Jakarta International Djarum Super Mild Java Jazz Festival 2013: Day 1 Part 1




The 9th Annual Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival 2013 has just arrived at the beginning of March marked right on your calendars, 1st 2nd and 3rd. Yes, a three day event at the Jakarta International Expo (JIExpo) Kemayoran to satisfy your love for an international jazz experience. It’s in store with a list of great performers from around the world with all-time memorable music moments never to forget. The first day has just ended and for those who missed out on the live performances, Jazzuality has got them all for you!

The first day was opened with a performance from Djarum Band followed by Mr. Sonjaya, this year was their first experience in an international event, big-single-stage, with a very wide-range audience. They describe themselves in music with simple tunes including acoustic folk. This band consists of Dimas Dinar Wjiaksana as vocalist, Rida Suhendar and Ridho Kurnia as guitarist, Heryanto Atse on xylophone/pianica, Andry Cahyadi as bassist, and Yaya Risbaya on percussion/cajon. Easy-to-remember lyrics, easy listening tunes, and acoustic concept were a very good combination to warm up ourselves in this very first day of three-day event. As a newcomer, there still a very long road for this band to ride, but as we saw from the crowd, we knew Mr. Sonjaya will be going for a long journey.

While IMI Band represented their well-established contemporary music school (Institut Musik Indonesia), the other stage showed something different. Carrying the journey all the way from Sumatra, Serambi Mekkah’s very own Rafly WaSaja arrived with his thick folk stream, creating a color of his own. Rafly is well-known for his spiritual-sense blend in music and this time he’s simply done it again, touching the hearts of the faithful listeners. As usual Rafly teamed with the all-rounder senior guitarist we know from Ligro, Agam Hamzah, also Agam’s musical soulmate from the same group, bassist Adi Darmawan. What a different nuance we got here, of course contained positive messages as Rafly always loves to do. Plus, it’s quite interesting to a lot of foreigners enjoy watching him play

Ron King Big Band was one of the early-starters too. Having performed last year at the Java Jazz Festival 2012, this time they arrived again with a spirit no less invincible. Simply one of the best trumpeters, composers and arrangers in the world – not in a million chances to be missed!

David Helbock once had performed in JJF 2010, he was still on a group named HDV Trio, coming from the Austrian Embassy where Helbock was on piano. This time, he got his own stage in JJF 2012. Like other genius musician, he started playing piano when he was six years old. At ayoung age, he already had an album; since then he produced several more. David is not only a pianist, he does the music composition too. Now, he is rising like a star and has many awards from time to time. Check out his own web to see more about him at www.davidhelbock.com. The twang of the piano was relaxing the venue when he played, then some magic moment appeared when he let his fingers danced ellegantly like group of ballerinas above the keys. Lovely.



Inherited the spirit of jazz in the place where the music first spreaded, Noon, a Korean smooth jazz singer, indeed has something witty in her songs. With a colorful sounding of trumpet and band, along with her smooth vocal, Noon provided us a sweet and accessible taste of dixie, a new experience to jazz lovers. We have actually heard her name and listened to her songs at least since 2006, but at that time it was still difficult to know about her due to the lack of information found on the internet. Later on she made a surprising yet important decision. Fulfilling her ambition in gaining a high achievement in music, Noon took a big step in doing her recording in the New Orleans, the city where the jazz was born. With a soft touch from the master Leroy Jones (producer and arranger most of Noon’s songs), Noon did a brave move to include the song “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” with ther own arrangements. Her newest album “Better Than Ever” is well-suited for those who love a smooth jazzy with a touch of New Orleans style. Now she has put her signature at the Java Jazz Festival, a place that can always be a comfy home for her.

Maliq n D’Essentials has the frontrunner of the Indonesian soulful groove scene for almost 10 years. This is the group that almost always has to be included whenever there’s a music festival going on. Speaking of the music, they are infectious, and when you watch them live, you will catch the energetic vibe full with nonstop action. The brass section behind Angga Puradiredja and Indah always bring the jazzy touch into the soulful vibe. On February 10th 2013, the released their fifth album with the theme called “Sriwedari”. Even the process of the album only took three months but they seriously finished the album on Abbey Road Studio, England. As usual, we saw fully crowded stage, filled with their fans who wanted to groove and dance together.

As for Matthew Sayersz, some might’ve not known that he is a singer from Bandung. He has been a vocalist for bands such as Rasjidi Syndicate, Lopin Loop, Benny Likumahuwa & Young Jazzy Connections, Farabi Youth Big Band, Dwiki Dharmawan’s Project and Barry Likumahuwa Project. His participating in many moments has brought him to events such as Taichunk Jazz Festival, Bangkok Jazz Festival, Macau Revolution Festival and ASEAN Jazz Festival. This year’s JJF is another stepping stone for this young voice who made a stunning performance.


Are you crazy into rockin’ fusionesque guitar? Can you state a name crossed into your mind when we talk about the greatest one in this world? Say Jimi Hendrix! Very special in this 9th edition, psychedelic rock taste comes in the shape of jazz experimental by one and only Glen Dauna – Jimi Hendrix Experience. Flash back to the feeling imagine Jimi Hendrix on stage, Glen Dauna served his composition as he did in the previous event “I Kiss the Sky : Experience Jimi Hendrix feat. Glen Dauna Experiment” launched at the Atamerica together with Indra Dauna, Rega Dauna, Chaka Priambudi and Dezca Samudra in his team.

Sarita Fraya repeated her participation after her first one in 2010 then in 2011. At that time she was still a new prominent talent. Her jazzy voice and soothing acoustic guitar play was mesmerizing. The Java Festival Production found and believed her talent, she paid the trust back in full.

Some clinics had been going on since the fest’s opened. While Steve Thornton carried on after IMI percussion clinic session, at six o’clock sharp at the Djarum Lounge means Philomena Singers’ turn was on! Jazzy, Viska, Widya, Arby, Memey, and Oddy are the stars of this heart-taking Indonesian vocal group. How they succeed to create a harmony of sounds and fit them in to the jazz. We don’t find too many vocal harmony group in Indonesia lately, but now they are ready to fill up the empty spot and make it shine as never before.

Welcome back Atilia! She’s a malaysian singer who is a daughter of the famous Salamiah Hassan. Growing up with mostly jazz, R&B, soul, Motown really shaped her voice into a very lovely crisp husky one. It usually feels discomforting when someone else says you are a shadow of another, and it is not a new thing for Atilia. People say she resembles her mother, or her voice just like Sheila Majid, but wisely she takes those comments as compliment; since those two women are her role model, Atilia feels completely fine with that opinion. But we think that aside from that resemblance, she has her own unique voice that stands out as we listen to her voice. Nothing is strange if we see the similarities between Atilia and Sheila Majid. There is a reason for it; they both once engaged with Roslan Aziz and Jason Voo for song arrangement in their album.Therefore, Atilia admits that Sheila Majid and Roslan Aziz are definitely in the top of her-influenced-by-list. We directly could feel the joyful vibration at B1 Hall MLD Spot where the area was full up and packed. When we watched her at this festival four years ago, she stated her surprise by having such wonderful crowds. This year the crowds wasn’t as many as before, yet the enthusiasm of the attending crowds were magnificent. Some were dancing while those who sat on the floor kept their eyes on her. “I’m planning to build my career here in Indonesia,” she said to us. For that reason, she has released her second album in Indonesia entitled “Indah” under DeMajors which will be launched soon in Aksara, Jakarta.  In this album she featured two Indonesian groups, Maliq n D’Essentials and Sore, which continued her connection to Indonesian artist in the previous one by covering Tompi’s song. She opened her performance with Beatles’s hits “Imagine”, “Ranjau”, “Gelombang” this song was written by her mom. She also sang one of Maliq & d’Essentials song “Harus Bagaimana”, and the last one was “Selagi” which was played in songo and samba style. We are happy to see her again this year. Thank you for uplifting our early evening Atilia.

If you are talking about ‘the four gentleman to maintain belief in one musical goal’ you may be talking about Fourplay. That’s where they point on their new album. At this Java Jazz Festival 2013 they also played their adorable smooth jazz instrumental. Lined up perfectly with Bob James (keyboards), Chuck Loeb (guitar), Nathan East (bass) and Clarence Penn (drums) they came back at the festival to meet their fans with “December Dream”, “Max-O-Man”, “Chant”, “Gentle Giant”, “Sonnymoon”, “Let’s Touch the Sky”, “Bali Run”, and their encore “101 Eastbound”. When “A Funk Tail” was brought into the open, the whole crowd stood up to witness the eye-catching, sophisticated bass performance. As they has just released the new album “Esprit De Four” in 2012, they took some of the songs while playing their popular tunes. We believe they know how popular they actually are in Indonesia. Not only having thousands or millions of fans, there are many bands inspired by them too. It would feel like a dream come true to see the supergroup Fourplay performing live even just once, now we have seen them a couple of times. How lucky we are to have the Java Jazz Festival in our own soil, may the upcoming editions have them again and again. We’re absolutely sure none of us would mind!

In this lovely evening, we just met 7 talented people at Masima stage who gropued themselves in one band named The Soul Makers; they said ‘We are a bunch of musicians who love to jazz up your life’. They are Dewita Ratih on piano, Zackaria as keyboardist, arranger, and songwriter, Hairul Umam on alto sax, Romano as guitarist, Stesha Teza as bassist, Mahendra and Dzulfikri P. Malawi on drum/cajon. As a breakthrough, they gave us a fresh air and different way to enjoy jazz music. The soul and the spirit of youngster were really felt on their stage.

The legendary Hank Jones declared Roberta Gambarini as “the best new jazz vocalist to come along in 50 years.” This fast-rising Grammy nominee will bring another intimate session in the festival. Born and raised in Italy from a background familiar with jazz has given her a big contribution to her love for jazz now. Not only does she sing well, but she can scat her way into the amazement of the crowds delight. Not everyday a lady with authentic jazz soul like her would born, not everyday we could see such talent sing right in front of us. How great it was to see her again in Jakarta.

Who does not know “Could It Be” and who does not want to sing when “Serba Salah” is playing on radio or music programs? Yes, the flawless and ear-captivating Raisa Andriana. After her performance at Java Jazz Festival 2010, Raisa catches many people attention for her pleasant voice.  A collaboration with David Foster on his third concert in Indonesia (2011) also brought up her popularity as a new comer higher. Again we saw a full hall with so many fans supporting her. She even brought a surprise when she invited Tulus to do a duet with her.


Eight personnels of The Soul Rebels really elated this event. Yeah, they have four stages to rock in three days of the festival; once they will play with Maurice Brown. Until now, Derrick Moss on bass drum, Lumar Leblanc on snare drum, Julian Gosin on trumpet, Corey Peyton on trombone, Erion Williams on saxophone, Paul Robertson on trombone, Edward Lee Jr. on sousaphone, and Marcus Hubbard on trumpet greatly made five albums. Wondering why they named after “Soul Rebels?”. It all started in New Orleans when they became an opening band for Neville Brothers. The youngest fellow of it, Cyril Neville, said that “Soul Rebels” is a proper name for them whom didn’t afraid to break the rules, make a positive change, without avoiding the root of their music. This band began with a separation by Lumar LeBlanc and Derrick Moss from Dejean’s Young Olympia Brass Band. Exploring new melody and instrumental music were the initial reason for them forming this band and later we can hear many sounds and genre within. Wide-range and rich of sounds absolutely two things mark this group. It is proven by their collaboration with many artists from many side of music. Let’s say, Metallica, Snoop Dogg, Arcade Fire, Chuch Brown, and you name the others. They had tried many stages and events, no doubt the audiences were stunned by their song-list tonight, one of them “Sweet dreams” which they landed big at the Java Jazz Festival 2013.

Manna is a group that’s always trying to build a new concept of blending acoustic and groove sound with electric music. In cooking up the sound, they fuse jazz, rock, blues and funk in one solid package, a liquid package which enables them to perform in various music festivals. Senior bassist A.S Mates, his son Jessie on drums and Achmad Ananda on guitar gave one simple show in high quality.


No doubt that Andezzz can do many musical things and the knowledge he got from Berklee College of Music makes him do many marvelous exploration like we can see from his third yet newest album and on stage, “Electric Lov3” featuring Launa Cindy. For his latest project, Andezzz wants to do music fashion, something unique and fresh for musician in Indonesia. Probably, it will be another challenge for Andezzz to dig out more of his talent and showing people his new potential in music. Let’s see how this thing will turn in Andezzz’ good hand. Here it is, on First Media Stage, Edward Fernandez, who is known as composer, song arranger, bassist, and DJ, performed in the very first day of Java Jazz Festival 2013 with his Departure People. He also featured various vocalistsw including Andra Ramadhan, Grace Sahertian, Groovy, electrifying jazz was all over, forcing people to dance, at least tapping their feet.

We jumped to the Lawu Acoustic Hall. The Shadow Puppets started with quartet formation, but then got smaller with only two original members left, Robert Mulyarahardja (guitar) and Irsa Destiwi (piano). Many band would fade when they’re being left by two personnels, but these two instrumentalists successfully continued their journey with the help of additional players. Often they widen the concept by involving many featured musicians, just like in this 2013 edition where they performed as a septet. Highnotes did their thing on the other stage.

With his unique vocal jazz, Jose James combines jazz, soul, drum and bass inviting us to sway our head and fulfill our heart with thousand smiles. He once said that his main influence in music are John Coltrane, Marvin Gaye, and Billie Holiday, and it sometimes sounds in his hits yet disctinctly also being on his own. His full-length album “Dreamer” (2008) became a worldwide appreciation and placed at number 21 in Jazz Times’ Top 50 for the year. His newest album “No Beginning, No End” has just released in January 2013. We didn’t want to miss the chance to see this act, and yes, it was a bomb!

Then it’s time to check out two legends with their classic pairing. The first collaboration between Stanley Clarke (bassist) and George Duke (keyboardist and vocal) was begun in 1981. The team they had formed is known as Clarke/Duke Project. This project is one of the most successful collaboration ever. Scoring more than 20 beautiful songs, their single “Sweet Baby” is the most unbearable romantic hit we ever heard. Even, they got four albums and then had held a concert throughout fifteen counties many years later which also successful. Having always been fruitful with their fusion funk-filled and genre-smashing collaboration performances, Clarke and Duke decided to come down at the Java Jazz Festival, where they offered the audience with some of their treats such as “Brazillian Love Affair”, “Autumn” and “Silly Buddy”. They also performed an instrumental of “Born to Love You” which lead to the intro of “Sweet Baby”, and “School Days” which was skillfully composed by Stanley Clarke. It’s true that the fun, fancy, and energetic performances will always be a memorable tone in out ears, especially when it comes from two big names with a legendary collaboration like this. Joining these two legends is Henry McDaniel, a young drummer who won the Stanley Clarke Scolarship and recruited by Clarke himself and one other synthesizer player. Dream come true for him, but for us, he deserves it. Another unforgettable moment of the festival is now added.

You must be familiar with the reggae version of the song “I Can See Clearly Now”. True, this song originally came from Johnny Nash, but in 1993 Jimmy Cliff tailored it differently and became his own signature song. If we move back a decade earlier, there was another famous joyful reggae song all over radio charts in Indonesia entitled “Reggae Night”. Those are just a few of the hits coming from this Jamaican-born “The Order of Merit” holder. Jimmy has been pursuing his illustrious career for half of a century. Some of you may wonder what this Reggae legend is doing in this biggest jazz festival on earth. But actually Jimmy Cliff recently spices up jazz stages too, such as his two appearances at the Glastonbury Festival in 2008 and 2011. Aside from that, Jimmy is also known for breathing the soul spirit inside the tropical reggae beat and sound. If before we could only enjoy his songs through the physical cassette, cd or in radio stations, now we can see him clearly from a very close range, as well as seeing his amazing musicality that made him a very important hall of famer. Along with his band, Jimmy showed that music is actually (and should always be) borderless. Other than proving that it can create a whole new dimension of music, he also shows that jazz can suit soulful reggae perfectly. How great is it to finally able to see this legendary artist in live session including “You Can Get It If You Really Want”, “Hakuna Matata”, “Afghanistan” and “Wild World” thanks to the Java Festival Production. In some songs, he brought the audience to a surprise by playing the jimbe. While on the other side of the arena, Highnotes gave a great performance at Citra Intirama Stage.

Move on to the other stage, we found the man who always has the concern of collaborating harmony for peace, Dwiki Dharmawan. He filled this year’s edition with his new project by involving a string quaret in his performance. We acknowledge him as a top class artist who is always in a restless creative search, especially in promoting the traditional Indonesian music inside the archipelago to meet his innovative jazz bites.

Back to the subject, in July 2012 he presented his Dwiki Dharmawan String Quartet Project at the Jazz Fest Wien (Vienna Jazz Festival) by involving the string quartet Violet Spin plus bassist Oliver Steger. He just launched the DVD from this concert last week and now he delivered it to the crowds of the Java Jazz Festival 2013. On the stage tonight, Dwiki took the melodica while the Minister of Trade Affairs Gita Wiriawan played the piano. What a mash-up!

Aside from his tremendous fusion touch over the keys in crafting his spicy masterpieces in multiple projects, he also breaks the ground by trying to establish groups in each countries to accompany him on stage. “That’d be easier if I already have the team to work with from each particular country.. I just have to fly by myself and then play with them, instead of bringing huge number of players from here.” he once said to us. His friendship with Fritz Thom, the founder of Jazz Fest Wien enabled him to do that. Now he already has several string quartets in different locations of Europe, comprising of professional musicians and also professors of the local music institutions in particular cities. What’s also interesting about this project is Dwiki’s decision to go back playing the acoustic piano. If before we often see him abusing the electric keyboards, now we got the chance to see how flawless he can be while sitting behind the piano.  Landscapic piano rendition with remarkable set of strings flew out from Dwiki and the team through the combination of well-known Indonesian folk songs and his original compositions. As this man never stops to make innovation, we can only imagine what else he will cook in the future. Speaking of creative ideas and cool executions, the big concern of promoting Indonesia’s own traditional musical heritage through the cross-fusion delight, Dwiki is the man.

No doubt at all, if we speak of Indonesian top guitarist, automatically the Bali spirited maestro Balawan is always on our minds. This time he performed as Balawan Bifan Trio featuring Didiet Violin. By learning music since he was a kid and exploring different genres from rock, jazz, to ethnic, we can say that his experiences have taken him to ‘the peak of Indonesian musician’. Last year with Fajar Adi Nugroho on bass, the two of them made an awesome collaboration, so this year they built more powerful group with Dion Subyakto on drums featuring Didiet on violin. It was not their first gig as a group, Didiet as a violinist and one of KulKul band’s member, he often supported Balawan for some projects.


Came all the way from Sweden, saxophonist/flutist/clarinet player Magnus Lindgren showed why he’s considered as the best young jazz reed player in Europe today by many. Having performed with many big cats including Herbie Hancock, Lindgren gave a show featuring special guest star, the Grammy-nominated Jazz Singer, Gregory Porter. Speaking of Mr Porter, this man has amazing, rich vocal texture. If Motown were jazz, this man would be the perfect one to uphold it. We think that would be great to describe his gifted vocal style. Their collaborative project will go on for three days, so if you missed their performance on Friday, you can always check your schedule on Saturday and Sunday. For their upcoming show in Hong Kong, Butterscotch also joined them on stage as a warm up ready for the big day on a big night.

Another performer tonight was Cindy Bernadette. Her experience in  Indonesian music industry can be said long enough to make her considered as one of influenced musician, especially in R&B, a genre which is not as popular as pop or dangdut in this country but still has uncountable numbers of fans. Cindy had learned about it while she was in New York and she brought back her musicality knowledge to Indonesia in purpose to share with another musician, specifically the youngster, many of whom love R&B. These make Cindy special and inspire other people. She absolutely has a very soulful voice, she can direct vocal, write songs, and not afraid to show her idealism in music through indie movement. However, have you heard R&B with a lil bit jazzy colors on it? The crowd showed their jubilant reaction while Cindy Bernadette utilized the time and space given to her.

Still more from the first day of the International Jakarta Java Jazz Festival 2013, so slide your cursors to the next part of this review and see who else jazzed up the stage from eight onwards!

See more pictures:

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Reporter: Riandy Kurniawan, Daniel Irawan, Khairiyah Sartika Syofian, Mellysa Anastasya, Ata Michaella, Sharon Patricia Kandou, Bintang Steffy Tania, Kenny Laia, Ghea Sagita
Photographer: I Putu Surya KB, Praditya Nova, Anggha Nugraha, Qaedi Fuadillah, Omar Arif Maulana, Alfi Widoretno
Team: Vierna Mariska Kurniawan, Muhammad Fadhly

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java jazz festival 2013