Braga Jazz Night 33: Funk-O-Rama : The Report

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Funk is rhythm-driven music originated by the African American through a mixture of jazz, soul and R&B. There’s a term jazz-funk referring to the danceable, strong back beat applied into jazz (along with its improvisation and other elements) creating wide musical spectrum. As you can see, Funk can be adapted in variety of genres, inside or outside jazz. But one thing for sure, this electrifying sound with infectious beat usually make us unable to stand still. The groove will make us want to dance, move our body or at least tapping our feet. While it was said to come into existance in mid 60’s, funk was really big throughout the 70’s – 80’s (so big it became one of the most significant movements in modern music history), it has been found blending merrily with many genres from R&B, Soul, Disco, Jazz and so on, and keeps its existance until now.

From time to time we featured bands who have the elements of funk inside their musical concept. We have found it inside soul-jazz, pop jazz, post bop/hard bop and even fusion. Some had it soft, some went wild with it, loud and clear. But for 4 and a half year we run our regular event, we hadn’t got the chance to make it as a theme. Finally for the Braga Jazz Night #33, we could make it by having most of the players who are highly passionate in digging this toxicating side of music and build their crafts upon it. Proudly we presented the combination of legends, very important persons in music industry who have been riding such illustrious career for many years and some of the frontliners in today’s jazz scene in Bandung. We got new band consisting of skillful and high spirited young lads, a talented sibling trio and three masters who have been gaining their experiences as producer, composer, arranger, musician and everything in between for some decades and have made so many significant contributions towards the music industry. These, plus a stunning duo consisting of experts deeply rooted in jazz where funk is included too somewhere along the way.

BragaJazzNight-33-Suryanafis (3)The duo we just mentioned was the first to go. The duo is called SuryaNafis. The name was made from the names of the members: Hardi Suryana (guitar) and YD Nafis (piano). The embryo of this duo was spotted since at least 7 years ago when they realized they had the same passion in jazz and started practicing together. Soon after they found themselves playing around Bandung. The friendship grew into a quartet in 2013. Today they both serve as music instructor in education centre Gita Bawana who generously support this event by providing us the drumset. As for the duo, the journey started in early 2017 when they wish to paint beautiful jazz textures by involving just guitar and piano. While Hardi is a pure jazz guitarist with swing flowing inside his veins, Nafis has wide musical exploration like he has shown in Teslat Manaf ft Mahagotra Ganesha and the stunning West Java Syndicate.

The duo we just mentioned was the first to go. The duo is called SuryaNafis. The name was made from the names of the members: Hardi Suryana (guitar) and YD Nafis (piano). The embryo of this duo was spotted since at least 7 years ago when they realized they had the same passion in jazz and started practicing together. Soon after they found themselves playing around Bandung. The friendship grew into a quartet in 2013. Today they both serve as music instructor in education centre Gita Bawana. As for the duo, the journey started in early 2017 when they wish to paint beautiful jazz textures by involving just guitar and piano. While Hardi is a pure jazz guitarist with swing flowing inside his veins, Nafis has wide musical exploration like he has shown in Teslat Manaf ft Mahagotra Ganesha and the stunning West Java Syndicate.

BragaJazzNight-33-Suryanafis (4)“How Insensitive” became the first pick which directly let everyone taste the sweetness of jazz in simplicity. Both of them established a nutricious dialogue, not with words but the instruments. Uniquely they didn’t bring this song in pure bossa, instead they pinned it in traditional jazz approach. From there they paid respect to the late Riza Arshad by playing one of his compositions originally made for the same format, “Ingat Dulu”. We enjoyed the Serambi Jazz Kolektiv’s version of it in last month’s edition, but Suryanavis’ way was really nice too. They worked the unique chord progression very well along with opening more than enough space to stream freely.

They still got two more songs. First, the jazz standard “Stella By Starlight” presented in shimmering, glittery approach, then showed how good they are in facing up a challenging composition like another standard composed by Benny Golson, “Killer Joe”. They drained any energy they still left inside on this one.

The combination of swingin’ guitar sensation by Hardi and finger dancing over the keys by Nafis work like a charm. These two masters were like painters sketching jazz on the canvas. If you are a jazz lover, you should already familiar with the beauty of simplicity that guitar-piano connection could create. Many have done it, including the late Riza Arshad in two album, with legendary Oele Pattiselano and about a decade later with Robert Mulyarahardja. Now SuryaNafis are adding the pleasure in this category. For us, what they do is important to keep Indonesian jazz filled with variety.

BragaJazzNight-33-Impression (5)The second session showcased a trio consists of brothers: Impression. We have noticed their creativity not long after they were formed in 2012. Siblings Kukuh Bagus Imana (drums), Rainanda Anugrah Imanullah (keys/vocal) and Figra Briliansah (bass) are all self-taught, yet they have caught our attention when they were still around 13-19 year-old. Since then, the boys have graced many events, big and small, from jazz communities in Bandung and Depok, joining the Stage Bus Jazz Tour 2016 alongside Teza Sumendra and Sierra Soetedjo all the way to play in such festivals like Mahadarma and Kota Baru Parahyangan’s Locafore. Now after they are entering the 5th year, finally we got them on the Braga Jazz Night stage.

These young boys directly went full force. The first ‘victim’ was a song from Marcus Miller’s Afrodeezia album in 2015, “Son of Macbeth”. The power beat, sharp on-point keyboard playing and ferocious slap bass instantly caught the attention of the audience and mall goers. Then they took Snarky Puppy’s song “What About Me (We Like It Here)”. If the original song was built within a large ensemble of Michael League’s band, these boy amazingly able to fit it into just trio without losing the intensity and richness of the song at all.

BragaJazzNight-33-Impression (2)As more and more people gathered in, they went wild again with another Marcus Miller’s “Blast”. Figra stood in front like a warrior, demonstrating his fierceful bass slaping. After these three songs, they seemed to have lots of energy to nail a song from Spyrogyra, “Make It Mine”. While Kukuh filled the hall with his rich beat, Rai used his voice too in this one while keeping his grip on the boards. As for Figra, he stepped forward in letting us feel the intensity not just through his play but also his stage act.

As you can see, interesting song choice and the way they execute each of the songs made a strong statement that Impression is a really good band. Manic slap bass, adventurous keys exploration and solid, sharp drum beat delivered funk in raging fire.  “I want more and more people to enjoy jazz, and a community event like this really helped to make it happen.” said Rai. For us, we are glad to bring a band like Impression to show that Bandung is indeed blessed with many interesting young talents. The fact that they are siblings and how close they are to one another will help in keeping the band solid. Funk on fusion shone bright from the first second until the very last drop. Great band.

BragaJazzNight-33-Funktop- (1)The blazing funk fire was kept by a newborn band who did their debut on our stage. The band’s called Funktop. Looking at the name, you would be able to take a guess that the band has funk as its roots or core. That’s true, but what they bring is not an easy one. Instead, these young dudes are like wild explorers in the funk world, and they don’t hesitate to toxicate the audience with their high dose of funk poison.

It was the Singapore-based keyboardist Jason Limanjaya who informed us of this band. This is the next chapter of his funk-movement after his unfortunate short Jean Denis Trio period. Jason is still young, but he knows exactly what he wants, musically speaking. This man is clearly into jazz, but he loves to be more specific. It didn’t take long time for him to find the players for the band, which turned out to be an all-star cast from the new generation in Bandung jazz scene: proud members of 5Petani Frank Navayo (guitar) and Gerson Valdo (keys), drummer of Baru, GFRtrio and AFA Trio Raka Rizkyandi, Aries Ardiansyah (bass) and the sensational 14 year-old boy who began his career from this event: Philip Manfred Trio (sax). Certainly, these names are no stranger to us and this event. All passionate, all gifted.

Eventhough the band is still around a month old, they mean business in presenting their crafts. Look at how the began with, pinning a song from Herbie Hancock’s 1974 album ‘Thrust’ which many consider to be one of the best jazz-funk album ever recorded. The song’s called “Actual Proof”. Jason worked his keyboard and led his 5 other compatriotes to victory. Soulful groove wrapped the free flowing jazz in exploring the contagious musical terrain.

BragaJazzNight-3-Funktop (10)Then they played their original song written by Frank Navayo, “Loose Logic”. Again, the magic was found all over the track. Plenty of manouvers, solo runs, twists and turns were found in it. Surprise, surprise, a young man approached the stage and started moving his feet and body, then escalated his moves into a street dance! This man’s name is Rafi Aria aka Baba. Soon after two of her friends also from Bandung Street Dance Community joined in. The crowds who didn’t expect a collaboration like this cheered and threw applauses, especially at the climax where one of the dancers did a windmill, a popular b-boy move usually found in breakdance. It’s not often to see the collaboration between funk jazz and street dance here in Indonesia, for us it’s still unexplored, so this move hopefully will open the way for many more collaboration and exploration. We are sure it will give benefit to both side and to the world of music (jazz) and (street) dance as well. What a pleasant surprise, brilliant! We are thrilled that this action took place in this event.

BragaJazzNight-3-Funktop (4)Next came a song written by the youngest member of the band, Philip Manfred Pincencia who is still 14 years old titled “Midnight Hope”. This song gave us the chance to cool down and feel the smooth funk groove. For the last song, they gave a song which we think describe who they are perfectly, “Some Skunk Funk” by The Brecker Brothers. Clearly these guys still had a lot of energy to use this song in dropping the funk bombs. Gerson and Jason’s fingers abused the keys with no mercy. The solid drum playing by Raka was remarkable, the combination of funk rhythm and jazz improvisation we got from Frank and Aries was stunning, and the young Philip mingled perfectly with the guys through his forthright sax-statement.

This session was served in high-octane action which would make any funk lovers go high. Not only the manic improvisation in each song, the dynamic and progression, ecstatic happiness was beamed from their faces and gestures. We hope the band will last long, because if they are keep doing what they are doing, Sky is the limit. These boys have the right to be proud of themselves for being able to give full strike of funk attack like this. They could (or better, should) march on and sing a twist of Queen’s anthem, “We will, we will funk you!”

BragaJazzNight-33-TrioFunk (5)BragaJazzNight-33-TrioFunk (10)It’s certainly a privilege for us to present three very important persons in today’s music industry in a trio named Trio Funk. These are masters whose contribution is so massive with long spanning illustrious career that earn them the right to be called legend.

First, there was Teffy Mayne. He is the man behind many big names, solo or group/band, standing tall as the producer and arranger, including the very popular musical group of the 90’s who has been returning back on scene for the past couple of years, Lingua. Some of his other activities at this very moment are being one of the executive producers of the upcoming “Amazing Memories” album in which he also helps to promote newcome Ardina Glenda who sings the single co-written by Teffy. Eventhough he has been keeping himself busy as producer and arranger, occassionally he joins some stage projects where he can enjoy his role as a musician and also works as product specialist for Yamaha Music Indonesia.

BragaJazzNight-33-TrioFunk (4)Joining Teffy in this trio are two brothers who have been pursuing their career since childhood: Inang Noorsaid and Iwang Noorsaid. Inang and Iwang are two of the famous Said Kelana children (the rest are Idham, Irommy, Lydia and Imaniar). The siblings formed a band together more than 40 years ago as The Kids (later known as The Big Kids). In the mid 80’s Iwang and Inang co-found a fusion group Emerald that stands as one of the legendary supergroups with lots of achievements today. Iwang keeps himself busy in many projects such as Iwan Fals, Gilang Ramadhan and many more. He has also involved in some legendary rock bands like Gong 2000 and God Bless. Other than having his existance as a keyboardist, he is known as a BragaJazzNight-33-TrioFunk (7)successful producer of many bands, including some from Malaysia. As for Inang, his drum playing also has contributed big deals in Indonesian music scene. Some of his substantial works can be found in Funk Section and Tohpati among others. What’s great about this brothers is that they have been supporting each other from the start. As for with Teffy Mayne, they have been working together in many projects for a long time too, including the upcoming new album of Lingua which is set to release next month. This album will mark the return of this popular band from the 90’s.

According to Teffy, the birth of this trio actually came alive from their frequent meetings while working on the projects. They love to play together in free time, so why not establishing what they are doing as a band. The combination of Teffy Mayne and brothers Inang and Iwang Noorsaid as Trio Funk is like fusing three big forces that can create explosion. The skill, the experience, the passion, all create huge blasts. Plus, what they are doing is actually innovative. Perhaps it’s still difficult for most of the young musicians to explore the world of funk without having chunky rhythm from bass player. But Teffy, Inang and Iwang think outside the box. Combining their background and ability, they know they can create something in different way. As a result, a trio like this offers an alternative in creating musical realm that any of the young musicians could learn from and use as an inspiration. Instead of having a usual combination of instruments in a trio, these gentlemen utilize no less than 5 keyboards, synthesizer and drum. Unique formation? You bet.

BragaJazzNight-33-TrioFunk (2)Tonight Trio Funk spread the joyful soulful jazz funk by having the support from Irama Musik who provided the keyboards and some other equipments. The awesomeness was clearly felt since the first second. What they play is built upon a keyboard-centric concept, in wich Teffy and Iwang play interchangeable roles. One keyboardist keeps the bassline by using the PSR keyboard plaved on the top deck, while the other hand does the melody line in sync with his fellow keyboardist on the other side. What they are doing is not just sounding the bass, but they make it rich as if a bass player is there with them.  It’s very hard for two keyboard masters to perform in sync, especially when both players love to stream up and down the keys in full freedom and speed. While the arrangement is tight and clean as evident by the same chord extensions used by both keyboardists in every item, they have no clash. Placed in the middle, Inang did his role as  the drummer in triumph, showing why he has been considered as a top-notch drummer in our music scene for some decades.

On the second song titled “Morning View”, Iwang did a stunning opening by showcasing his ability as a key-wiz. His lightning speed fingers created such glittery sketch which invited us to celebrate a beautiful morning view. Soon after, Teffy and Inang contributed in completing the sketch. A really beautiful song actually didn’t stop them from running extreme manouvers, amazingly without breaking all the beauty aspects of it.

For the third song they did a cover of Radiohead’s hit, “High and Dry”. Here, we once again found the evidence of how Teffy and Iwang work in perfect sync. We found no clash in timbre since they knew what to do. For example, when Teffy used rhodes sound, Iwang played the vibraphone. As a result, rich, solid texture dressed the song differently. Trio Funk isn’t the first band who cover it, yet they have made a whole new approach which gives a whole new alternative in enjoying the song.

BragaJazzNight-33-TrioFunk (11)Having enough shot on instrumental tracks, Teffy then called a special guest star Arie Widiawan in. Arie is one of the members of the popular band from the 90’s, Lingua which Teffy is currently in charge as the producer. He began with Tevin Campbell’s famous song in 1993, “Can We Talk” which was redressed in smooth funky glamorous neo soul. Some of the audience still remember this song as we saw them sing along, while some others should have their memory refreshed again. After that, Arie shared how he got into music. “Eventhough I took the pop path with Lingua in my career, actually I got interested into music after buying Stanley Clarke and Ramsey Lewis album.” he said, stating that jazz actually is no stranger to him, even becoming the music that inspired him to be who he is.

The next song was “Thinking Out Loud”. Unlike the original version by Ed Sheeran, this time the song was rearranged with more blues. For the last song, Trio Funk and Arie brought up a party by nailing a big hit of M.E. from year 1998, “Inikah Cinta”. The funky beat of urban neo soul Trio Funk put over the arrangement actually refreshed this song while Arie led the crowds to sing along with him out loud. This happy tune brought joy to the audience and perfectly served a cool climax to this edition.

Words can’t describe how proud we are of having Trio Funk in our small jazz community event. Not only we got the chance to introduce a unique form of jazz right from the master, we are happy to be able to provide the educational side through this event. True, the sound of funk can shine so bright from the electric bass, but from Teffy, Iwang and Inang now we know that the blazing funk fire can still be explored in other ways. What these cats give is important especially for the young musicians who wish to find new perspective in building their career. We deeply appreciate the support given by Teffy Mayne, Iwang and Inang Noorsaid to our community. Words can’t express how proud we are to have you in this event.

BragaJazzNight-33-Tidbits (3)The Braga Jazz Night editions in 2017 have been full with special editions. From the Lunar New Year (Night at Old Shanghai) in January, a tribute to honor the late Riza Arshad (for Riza Arshad) in February, this March edition was made to spread the joy of jazz funk (Funk-O-Rama) brought to you by the combination of young lions and those who have done it much earler and achieve succcess. We love how it turned out and hope everyone who watched this edition would know that funk is so infectious when it’s injected to jazz. Thank you all artists in this month’s lineup, kudos to you all.

BragaJazzNight-33-PhotoGroupNext month we will feature a female jazz pianist coming all the way from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She is a native Indonesia, only she has been living there following her husband. We will let you know more soon. Keep yourself updated by following our social medias: @jazzuality (Twitter, Instagram, Path and Facebook). Thank you and keep supporting us and local musicians. See you again soon.

Watch the Braga Jazz Night 33 : Funk-O-Rama highlight:

Special thanks to KPH Music, Gita Bawana, Zahar Mustilaq and Irama Musik for providing the music instruments and equipments

See more pictures:

Reporter and photographer: Riandy Kurniawan
Video Editor: Vierna Mariska Kurniawan  .

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