 11th edition. He sang another original song titled “Sabar” and then invited his band members to join his session. As Farhan Faikar (bass) and Raka Rizkiyandi (drums) came in, he delivered Sting’s “Englishman in New York” which included some solo runs and free improvisations.




Man, it’s good to be back! We’ve been missing our tight activity in selecting the bands to participate in this very event, the Terraz Jazz twice a month. But then came the month of Ramadhan when the Muslims had to fast during the daylight and pray at night to have a spiritual cleansing. Since we didn’t want to distract them, the Terraz Jazz was paused for a month. Entering the second week of August, Terraz Jazz was back in action again. There are still many bands we haven’t invited yet, while the already played bands are worth to have another shot. We have to do the balance as well as trying to find the best combination in terms of dealing with the variety of jazztertainment. Just like before, the Terraz Jazz #10 was divided into two sessions: the live performances of three bands and an open jam session all the way to the end. Curious to see how it went? Let us spill it for you.

This edition was dedicated to the Indonesia’s Independence Day which falls on August 17, 2014. Due to this theme, we asked the performing bands to include something that could be related to it, either in repertoires, concept or even dresscode. Whatever it is, we let them free to choose as long as it fitted the theme.


Terraz Jazz 10 - Owcindful (5)


The first slot was taken by Owcindful. Quickly this band of youngsters poured some classic funky disco style that worked very well to open this come back edition. Nicodemus Horisson (piano), Inez (vocal), Ariel and Anthony (guitars), Jere (bass) and Andre (drums) didn’t just play, they clearly prepared the materials to fit the month of Indonesia’s Independence Day. A little fact about this band, it was established first of all on Valentine’s Day last year at an event in Trans Studio Mall. Long story short, they saw the opportunity to keep going. After many gigs around Bandung, Owcindful’s finally landed on Terraz Jazz.

Without any opening speech from us, the Owcindful quickly opened up their session with a national anthem written by Ibu Sud entitled “Tanah Airku”. They carried on with interesting version of Kahitna’s “Takkan Terganti”. Starting like it was going to be a ballad, they suddenly sticked this song in 70’s disco style, complete with the wah-wah guitar sound. What an enjoyable presentation that created smile on our faces. Then they moved on to another national anthem “Indonesia Pusaka” again in party mood, playful chords and Brazilian splash. Then they gave a song that’s listed in their memory, it was Sandhy Sondoro’s “Malam Biru” and sealed their show with “Can’t Take My Eyes of You”.


Terraz Jazz 10 - Owcindful (7)


If before we knew Nicodemus’ valuable contribution to the jazz band Chakraborty, we’re glad to see his ability to lead a band with cool music form. This would perfectly suit the young listeners easily. What’s also great is that these young folks served it not like a wannabe but we could feel that it came out right from their souls. It was groovy, soulful and danceable, but at the same time contained jazz in nice portion. Watching energetic boys with strong passion in music like this is always cool. With more experiences that can be gained from having more and more gigs, Owcindful can go fly up high. They have potential, we’re happy to have them in.


Terraz Jazz 10 - Frank and Co (5)


The second slot was taken by a band with the name that could remind you of a jewellery company. It’s called Frank & Co. We heard this band from its guitarist, Frank Navayo who came and jam many times in this event. So it’s about time for us to feature him in a session with his band. Other than this George Benson-ish guitarist, the band has Josua Stephen (keyboard), Yeremia Liong (drums), Christopher Andika (flute & saxophone) and Ken (bass).


Ubud Village Jazz Festival 2014 - Day 2 (2)


The beatiful day of jazz already took place at Ubud yesterday, courtesy of Ubud Village Jazz Festival 2014. (read the report here: Now we are going to let you know what’s happening on the second and final day of this second episode of this annual party.


Ubud Village Jazz Festival 2014 - OpenMind Quartet (1)


Two bands started exactly at the same time: Openmind Quartet and Gustu Brahmanta Trio. The Openmind Quartet consists of musicians from the Universitas Pelita Harapan Jakarta such as Michael Setiawan (grand piano), Kevin Yosua (Electric Bass), Dion Jana Pria (Electric Guitar) and Joshua Setiawan (Drums). Once again reprised their great role in last year’s edition in pouring this event with cool swingin’ straight ahead. They played the traditional style of jazz, yet felt very fresh, something that we really needed while covering the event under the warm Bali temperature. Not only they cooled us up, but they also gave a beautiful start for the second day. Neat, tight and clean play from these very talented and skillful younger generation. They were playing originals by Michael and also some standards such as Rhythm-a-Ning by Thelonius Monk.


Ubud Village Jazz Festival 2014 - Gustu Brahmanta Trio (3)


For those who wished to enjoy jazz with authentic Balinese taste, Gustu Brahmanta Trio gave exactly that on Subak Stage. Think of this: a trio with the combination of western and Balinese instruments, you should get something different from it. The group which has Ida Bagus Putu Brahmanta (drums and percussion), Ida Bagus Indra Gupta (contrabass) and I Wayan Suastika (rindik, gamelan) served mystical pentatonic pelog scale with jazz as the foundation. What’s a rindik, you might ask? Well, a rindik is an instrument made from bamboo with 11-13 keyed xylophones tuned to a fairly even tempered scale.

Other than rindik, the trio also modifies the drumset with kelenang to add even more Balinese nuance. What’s unique is that, if the usual Balinese gamelan orchestra could have from 10 to 20 players with varieties of instruments, this three dudes dare to bring the Balinese jazz concept alive with just minimalist formation. From what we heard, they proofed it to work perfectly. This is the kind of jazz that we really want to see from jazz fest in Bali, thanks to Gustu Brahmanta Trio, we could get it very early on Saturday. The attempt of fusing traditional music of Bali with jazz has been done by so many musicians both from our own source and international, yet this trio is able to give something different while still rooting in the same spirit. Mind you, they are all native, so what we got from them was the authentic Balinese music with seamless jazz vibe inside. They showcased true Balinese ethnic music fused with modern jazz grooves, and they kept the rhythm in the pocket with just this formation. The show was simply educational, interactive, entertaining, magical, without having to lose the strong ethnic element. Ubud Village Jazz Festival just got defined.


Ubud Village Jazz Festival 2014 - Yuri Mahatma Astrid Sulaiman (5)


Then came the time to be entertained by the founder of Underground Jazz Movement also the founder of this very event, Yuri Mahatma. Once again he teamed up with dear wife, lady pianist Astrid Sulaiman. Using his weapon guitar, he led the quintet consists of Helmy Agustian on bass, Steve Bolton on drums, and Pramono Abdi Pamungkas on saxophone. One song that caught our attention is when they played “Hallucinations”. That song is always overlooked by many musicians but Yuri and Astrid nailed the song just right. Anyhow, the crowd seemed very relaxed from the cool grooves this band offered. This team opened up the Giri Stage just a few minutes after 5 o’clock in the very late afternoon.