Java Jazz Festival 2012: Four on The Floor, Kirana Big Band, Abdul & The Coffee Theory, Bag + Beat, Calvin Jeremy, Devian


8 Years in the making, a year in process, several months in intense build and finally here we are, standing inside the biggest jazz fest on earth, the Java Jazz Festival 2012. We had seen the previous 7 edition which was held since 2005 with all the shining lineup and lots of memorable moments. But here comes the edition that was predicted (and promised) to be the best ever. Any jazz lovers around the world would get goosebumps when they see the lineup. That’s really a promising start before we go through the whole 3 days event with hundreds of show where thousands of musicians involved. The feeling was enormous when we entered the gate because we know what’s going to happen here until Sunday.

Some of the early fest-goers have entered the venue. They took pictures everywhere, looking around and started to have fun with their loved ones. Early in the evening, as the opening highlight some stages had started such as Four on the Floor, Kirana Big Band, Abdul & the Coffee Theory, Bag+Beat, Calvin Jeremy, Devian. There are still a lot of to come. Go gather around and feel the jazz tonight !

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One of the implementer of Crossover Jazz in this country is possible to be defined for Four on the Floor. Jodi, Bram and Rio merge broken beat and house groove plus a touch of jazz and funk particularly, which is a rare concept that implied in Indonesian music scenery. A considerable fulfillment they had made by puts their name on list of Asian Heart guest star in Japan and also certifies the band with Soul Shift Music in USA. Here at the Java Jazz Festival they rested their case big time, showing to all their fans and people who came to their show of how good they are. These young men are the ambassador of the modern nu jazz for the Indonesian music scene. Their contribution is definitely important, especially in introducing jazz to the clubbers in the most friendliest way. Good job guys!

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Kirana Big Band started their journey in Indonesian jazz scene when the bassist, Agung Prasetyo, turned into a conductor because of his awareness of the role. This band had appeared in major jazz event in Indonesia, such as in previous set of Java Jazz Festival, ITB Big Band Concert and the last turn was in Etawa Jazz Jogjakarta together with Streamline Quartet, Farah Di, Khairul Umam in purpose of rehearsal concert for Java Jazz Festival 2012.

They do not only play swing standard but they often play some of our traditional and Indonesian songs which were interestingly rearranged to fit in big band format. If Bandung has Salamander Big Band, and so does Yogyakarta has Kirana Big Band as one of the rocksolid and successful bigband in Indonesia. So, other than Galaxy Big Band, and Ron King Big Band various performances, we also have Kirana representing Jogjakarta’s fine jazz scene.

This group hit the main stage in March, 3 as an opening act at Java Jazz 2012. Agung Prasetyo brought a solid performance with his team including Farah Di, Cecilia Cati, and Firry on vocals, rhythm sections with Diaz (guitar), Chris (piano), Made (bass), Jonathan (drums), BJ (percussions) and no less than thirteen brass players. The band’s manager Tari Pradeksa shared that the big band was established in 2006 and joined the Java Jazz Festival at that year right away. Kirana Big Band keep spreading out the spirit of magnificent jazz show and really care about the regeneration of players. They smartly presented some beautiful tracks like “Let’s Fall In Love”, “Fever”, “Save The Last Dance For Me”, “Almost Like Being In Love”, “O Solemio”, “A Night In Tunisia”, “Smile”, “Mack The Knife”, and a surprise with one dangdut song “Alamat Palsu”.

Having the amount of approximately 30% young and 70% mature musicians, Kirana Big Band are looking towards a bright future. Big Band might not be the most popular trend in today’s scene, but we do need them to bring the joyful mega-sound in majestic way that only big bands can do. We wish Kirana Big Band all the best, hope to see you again next year. Keep jazzin’, Yogyakarta!

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Abdul and the Coffee Theory, an entertaining band which has Medan heritage served a very fabulous performance. Initially , Abdul described himself as a soloist in the first album but then the formation was changed. The Coffee Theory represented the new formation which consists of Andrey Chiling as drummer, Ono as keyboardist, and Riza as bassist. They together has played with Abdul and evolving their music especially in bossanova, smooth jazz, pop, and groove. Besides as a singer, lately Abdul is also known as producer and song writer whose creations are used by another awesome artists such as Andien and Nina Tamam. Abdul and the Coffee Theory casually makes unique and smooth lyric which is agreeable among us because it represents our daily life. Because the world just lost  Whitney Houston who passed away just a couple of weeks ago, he presented a nice tribute to Whitney Houston ft Alla.

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Ever imagine what would happen if a jazz trio got thrown down into the ghetto? Bag + Beat would be the perfect answer for that question. The band started in 2009 as BAG Trio, consisted of skillful young players: bassist Adrian Bramantyo, drummer Aldhi Mahardika and guitarist Gerald Situmorang with wide musical explorations painted on their canvas. They performed in many jazz shows and big scaled festivals such as Jazz Goes to Campus and Java Jazz Festival 2010.

From there, the band felt the needs to experiment for more. First their management Randy MP reconstructed BAG Trio’s music to a new level by mixing, sampling, rearranging and chopping the songs, adding up some funky bites into their originals. Then came a Live PA duo by the name of Beatkraft (saxophonist Tommy Pratomo and percussionist Ditto Pradhana) that embedded more colors into those remixes. It wouldn’t be enough to go this far without a frontman, so they chose rapper Aji Setyonugroho to seal the group’s new version, and Bag + Beat was finally born in 2010. We tasted their cool new version first time at the Soulnation 2010 and got surprised with how much they had changed. We met them again at the Soulnation 2011  and now we met them again at the Java Jazz Festival 2012. ‘

The combination of pure jazz trio, Live PA duo and a rapper featuring singer Adyuta Abandika should be promising to watch, and that’s what they exactly gave on stage. Interestingly they included a very cool version of John Coltrane’s all time hit, “Giant Steps”. Unlike the other version, they played an ‘out-of-the-box’ version by reharmonized the song into their style with rap and vocal. Other than this song, they played their own compositions including “Where’s the Mosque”, the winning song “Auditor’s Room”, “Lookin'”, “Rock You” and “Don’t Stop”.

With the graphic tends to rise up like this, Bag + Beat is surely looking at their huge success at the top of the game. Afterall, why not, since they have everything needed for that.

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Indonesia’s music scene is getting merrier by the presence of multi-talented young guns. Calvin Jeremy, is one of the example. Young and fresh little guy with his style that influenced most by the undeniably talented John Mayer, Calvin Jeremy has chosen pop jazz as his style, because he believes that pop and jazz listeners can be united in one genre without any gap. To him, jazz is not always a segmented music only for high class listeners, but jazz certainly has a place in everyone, regardless of the gender, status and age.

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America may have Dave Koz, Kenny G, or Gerald Albright as massive saxophonists, here we proudly have Devian. Starting as a guitarist, Devian Zikri later found his passion as saxophonist with the influence from Maryono (RIP), the legendary Indonesian saxophone player from the earliest generation. It was not hard for him to change the instrument but for sure saxophone is a difficult one; then this Berklee College of Music’s alumnus succesfully learned it in two years. After produced three albums and built his own recording studio, Devian feels not enough in exploring his musical talent and Java Jazz Festival is another prosperous stage to entertain. He once said that playing with various musicians is his fondness. That is why this time he brought another different line ups except the keyboardist. It is always surprising to see Devian on stage because of his spontaneus stage-act and fierceful sax sound.

Devian brought one solid team for this special occasion including Kadek Rihardika (guitar), Triono Pudji Susetio (piano), Subekti (bass) and Dezca Anugrah Samudra (drums), plus two other senior musicians Andi Wiriantono (piano) and Idham Noorsaid (trumpet). Delightful to the bone we might say, it’s great to have the sound of saxophone which can go exploring more than just smooth jazz.

These six groups awesomely opened the first day of Java Jazz Festival 2012. Even though the rain was falling outside but teir performances successfully heated up the crowd and attracted them to come around. You will be served more amazing jazz artists and groups after this. Stick around and grab your favourite one.


See more pictures:

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Team on duty:

Reporter: Riandy Kurniawan, Ata Michaella, Mellysa Anastasya, Ghea Sagita, Bintang S Tania, Fardhani Ramadhana, Daniel Irawan, Vierna Mariska, Muhammad Fadhly
Photographer: Omar Arif Maulana, I Putu Surya KB, Praditya Nova, Dwi Ratri Utomo, Febrian Dirga


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