5th Asean Jazz Festival – Day 2 : Report

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Day two of the Asean Jazz Festival 2012! After an awesome time on the previous day, we had plenty unforgettable moments coming from artists around Indonesia, South East Asia and other parts of the world. If you missed out on day one, you can check out the full report of it here http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/5th-asean-jazz-festival-2012-day-1-report  because it was as good as the day two line up. So who and what did we have on day two?

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Just like yesterday, the band from Batam opened up the day-two show early at 5:00 pm. This time it was Cheppy & Friends who gave a strong impression in representing their hometown, taking away the Economy Creative Stage for 45 minutes. It was interesting to see this band dared to deliver some cool light fusion with strong smell of ethnic by having a kendang player, Ujang. They brought Betawi nuance on “Jali-Jali” , Balinese ambience with thick Javanese layers on “Djanger Bali”, then went lighter with “Agua De Beber” before unleashing everything they got on “Gembala”. This band has personnels with good technique, all in all they made such a strong start for the second day.

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At 6:15 pm the show continued on with two stages got heated at once. On the Economy Creative Stage the audiences got really nice pop-jazz treats. First let’s see Iwan Abdie. From his first breakthrough by joining Gita Wirjawan (the current Minister of Trade of Indonesia)’s multi-national team, Bali Lounge 2 in 2007, he just opened up a “Brand New Day” by going solo since 2 years ago. By having such a good singing ability that reminds us of the ‘lighter’ voice of John Legend, he looks forward to place himself among the top male singers in Indonesia with is cool performance on stage, always a good ear and eye feed.

Just a couple of days ago we enjoyed his performance in Bandung with Salamander Big Band (read the report here). This time he delivered his passion and calling with full band by singing some of his originals like “Brand New Day” and “Kumau Kau Ada” and covers including John Legend’s “Ordinary People” “Dahulu” and “Feeling Good”,  the song he chose to start with and pinned in in rockin’ cool cat style. The Farabi Band (Eink-guitar, Andreas Kuple-bass, Shinta  Lestarini (keys), Roberto Joko (piano) and Seffrino (drums) accompanied him on stage very well.

[flickr id=”7425665806″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”right”] What’s even more special in this show was the return of all-time popular singer, Ita Purnamasari. She was all over the music scene in the late 80’s until mid 90’s at least, but later she decided to slow her activity down to focus more in her role as the wife of Dwiki Dharmawan and also a mother. We rarely hear about her since then (although she occasionally made some appearances here and there), but her sweet, satin-soft voice is very well remembered by adult music fans in Indonesia.

It’s great to see her again on stage showing her jazzy side witrhout having to loose her remarkable pop touch. She opened up with “Making Love Or Nothing At All” and then made people ran towards her stage because she asked some audiences to sing her classic “Cintaku Padamu” and awarded them free CDs as well. She closed this session with a joyful song everyone know from Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR), “Have You Ever Seen the Rain”. Lovely party for pop/pop jazz fans was nailed totally in this show.

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Whilst at the Creative Economy Stage, one of the shiniest guitar players from our new generation, Nikita Dompas gave out powerful performance together with his group, Nikita Dompas Quartet. As an artist, Nikita is a full package. He can play the guitar in rainbow-like musical colors, but he also spends his time as a music director and producer too. He’s the current music director for Andien, at the same time, one of the members of the awe-inspiring avant-funk band, Tomorrow People Ensemble. In his quartet he brought his long time fellows such as the experienced drummer Rayendra Sunito, multi talented keyboardist Ali Akbar and bassist Bonar Abraham. What they served was more than just a music. This band delivered a bad-ass funk that could make people high. Powerful, lively, full with spirit and energy. Through set of songs covering John Scofield’s “Idiofunk”, “Freakin Disco” and “What You See is What You Get”  , even a surprise to see Nikita sang on a timeless “People Get Ready”,  Nikita Dompas Quartet managed to capture all the essences of jazz including enough space for improvisations and skillfull jazz showcases, all packed with the joy.

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Back to the Wonderful Indonesia Stage we got Indrawan Tjhin Group. The group which had just gone through a reshuffle of new members, all young and energetic with William Sugianto (drums), Yudha Gautama Putra (sax) and Gabriella Sava Puteri Miranda (Ella). This formation of four seems to be perfect to accompany Indrawan in bringing up his concept alive. He even stated that he’s happy with the progress and mention about an album to release soon. We saw them at this year’s Java Jazz Festival, and we’re happy to see them again in another big, international festival at the Harbour Bay, Batam.

[flickr id=”7425773802″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”] As the band looks forward to complete their debut album, the audiences of the 5th Asean Jazz Festival got the chance to listen to some of Tjhin’s original compositions incuding “Pete’s Tune”, To Chris For Comfort”, Thelonious Monk’s “Panonica” and “Amalia van Solmstraat” which featured Natasha Patamapongs and the brand new song “Urang Udik Anak Tanjong”. Other than these, they also gave one lovely cover of Monk’s classic, “Straight No Chaser”. They presented a straigh-ahead performance showing passion towards their own style of music. Other than having a wonderful straight-ahead jazz treat, they caught the audiences’ attention too by some wild sax lines of Yudha and Indrawan’s facial expression that showed how joyful he felt while dancing up his fingers on the contrabass. William and Ella did their part very well too. This side of jazz is not popular among the young bands, but we’re lucky to have them to preserve it in Indonesia. It might not be easy to play, it might be challenging, but they did it really, really well. Wonderful, ITG, Keep it up!

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Having two shows being served at the same time surely had you on such a dilemmatic decision. For those who couldn’t get to both stages, don’t worry we have it all reviewed for you! First, on the Economy Creative Stage we had a group filled with emerging young lions named Urban Phat. This group consists of all young musicians with already lots of experiences in playing at the real circuit. Fajar Adi Nugroho plays bass in Indro Hardjodikoro and the Fingers and Jemima‘s Orgasmic Brothers as well as being a sessionist in many occasion, Rafi is a rare talent who started to play his drums before he reached 10 years old and even had the legendary Harvey Mason as his producer. Then, Andy Gomez who is now active in several other groups such as ESQI:EF, and last but not least, the saxophonist who are currently very busy in the scene, Damez Nababan. They all come from different backgrounds, yet in this group they showed a very strong collective work.

The last time we saw them was at the Java Jazz Festival 2012 . Now they seemed to have even tighter bonds and chemstry to one another. They delivered songs including “ESP”, “Phat Town”, “Groovin’ High”, “Jumpin'”, “Moment’s Notice” and “Funky Town”. On this stage we got cool funk  with splashes of urban beat. Brave, bold and skillful these young lions are, plus they still have lots of time to improve. All promise a better future for them, and for jazz as well.

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The third stage presented jazz with a thick ethnical nuance with Wildan and Bira from Saung Angklung Udjo . The show was called Angklung Jazz Ensemble, where Dwiki Dharmawan and his trio also performed (with Shadu Shah Chaidar and Demas Narawangsa) and once again appeared in a different act. With having a surprising guest star kendang player Ade Rudiana, this show captured Dwiki’s calling in representing our own traditional ethno-musicology inside the jazz pattern, something that he’s been digging for many years. Like that wasn’t cool enough, Dwiki even rose the intensity by bringing the experienced British trumpeter in the Indonesian jazz scene, Ian Ingram, percussionist Steve Thornton and Philippines’ bassist Jeri De Leon.

[flickr id=”7426431648″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”] The collaboration between Saung Angklung Udjo and Dwiki Dharmawan has been going on for quite many years. They have performed side by side in many events, like The Spirit of Angklung Musical Presentation, the performance at the Java Jazz Festival 2011 and at Museumsuferfest in Frankfurt (2008)  just to mention a few. At the Asean Jazz Festival Dwiki’s Trio and Ian Ingram blended in perfect harmony with Wildan and Bira from Saung Angklung Udjo. We remember Dwiki once said that angklung is beautiful and has melodious tunes. Indeed he’s right. Other than giving up one lovely attraction, Dwiki and the team reminded us of how beautiful our own traditional musical heritage is. At the same time here we could once again feel the magic created when the Western jazz meets the Eastern musicology represented by the Angklung ensemble. It was a lovely show indeed, charming and mystically enchanting.

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[flickr id=”7426454858″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”right”] If you came here to enjoy jazz in a different atmosphere from different multi-national collaborations, well then you got just what you want! A splendid round from French guitarist Jeremy Tordjman, our own popular bassist Barry Likumahuwa and an all-round drummer from US who currently busy playing around Asia, Erik Hargrove. This trio has been playing together under Jeremy Tordjman Group throughout 2012. It might be based on Jeremy’s journey through the African lands, Morocco to Comoro Islands in his childhood or from his passion in exploring different sides of music from rock, blues, funk to various jazz styles, but what he presents is something different than what we know as traditional jazz. He simply calls it Fuzzy Jazz Groove, a set of words that’s perfect to describe the sound you will [flickr id=”7426454032″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”] hear during his play. After watching the video of their performance at No Black Tie in Kuala Lumpur, we finally got the chance to watch them live right in front of our eyes. This trio delivered cool funky fusion  with lots of action in front of around thousands of audiences.

What’s interesting is that this time they added some challenges by featuring the famous ‘jazz’ rapper, Kyriz Boogiemen. “We challenge ourselves with Kyriz, we want to see how the music will turn out by having him in”, said Barry to us. Well, they widened their soundscape for sure. The Fuzzy Jazz Groove already stood out and felt uniquely different, but now the twist which was brought by the ever-energetic Kyriz added more nuances into their act.

If before we only watched them on online videos, this time we’re finally able to see them in real. Just three of them (plus one), but look at how many parts of music they brought in into their play. We captured assorted jazz flavors, blues, funk and many more, including the urbanesque hip-hop by Kyriz. We say it’s a good decision to invite them, because they really added much more colors into the pallette. Superb it was!

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Speaking of unique soundscape, we had an earfeast from formerly known as Trioscapes but now renamed as Riza3scapes. The change was made to avoid confusion with another group from a different continent. Although the name has change, their craft is still the same, mostly based on the early scene of jazz-rock called subtle funk. This group is brought alive by three maestros: keyboardist Riza Arshad, funky-bassist Yance Manusama and drummer Aksan Sjuman. Since years ago they have presented many wonderful shows and also two albums so far. Always able to mesmerize the audience in every way, we are glad they could deliver their signature of subtle funk along with spontaneous improvisations that added a unique value and something that really shone on stage. As other gigs of them we covered before, the trio opened up an invitation to enter the side of jazz we may rarely visited. They played in humbly, just like having ordinary conversations to one another, but actually they presented something really rich and classy, both in style and skill. Sets of songs including “The Three”, “Early Xpectations”, “Beyond Doubtness”, Minor Importance” and “Get Ready did keep us entertained in high level. Bravo Riza3scapes!

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At the other stage The Brag Pack reprised their full action package after a sensational performance yesterday. Sri Hanuraga (piano), Paul Rutschka (bass), Dániel Mester (tenor/soprano sax) and Roald Becher (drums) once again served their wide array of musicality to stun everyone coming to their act. Some audiences who might have missed them at day one got their second chance. For us who have watched them, we were happy to enjoy the second round. As this time they were set to play at the Economy Creative Stage, it was really nice to see them all wearing Batik, listed by UNESCO as one of the Intangible Cultural Herritage. They soon will go back to Amsterdam, but what they gave to us will surely be remembered for a long time. The best of success for you guys! Have a safe trip, we hope to see you back again in the near future.

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Starting her proffesional career back in her mid teens in 2000 and still standing as a very popular jazz diva today, Indonesian sweetheart closed the show with a pretty performance. Yep, it was Andien! Being in the industry for  approximately 12 years, she is still as breathtaking as she always is where her elegance, sweetness and cuteness still sticks with her. With vocals soft and satin-smooth, she is listed as one of the top stars and a must-have in almost every jazz event in Indonesia. Besides her beautiful voice, she’s also sweet on the eyes and camera lenses for those who like to capture amazing moments on stage.

[flickr id=”7427354700″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”] Being tired because she had to perform at Urban Jazz Crossover 2012 in Surabaya just a night before (along with Barry Likumahuwa, Ali Akbar and Kyriz Boogiemen), she managed to appear fresh on stage for the final show. “Sahabat Setia” became the first presentation from her and her compatriotes, Nikita Dompas (guitar), Rayendra Sunito (drums), Ali Akbar (keyboards)  and Bonar Abraham (bass). She carried on with a cover of Trie Utami’s classic “Keraguan” which also included in her album “Kirana” [flickr id=”7427355410″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”right”] then went romantic with “Gemintang”, the title track of her 2005 album in medley with “Pulang” and “Tentang Aku” which also sang by a choir of thousands people.

The joyful groove  on “Milikmu Selalu” created lovely atmosphere to everyone and rose it even higher with her single from 2010, “Moving On”. A surprise came in this song because she invited Dwiki Dharmawan to enter the stage, and many other participants followed him, including the complete team of The Brag [flickr id=”7427351128″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”] Pack, Steve Thornton and Ian Ingram. The stage then became a spot for jam session with the spirit of jazz reached the climax.

Two days of jazz-a-vaganza, served grand in so many flavors and having jazz presented on the bay in a city strategically located near to some of our neighbouring countries, the 5th Asean Jazz Festival 2012 created such a different vibe than other events we’ve covered so far. No less than 10 countries participated this year, and to top it off, the cross-country collaborations were all magnificent! Symbolically speaking, it represented the spirit of togetherness and friendship among nations, a harmonization and sign of peace that we can apply in other aspects of our lives because jazz itself could be the reflection of a perfect vehicle to send this message.

This event has gained many positive aspects including a great way of promoting the beautiful city of Batam and also works as an effort to bring more tourists to come and visit. As the music director, Dwiki Dharmawan has done an amazing job in selecting the participants, setting up the concept, dealing with varieties and preparing the schedule. For two days, the number of attendees could reach about 10.000 people, and what’s amazing is they all showed good vibes by being enthusiastic and expressive. All in all, Batam should once again be proud for having such successful classy annual jazz event.

To Dwiki Dharmawan, the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy Republic of Indonesia, Province of Kepulauan Riau, the city of Batam, all the performers and everybody else involved in this event, we send our ovation, gratitude and respect. May there be more tourists that come to visit Batam, and may this event always play its role as the miniature of one peaceful world where everybody can live in harmony. We already miss the Asean Jazz Festival! But not to worry, it’ll be on again next year before you even realize it. Can’t wait? Us too! Therefore we hope it will be bigger and badder than ever. Adios till next year, and keep jazzin’, Batam!

See more pictures:

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Reporter: Riandy Kurniawan and Khairiyah Sartika Syofian
Photographer: Anggha Nugraha, Yockie Verinico Simamora

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