4th Jazz Not Jazz “Absolutely Sensational Fusion” : The Report




After three successful edition, 100.4 FM KLCBS off-air program JAZZ NOT JAZZ bagged another success in year 2014. This event is a KLCBS Jazz Alliance Community Gathering that stands as an amicable meeting of jazz people – from jazz listeners (from beginners to enthusiasts), collectors, experts, musicians, journalists, and everyone who have interest in jazz.

The combination between the music appreciation side, the market’s response, the blends between careful selection of musicians and music pieces will result into unique presentation in every edition of Jazz Not Jazz. Furthermore, the Marketing Director of KLCBS Khirzan N Noe’man has stated earlier that in more than 2 hours all the attendances would enjoy the presentation and collaboration altogether, including Meet and Greet.

KLCBS, BNI and the venue Prama Grand Preanger presented The 4th Jazz Not Jazz with high quality entertainment by presenting mouth-watering batch of all-star cast who have been placing their feet in between jazz and rock for many, many years. The band is Donny Suhendra Band, consists of Donny Suhendra (guitar), Budhy Haryono (drums), Krishna Balagita (keyboard) and Adi Darmawan (bass).


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Donny is a guitar hero who plays just about everything. He’s capable to play all kinds of music. Other than maintaining his own band, he’s one of the pillars of ESQI:EF aka Syaharani and the QueenFireWorks. Let’s not forget that he’s one of the Krakatau and JavaJazz. Not only he is a great guitarist, he is a superb teacher and mentor too. There are so many successful guitarists today who actually learnt from him. Then, Budhy Haryono. This is a versatile senior drummer who was involved in so many famous jazz and rock bands like Jamrock/Jamrud, GIGI, Krakatau and Karimata. Krishna Balagita is widely known as the keyboardist of ADA Band, but this man is actually not far from jazz. He even had the opportunity to learn from Jack Lesmana. He just celebrated his ‘comeback’ to jazz by releasing his solo album “Sacred Geometry” earlier this year and a shot at the Java Jazz Festival 2014. As for the eccentric bassist Adi Darmawan, he’s one of the LIGRO madmen. He plays bass like none other. Not only using his fingers or thumb, he often utilized other materials such as nail, woodenblock, iron plate, spatula, hammer and so on in his act. Other than that, he often hum in high pitch to give some haunting sound of world music.

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While Donny has played together with Adi many times, it was great to see the ‘reunion’ between Budhy and Donny. During the early stage of Donny’s career, it was Budhy who often accompanied him. “We even built Krakatau together.” said Donny. But then they went on separate way. Donny was clearly happy for having Budhy again on his side. “You know, Budhy is a true fusion drummer.” he said.

This quartet got full reinforcement by more artits. The soulful powerhouse diva Dira Sugandi and one of the Salamander Voices (also the background singer of Tulus) Lia Amalia were in charge of vocals. Trumpeter Brury Effendy of Salamander Big Band and the jazz Paganini from Bandung, one of the 4Peniti: Ammy Kurniawan got important roles too. Mouth-watering lineup that for us could stand as a fine representative of Jazz Fusion at its best.

The whole lineup is also perfect to bring the theme of “Absolutely Sensational Fusion” which was set from the beginning by KLCBS.

The venue Prama Grand Preanger is one of the most famous historical buildings. It was once a grocery store but in 1897 it became a hotel, named Preanger Hotel. For over a quarter of a century thie Indische Empire style hotel stood as the symbol of pride of Dutchmen in Bandung. Then in 1929, the hotel was re-decorated by C.P. Wolff Schoemaker with former Indonesia’s first president Ir. Soekarno as his assistant. You can still find the classy art deco nuance in this 5-star hotel until now, both on the structure of the building and the interior. Serving a jazz community gathering inside a historical hotel brought such beautiful vibe which added even more values to it.

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The adventurous “Tales from Nauru” and a refreshing track taken from Donny’s first solo album, “Disini ada Kehidupan” titled “Pagimu” gave a beautiful sign that we were about to go deep into fusion. Donny then invited trumpeter Brury Effendi to play Chick Corea’s “Sea Journey”. Brury’s sharp attack was loved by the audience as he got a lot of claps. Right after Brury left the stage, Krishna took over the course with his sparkling melodies. This song kept him busy as well as showing his skill. Budhy’s cool solo drum was the highlight too on this one.

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Ammy Kurniawan came on stage. He was set to play Donny’s song “Kano”, but first Donny asked him to play a long solo. He did. Like a wizard he put spell on everyone. If the solo was already magical, his ‘duel’ with Donny doubled it. They flew together exploring the highest terrains, really entertaining as the excitement rose above the roof. They rose the bar higher with “Kano”, a song with high degree of difficulties, yet cleanly executed. The speed, the pace, the adrenaline rush, the dynamics, the precision, all were unbelievable.

Donny Suhendra Band carried on with a song written in 1991 by Donny that finally made its way into the recordings: “The Los Feliz”. It was written after his experience when he went to California with his group JavaJazz (along with Indra Lesmana, Embong Raharjo, AS Mates and Gilang Ramadhan) more than 2 decades ago. This song was the most rockin’ composition for the night. Sharp, edgy, and powerful. This song will appear in Donny Suhendra’s upcoming new album, projected to come in 2015.

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Brury Effendi was back again, but this time with Flugelhorn. Ammy Kurniawan too, entering the scene from the audience’s area. They served Hoagy Carmichael’s classic, “The Nearness of You” in sweet fusion. A surprise came in the end since they sealed this song in an odd way, in keroncong style.

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Time to hear some vocals. Lia Amalia was the first one, singing her favorite “Feeling Good”, a standard from the mid 60’s, which became popular again in 2005 by Michael Buble. Lia showed an awesome control on her voice, soulful yet bluesy, powerful yet smooth. Wow, what a voice.

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She called Dira to replaced her position. She sang a jazz version of R Maladi’s evergreen, “Rangkaian Melati”, in loving memory of her grandparents. After that he cheered everyone up again with a hot samba beat on “Mas Que Nada”. She made the audience sang together while she was dancing just like a Brazilian girl in the carnival.

Donny Suhendra Band served one last instrumental titled “Teen Spirit”, and for the very last song, Lia Amalia sang her song  written by the late artiste Harry Roesli called “Kami Cinta Indonesia”. With this acousticly served song, the whole event was wrapped.

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High caliber band, the special force of jazz fusion in Indonesia was able to bring the absolutely sensational fusion for the 4th Jazz Not Jazz gig. If the band was brilliantly formed from these experts, the featuring artists made it shine even more. Another important thing to mention is, eventhough the rain was heavily poured since the late afternoon, plenty of people still came to enjoy the presentation. Thank you KLCBS, BNI and Prama Grand Preanger for this nice fusion gig, until we meet again in the 5th edition next year.

See more pictures:

Reporter: Riandy Kurniawan
Photographer: Mia Damayanti


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