As the theme of this year’s festival, Jazzin Up Remarkable Indonesia, Java Jazz Festival has finally established themselves as the greatest jazz festival in the world. Java Jazz Festival has been continuously carry on its mission to introduce our country and its best musical talents around the globe in general, especially jazz in particular. With its wide range of exploration in jazz genre, some to rock, some to blues, RnB, ethnical, dance and even pop, it’s one huge event where we can watch big and famous artists from every corners of the world doing their performance, sometimes collaborates, into the three days of pure joy and entertainment. Alan Paul of The Manhattan Transfer stated that there are no other places that can provide the number of performers plus the names like what the Java Jazz Festival does. This also becomes a reason why the audiences getting bigger year after year.
The needs of space made Java Festival Production now moved the place to JIExpo Kemayoran, with all the consequences for one better purpose to be able to provide the whole 21 stage that can contain over 1300 artists for 3 days and 75-80 shows per day. That’s an unbelievable achievement that brought them to receive a MURI records for The Biggest Jazz Festival in the World. This year, the event even attended by the Indonesia’s first and second man. For some, the hall’s range might be difficult to reach in short times, but for some others they might get the bigger walking area that feels more comfortable, although at some hours the venue still looks a little bit difficult to hold the crowds. The event’s progress was also breaking the opinion that our own local artists being neglected in the first place. With these venue and promotion that could reach bigger audience, not only the numbers of local performers had raised, now you could see the crowds and queue among local and overseas performers comes almost the same. The other main complains came from the difficulty to communicate via cellphone around the areas. It’s not easy to deal with a big event like this of course, and we understand that. Plus, since the venue was used for the very first time, some difficulties that occured were mainly because we are still not familiar with the new venue.
The shows themselves have some notes to take, with more new highlights came in many shapes and packages, from Diane Warren‘s Greatest Hits to the great special show from The Manhattan Transfer, Babyface, Toni Braxton and John Legend. Two of them, Babyface and John Legend was also became the most spectacular shows ever held in Java Jazz Festival, alongside of Incognito and Level 42 in our opinion. From the other side of Jakarta, the performers also grown more varies, such as Batak Sensation from Medan and Surabaya All Stars, and at some points, the event felt complete by the comeback of Indonesian jazz icon, Indra Lesmana with his JavaJazz band, that consists of another jazz maestros ; Dewa Budjana & Donny Suhendra (guitar), Gilang Ramadhan (drum), and A.S. Mates (bass).
Complete composition of musicians should become our note as well. From the newcomers to the legends, highly skilled performers across generations, all kinds of instruments from western to the traditional, and we are talking about this in terms of globally. This year we got the presence of legendary artists such as Bob James, Hubert Laws, Rufus, George Duke, The Manhattan Transfer, Sly Stone, Ivan Lins, Bubi Chen, Benny Mustafa Van Diest, Oele Pattiselano, Idang Rasjidi, Benny Likumahuwa, Indra Lesmana and many more. We got the presence of world’s greatest songwriter through Diane Warren and Babyface. We also got to see the beautiful divas with remarkable gifts such as Toni Braxton, Sheila Majid, Jane Monheit, Roberta Gambarini, Mindi Abair, Jessy J, Andien, Syaharani and many more, the one who rocked the music industry such as John Legend, Eric Benet, the rising stars like Griffith Frank, Dira J Sugandi, Sandhy Sondoro, Alexandra Sterling, David Manuhutu, Rafi and many more. The brilliant players with distinctive style like Riza Arshad, Adonis Puentes, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Christian McBride, David Murray, Roy Hargrove and many other big names. If we look at these names, we would easily realize that Java Jazz Festival is the one and only jazz heaven that could place them all under one roof.
In this venue we also found more attractions such as increased exhibition stands, more foods and beverages, more merchandise from the performers, more art and photography exhibitions. The venue itself was designed more creatively that you wouldn’t bored exploring the areas the whole day.
We should feel fortunate to have these all, and we should thank Java Jazz Festival to make it happen. Growing 6 years in a row, the festival is getting bigger and better through the unbelievable efforts of Peter F. Gontha and the rest of Java Festival Production. We hope to see more surprises and highlights in the upcoming years. It’s like jazz itself. It’s a dream that coming true.
“Jazz is the light at the end of the day”.