Braga Jazz Night 35 : Jazziversary : The Report

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Our brainchild the Braga Jazz Night (formerly known as Braga Jazz Walk) in cooperation with Braga CityWalk was born not long after the mall’s reborn in 2014. This mall was built in 2004 and launched at the Asian-African Conference 2005 but then went under heavy reconstruction for a year. 18 May 2014 marks the reopening which was made grand by inviting Kahitna. We actually had launched the pilot episode a couple of months earlier, still under a different name (http://jazzuality.com/jazz-events/braga-jazz-and-jamz-1-the-report/), but not until September we finally started this as a regular event. (read the coverage of the very first edition here: http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/braga-jazz-walk-premiere-edition-the-report/).

3 years later today, the Braga Jazz Night is still running and growing. If this event were a tree, it has bean bearing a lot of nice fruits. There are successful musicians today actually started their career by debuting on this stage. Some made their way to the prestigious international festivals, some have played in the big league along with stars and legends, some has gone abroad, some others have entered the recordings. Looking back to the time when we created this event, we wished to contribute to the regeneration of jazz musicians especially in Bandung where we are based in. We wanted the event to have the edutainment concept, which means people can both enjoy and learn from each edition. So, we feel blessed whenever we see any of the musicians from our event make a successful move in their career. What surprise us is, this is not the only kind of fruit this event bore, because this event has welcomed many famous, iconic and experienced stars, even legends from the Indonesian jazz scene, also international musicians from all around the world. As a small, non sponsored community event, we consider these achievements as a blessing.

What a coincidence that our schedule (the third Thursday of each month) fell on the exact date of Braga CityWalk’s reborn. When we noticed this, we immidiately worked on making it as a festive celebration while still keeping up all the essences we have been carrying inside the concept. The Braga Jazz Night #35 turned out to be more than just that. One superb band consisting of competition winners from Jakarta, one fusion band from Bandung who recently released their debut album, one joint project of talented, passionate and skillful young guns and a debut gig of a 16 year-old singer blazed the stage for around 3 hours straight – making this 35th edition as the parade of the jazz force from the younger generation.

Braga Jazz Night 35 - Madeline (6)The 16 year-old girl who is still in the 1st grade of highschool started first. Her name is Madeline Abigail Dione, a proud student of the fruitful, well established music school in Bandung, M.E. Music Centre, founded by Michelle Efferin. Madeline actually is not a stranger to this event since she has been on stage a couple of times from supporting her teacher and music school owner Michelle Efferin’s shows to backing the Australian renowned jazz singer Jessica Kung’s show in this event last February. We discussed the possibility to push her forward with Michelle and supported the school in preparing Madeline. She has been learning in this school for 9 years, so we think it’s about time to place her under the spotlight.

In her debut gig, Madeline got substantial support from some other good students of M.E. Music Centre. Joining her were Jostein Adams (guitar), Indra Wong (bass), Jennifer GM (drum), Kevin Chrisandy (piano/vocal). Facing large number of audience, Madeline started with the classic happy, danceable song of Irving Berlin from 1935 which was also covered by Lady Gaga and the great Tony Bennett 3 years ago,  “Cheek to Cheek”. This song was perfect as the opening because it directly filled everyone’s heart with joy. Other than that, this song suits Madeline’s cheerful personality and also an ideal playground for her and the band. Speaking of the band, while they all did their part really well, Kevin’s solo run was delightful.

Madeline carried on with “My Funny Valentine” where she demonstrated her ability to sing and play piano at the same time. Then Kevin was back on piano for a bittersweet cover of Raisa’s “Usai Di Sini”.

Braga Jazz Night 35 - Madeline (5)After that came a surprise because Madeline made a turn no one would expected. No bassist, no drummer, no guitar, but she’s got company, a fellow singer also from ME Music School, Naomi Kumala. Kevin who still on stage didn’t just provide the melody but he sang as well. Madeline, Naomi and Kevin formed a solid vocal trio singing Leonard Cohen’s evergreen, “Hallelujah”. They sealed the performance by giving up one last party with Stevie Wonder’s 1974 single which became a signature hit of Incognito almost 2 decades later, “Don’t You Worry Bout A Thing.” Loud applause and cheers poured down on them in the end.

Braga Jazz Night 35 - Madeline (4)If before we have seen her as a supporting singer, now Madeline shows that she can stand in front. She has a beautiful smile and good vibe on stage. Having a good band enables her to bring out the best in her. Speaking of the band, the players shows how well M.E Music Centre does in equipping and shaping up a solid unit. We are happy to meet a female drummer Jennifer who can swing, the rockin’ young guitarist Jostein, the gifted pianist/singer Kevin and the considerably senior bassist, Indra. They served Madeline in the best way possible.

We would like to see more from them in the future. Madeline has successfully done her debut, we hope this would become a start of something good for her music career. There are many other students from M.E Music Centre that deserve the same chance to be featured. We know it and we will do that. In the end, we salute Michelle Efferin and her institution for producing good quality of talents. We are always proud to have you as our partner in crime! Happy 11th Anniversary M.E. Music Centre! Wish you many more fruitful and successful years ahead.

Braga Jazz Night 35 - Restoration Project (2)The second act featured a joint project of a pack of talented musicians from the younger generation in Bandung called Restoration Project. If you follow the most recent jazz scene in this city or regularly read and watch our regular event, you would find that most of them are no stranger. There is Anjuan Julio, a young guitarist full with jazz soul that has been shining since more than 6 years ago. He is now one of the AFA Trio, a jazz-rock band that is currently preparing its debut album. Then, pianist Gerson Valdo Siahaan. This man is one of the personnels of fusion band 5Petani and active in other projects too including Funktop we featured right here two months ago. Both AFA Trio and 5Petani are now standing tall in Bandung’s jazz scene and have represented Bandung in Java Jazz Festival.

Bassist Ilham Septia Inda Nugraha and drummer Galih Cahya Nugraha are considered as seniors among the younger generation in our city. Other than playing together in Etudiant, they have been contributing in many bands throughout the years. Ilham also plays for Madame & Toean, the vintage Gypsy Swing-Chanson Francaise ensemble. On the second keyboard is a new face to this event but not an unknown for us, Ratih Putria. We know she has her own trio too that we would like to feature soon. The vocalist is Rosaline ‘Ocha’ Devina. Just like Ratih, we have heard about her but this was her first appearance at the Braga Jazz Night. This project is supposed to have a saxophonist, but he backed out last week since he got what he considered to be a better offer. It’s a good thing that the rest of them were still moving on.

Since each of them has different background, we were curious of what colour they would paint on their pallette. Especially, since we know all of them have good skills. We heard about the project from Anjuan since several months ago and quickly placed them in the schedule for this edition.

Braga Jazz Night 35 - Restoration Project (1)Look at how they started. Instead of going smooth, they blazed our small stage with Anjuan’s original composition, “Hyperactive Engine”. Twists, turns, unpredictable moments, plenty of room to fly freely, manic fusion exploration served neat and clean, for us this is a winning composition that delivered neverending madness in full speed. The communication and connection between musicians and their instruments were simply magnificent. This song instantly caught people’s attention as they gained increasing number of audience.

After this high-octane instrumental song, Rosaline was called to join them. With a vocalist, the band changed its color to more soulful and RnB. It was nice to hear her sing a famous ballad from SWV back then in 1992 “Weak” followed by Ruth Sahanaya’s big hit “Bawa Daku Pergi”. Her soulful voice and the fusion-based band actually works well. It’s also nice to see how these musicians can bend their music into soul, RnB and pop jazz without taking their jazz-rock bites off.

Braga Jazz Night 35 - Restoration Project (6)Like a bunch of energizer bunnies, they refused to slow down. Instead they kept going on and on and on, even speeding much faster. The song? Yes, they took Chick Corea’s extreme composition from , “Got a Match?”. They kept the speed up and demonstrated how fast they could run without crashing to one another. Solid and wicked, their fingers were lightning quick over their instruments. The audience love the intense action and gave them multiply big round applause. Certainly not an easy song to execute especially if you decide to keep the speed of the original. But this project managed to nail it.

A project like this is considered to be something important in jazz scene. Because, while a musician can keep building their bands, they can have another base camp to try or enjoy something new. Often what started as a simple project became big with huge success when the project which is filled with high skilled, passionate musicians who share the same vision found its grip. From what we see, the Restoration Project has it all. The cold killer instinct of Anjuan, the fun-traveling fingers of Gerson, the mind-bending wild stream from calm-sweet looking petite girl Ratih, the drummer Galih who could make all the complexities look like simple and the magical fingering of Ilham the bassist, all create mind-bending world of fusion. Rosaline made their venom tastes sweet. We don’t want such good project like this to be just temporary. We hope they keep on moving and work the project up to achieve great things. So hey guys, keep this project and go extra miles with it!

Braga Jazz Night 35 - 5Petani (7)For the third session we invited a fusion band that has everything to stand among the top: 5Petani. Calling themselves 5 Farmers shows how they see farmers as the heroes of the nation. This band was formed after sharing the same passion from frequent meetings and jams at the Butterfield Jazz Society. All of them are still young, but they are highly creative and productive. Soon after they were established, they kept on making their own original songs, got the big leap by performing at the Java Jazz Festival among other events/festivals and then recently released their debut album.

This debut album is called “Sawah Impian” (Dream Rice Field), featuring 6 songs that mostly talks about everything they feel especially about the nature and world that we live in. What’s cool is that they are not just able to combine many instruments to create a perfect fusion concept, but they also infuse some traditional touches into their musical canvas, blending it seamlessly with their already cool concept. What makes it even better is that these boys literally describes the true meaning of having fun on stage during their concert. Lots of joyful action, chants, smiles and laughters, just like a group of farmers having a harvest fest. Great band, great composition, great arrangement, great execution, great appearance, great album. That’s why we said they have everything needed to stand among the top.

Today the band consists of founders Yoga Wardana (acoustic guitar), Frank Navayo Pattinasarany (electric guitar), Gerson Valdo Siahaan (keyboard) and Fauzan Rijal (bass) with the help of some friends including Yudha Rahadyan (saxophone), Raka Rizkyandi (drum), Hilmi Ridha (bamboo flute, bangsing and some other traditional instruments) and Ayla Adjie (percussions). We heard that they are currently on tour to promoting the album, so we offered this event to be one of the spots, luckily they didn’t have other schedule and took our offer.

Braga Jazz Night 35 - 5Petani (4)They opened up differently with just Raka on stage building up the momentum with his drumming. Energetic, uplifting, dynamic and connected. He quickly involved the crowds by using their chants as a part of his rhythm. When he felt the crowds’ moods were at enough height, he called the rest to take position on stage. In no time 5Petani completed its form and joined the action. The opening led to their first single, the fresh-feeling “Pelangi” followed by another peaceful and melodious composition, “Anak Petani”. All the way they gave cool stage act, including jumpings and teasing one another. The modern fusion sound and splashes of ethnic music from traditional instrument like bamboo flute created a peaceful yet energetic mood that you would love to hear in the morning.

The title track of their album “Sawah Impian” came next. This song contains the smooth, tranquil yet majestic feel, as if you are looking at a green paddy field under clear blue sky. Their way of celebrating the beautiful morning came next. It was one of our most favorite songs from the album titled “Matahari”. Finally they gave one final song where they released every bit of energy they still had left inside them, “Zefania”. This song is so perfect to create a jazzgasm. They kept building the momentum until finally gave a big blow in the end, not just instrumentally but also high octane pack of action. Loud cheers and applause were given to them for tearing the venue down with their massive funky fusion attack.

Braga Jazz Night 35 - 5Petani (2)The last time we saw them was on the main stage of the 9th International Kampoeng Jazz at the end of last month. It feels great to let them recreate all the golden moments from there to the Braga Jazz Night #35. They even generously gave 3 free CDs away for lucky audience.

We are always proud of 5Petani. They plant good seeds, they take a good care of those seeds and make a festive harvest on the stage. Having an album is a big step that usually would establish a band in a certain height. Congratulations on such a great album, 5Petani! You remind us of why we love jazz fusion in first place. We wish the best for the album and your career ahead. If you keep up your good work, we know one day you will stand among the great fusion bands in the history of Indonesian jazz/music. As for you, our excellent readers, do yourself a favor, buy this album because it is THAT good.

Braga Jazz Night 35 -Adoria (6)For the final show of this edition we proudly present an amazing band ADORIA consisting of all-winners of a big nation-scaled competition, the MLDare2Perform season 1 (2016). This band was formed as MLD Jazz Project aimed to perform at the Java Jazz Festival last year. At the competition, judges such as Indro Hardjodikoro, Aksan Sjuman, Adra Karim, Nikita Dompas, Devian Zikri and Syaharani declared Kiara Riz (vocal), Karel William (drum), Aghil Nur Prambudi (bass), Mikail Al-rabbdia (guitar), Michael Setiawan (keys) and Rizal Sianturi (saxophone) as the winner in each category. We heard great stories and compliments about this band and musicians from some of the judges back then.

We also remember Karel William’s magnificent performance as the drummer of 4/4 band at the JGTC Competition 2014. At that time, Jazzuality was one of the judges who awarded Karel as the Best Drummer also selected his band as the winner of JGTC Competition of that year. This young man is also proudly endorsed by SAKAE drums, Murat Diril Cymbals and Wincent Stick. As for Michael Setiawan, we have met and covered his regular apperance at the Ubud village Jazz Festival, playing as the Openmind Project and his own Quintet. He also became the winner of JGTC 2012 alongside Alvin Ghazalie, Joshua Setiawan and Frisella Tobing.

Adoria simply is filled with the best from  so many contestants in competition, and amazingly they found chemistry to one another as a unit. Together as Adoria, they have landed on many prestigious stages. Other than the Java Jazz Festival, these stunning young guns have played alongside Trio Lestari on Trans TV, AnTV Musik Keren – Rolling stone Cafe Jakarta, MLD Stage Bus Jazz Tour 2016 visiting more than 6 cities, Old Town Jazz Series vol 2 – Jakarta, Jazz Atas Awan – Dieng Culture Festival, Jazz Market By The Sea – Bali, Prambanan Jazz – Yogyakarta and Jazz Traffic Suara Surabaya, just to mention a few. After more than a year, finally this amazing jazz band landed on our stage.

Braga Jazz Night 35 -Adoria (7)The first song was an instrumental composition by Michael titled “Timelapse”. We have heard him playing this song before, but not with Adoria. It’s a song with full exploration which needs reliable companions in order to bring it shine. The fellow musicians of Adoria of course are great companion. Karel was busy providing nonstop beat with his drums which sounded rich and sharp. Michael as the composer created one magnificent fingers dancing above the keys. Mikail, Aghil and Rizal’s works were substantial too in bringing the storyline alive.

After this song, Kiara joined them and directly sang two Gretchen Parlato’s songs, “Circling” and “How We Love”. Kiara has the soulful voice and sings like a pro, also her body gesture and appearance reflect that too.  Then Kiara sang her own song which is listed in their MLD Jazz Project album, “Be the Sun”. This song is made in modern soulful jazz way that will certainly hook the listeners who love to be in this category. The video clip which is like ‘narated’ by an animated yellow butterfly can be found in her Youtube channel.

Braga Jazz Night 35 -Adoria (5)They got two more songs left. First, a song from jazz singer who once collaborated with Snarky Puppy, Chantae Cann titled “Waterfall”. Again, a good song choice that surely fits her vocal style. The personnels should love this one too since it has many interesting twists to explore. The rapid changing of keys, the rich syncopated beats, the busy bass lines, all would be a fun area to dig. While guitar and saxophone enrich the basic layers of the song. For the last song, Adoria gave a very interesting version of Al Jarreau’s classic, “Mornin'” which feels like a totally new song. This interesting rearrangement became the last drop of Adoria as well as the event. A group photo session as usual sealed this edition nicely.

In many cases, the amazing individual skills don’t always guarantee the quality of a band. Yet when they know how to deal as one solid unit, when the chemistry’s there among them, the result is simply magic. Adoria is in this category. They make magic accessible through jazz no matter where they land. You can clearly see that the personnels are blessed with amazing talent, then as a band they are solid as a rock. Tight, clean, triumphant performance like this shows how unique jazz is. Certainly not an easy genre to play, it’s like a language that one has to learn in order to be able to speak, and when it’s in the good hands, it will drive and connect both of your left and right brain hemisphere to sheer ecstacy. This band gave us more than we could ever wish for. Thank you Adoria for coming and playing for us in Bandung. Long live and prosperous!

We think it’s perfect to combine our intention to celebrate our venue and partner’s 3rd anniversary with our calling/mission. By presenting all young performers for Braga Jazz Night #35, we can give a proof to you all that the jazz development in Indonesia today still bear a lot of good fruits. And yes, these young lions can give the best of entertainment just like the musicians who have many, many years of experience. In each round we found great story that make us proud. This is why we make this event in first place! From a debut to special joint project, from a debut album promo gig to a performance brought by winners of prestigious nation-scaled competition. It was a party presented by musicians who we believe will lead our jazz scene in the (near) future. This edition became the home of the brave, the showcase of talents and creativity. One day when they rule the scene, we will remember that they were once made big bangs on our stage.

Braga Jazz Night 35 -Tidbits (3)We thank all the participating bands, our partners/supporters and certainly everyone who shows their support by coming to this event. No matter how good the bands are, it would be useless without audience. So, big applause to you! We are still waiting to confirm when this event will be back since there will be a full month of fasting and Eid. What we can assure you, we will bring more amazing talents on the next episode of Braga Jazz Night. Follow our social medias and check our website to be updated.

Watch the highlight of Braga Jazz Night 35: Jazziversary

See more pictures:

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

Special thanks to M.E. Music Centre, Gita Bawana and Zahar Mustilaq

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