February 21st, 2013 became a great occasion for us to have the beautiful piano recital comes from an outstanding pianist from France, Bojan Z at Institut Français Indonesia (IFI) Jl. Purnawarman no 32 Bandung. His name might still be unfamiliar to us in Indonesia, but actually this jazz artiste has established his name very well in the European jazz scene. With his delightful sense of jazz, the concert turned out really awesome as he presented something with his Balkan folk music background. It completely gave us something new since we don’t hear this style of music often, especially in live performance.
Jazz as a dynamic, progressive and very open minded music always blend in with the local music traditions. From time to time, from the hands of maestros came many new jazz hybrids, often by having the influence of these local cultures. It wasn’t easy for us before to be able to see artists from the other parts of the world, say Europe for example, which could show us the different sound of jazz. But now through the European embassies and/or cultural centres, today we can enjoy various European jazz brought by the best players in the game while at the same time, getting updated with the most current jazz scene in that continent. The Institut Français Indonesia is one of the most active cultural centres from Europe which regularly brings the remarkable jazz artists from their France to our nation.
Bojan Zulfikarpašic, the real name of Bojan Z was born in a musical family in Belgrade. He learnt piano since he was five. He was lucky to be born from parents that played piano. Other than piano, his father was also playing guitar. He started by learning classical and folks before he digged jazz when he was around fourteen. In his teenage years he got hooked by variety of great artists, ranging from The Beatles, Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Also in his teenage years he already started playing in bands and established himself as one of the name in Yugoslav jazz.
Then Bojan moved to France. As a talented man, it didn’t take long for him to make his name heard, not only in France but throughout the whole Europe. His participation in a successful quartet, Azur opened up this chance in 1991. But what’s great about him is he has been keeping his eyes and ears open. While he performs around the continent, he feeds himself with the local cultures of the places he visits. This enables himself to upgrade his musical reference wider and richer. You can see him as a brilliant artist today, but with this kind of passion and ‘habit’, only God knows who he will become in years from now.
Now let’s jump to the concert. Before piano recital started, Christ Stanley, the pianist of Halfwhole Project who also stands as the curator of Saung Jazz, a regular jazz concert brought by IFI Stanley greeted everyone and gave a welcome speech followed by the Chairman of IFI Bandung, Louis Presset. Then Bojan Z came up, dressing nicely in Batik. He also gave some nice words about Indonesia. He’s never been here before, so he was very happy to be here.
He brought up the action by using grand piano and Rhodes altogether. In this lovely concert he played mostly from the new album “Soul Shelter,” released in 2012. Speaking more of his discography, he was signed under Label Bleu and released his debut album in USA under Bojan Z Quartet entitled “Yopla!” in 1995. Four years later, he made a breakthrough by making up a multi-ethnical project Koreni (1999) by inviting 8 musicians from different sides of the world, including an Algerian percussionist, Ney player from Turkey, rock guitarist from Macedonia and two bassists from Beograd). “Solobsession” (2001) got huge success and gave him some awards, including the prestigious “Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” from the French government. The next project were “Transpacifik” (2003), “Xenophonia” (2006), and “Humus” (2010) before the latest album we mentioned.
On the stage, Bojan Z gave a good opening by knocking his grand piano and picked the piano strings to make a bass-like sound. Then he played “Full Half Moon” from his latest album. More and more he pulled us closer with his music. After this song, he continued with “Sweet Shelter Of Mine”, “Bohemska”, “Hometown”, and then presented a sparkly, shining “Solobsession”. “Dad’s Favorite” served in full respect to honor his father. Next he delivered “Sizuit” which means “Forever” in English. He gave a pleasant surprise by playing “Bandung Blues”, which none of us expected. As much as we loved it, he had to seal his session by playing his version of “On A Turqouise Cloud” originally by Duke Ellington.
Though his play in this beautiful jazz piano recital, he brought us traveled a wonderous journey through European music scene. In many parts he looked seriously into his play, but he’s really a delightful person. Near the end of the show he teased the crowds, for example like he was about to end the song but suddenly he continued his play again. The enthusiasm from the audience who gave a long applause and asked for more, something we know as the encore can be the indicator of respect and appreciation towards the artists. As for Bojan Z concert, he was called again by the audience not only once but twice! You can imagine how much we loved him and his performance.
We thank Bojan Z for giving up one beautiful concert, we also send our grattitude to IFI for bringing him to Indonesia. We hope there will be many more to come in 2013, so we can taste, feel, hear, see and experience jazz with European aroma especially from French music ‘chef’. Merci beaucoup!
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