A slice of a top box office musical film, lots of kids, the return of a band after 43 editions and a newborn band embracing the sound of 80’s fusion. Yes, that’s what the Braga Jazz Night #46 built upon. This 46th edition reflected what we always have in mind: unique presentation, supporting the young musicians/new bands and introducing the rich variety of jazz to the society, which in the end would contribute to the regeneration of jazz musicians and the jazz development itself.
Held inside the Braga CityWalk on Thursday, 19 April 2018, this edition managed to get people’s attention and curiousity even before it starts. Some of the mall-goers paused their walk as they got attracted by the soundcheck and preparation involving lots of kids with so many instruments on stage. Yes, it was the kids and teachers from M.E MUSIC CENTRE!
Thanks to M.E Music Centre, this edition got something different unlike what we have ever presented before. You should remember the musical film “The Greatest Showman” right? Starring Hugh Jackman and Zach Efron, this movie was a big hit. It ruled the box office and got nominated in many Awards, including Oscar (Academy Awards) and the Golden Globe (the movie won Best Song/Recording Created for a Film).
This movie inspire us on many things with tons of quote to remember. Among those, there is one quote that we favor the most: “The Noblest Art Is Making Others Happy”. We like this one the most, because that’s we have been aiming for. Instead of debating jazz not jazz, swing not swing, we accomodate everyone to join us. Why? Because for us, jazz should belong to everybody. Above all, happiness is the most important thing to think of. If the musicians feel happy playing on our stage, and the audience happy watching it, we feel happy.
So, we did wish to have something about this movie on our event, and thank God, the well established and fruitful music school who have been producing so many good musicians (most of them are still kids and teens), the M.E. Music Centre told us that they were also inspired and currently working on the musical project from the movies where The Greatest Showman is one of them.
Now let’s take a closer look at this music institute. It was established in 2006, just a year after the founder, pianist Michelle Efferin came back from Sydney, Australia holding a degree from the Australian Institute of Music. Just 4 years later, her school got appointed to be the Official Representative of Encore Music Education for Indonesia, where Michelle became the official trainer for it. This curriculum, the teaching method and the ensemble of teachers proved to work great, as we have seen so many children hatched early. Not only they have good skills, they have no stage fright too. We have showcased many of them, either representing the school or standing by themselves. But now it’s all a different ball game, because for the first time they are carrying the musical theme.
“The theme we have this year is musical. It’s different than last year where we were more into acoustic, jazz and top 40” said Michelle to us. They actually thought about this theme before The Greatest Showman appeared in cinemas. “When I watched that movie, which for me is the best movie ever made, I called up the teachers and say, let’s do this!” she said further.
Agus Wijaya, one of the piano teachers of M.E Music Centre whom Michelle actually learned from when she was still 12 year-old worked hard on transcribing the arrangement. The rampak drum (drum choir) which is consisting of 6 children are taught by Richard Setiawan. Then, Yosep Asrom Othep is in charge of preparing the teenage singers. As they are ready to launch this theme for the 12th Anniversary of M.E Music Centre on 26 May 2018 and right before they bring this concept to 23 Paskal Shopping Mall on Sunday (22 April), we are proud to provide this session as a part of their preparation.
This time we got much more players from M.E Music Centre than ever before. Juan, CJ, Jason, Darren, Nathaniel and Gifford were the kids behind the drum choir led by Richard Setiwan on drum. Then, Yosefien Moudy joined Agus Wijaya on keys. Michelle’s long time partners who also serve as teachers Iwan (bass) and Oggie Samuel (guitar) completed the band. Standing behind the mikes were Darren, Chris, Maddy, Sydney, Maria and Celline, plus the teacher Othep himself was found in the team. Yenny Natalia (Yenyen) is credited as the coreographer.
The thunderous beat from the little drummer boys along with the stomping catchy chorus from the singers on “The Greatest Show” gave an exhilarating start. The band and the singers did their part brilliantly as they dragged more people into their show. Really loud applause were awarded in the end.
If you remember, in the film “A Million Dreams” literally took us to feel P.T Barnum’s life from childhood to adulthood. It contains some key elements of the storyline which makes this song important, not to mention the beautifully moving melody and lyrics. Christopher Emmanuel moved forward to be the lead singer for it, with Darren’s high voice and the harmonious vocals from them all spiced it up.
Then Sydney and Maria gave a delightful duet on “Come Alive” before Othep surprisingly joined them, engaging the stage and crowds by singing right in between them. Together they created a simple theatrical feel that brought us closer to the film. The ballad “Never Enough” appeared heartfelt through Celline’s lovely voice and gesture. The crowds gave her some applauses here and there.
For the last song they chose the anthem with strong statement, “This Is Me”. For us, this song encourages us to stop listening to haters and stay true to ourselves, keep doing our best and aim high by utilizing every gift we have within us. The ensemble of M.E Music Centre gave an unforgettable moment in perfect climax. It was Madeline aka Maddy who stood in front this time, painting the song with her strong charactered singing voice. More coreography, spirited singing and fine works of the teachers with their gears and the drum choir delivered their performance of the lifetime. Perfect arrangement, perfect execution. Loud and long applause were poured on them after they sealed their unbelievably solid show.
Once again the M.E Music Centre team showcased something more than we expected. Not just music, they now enhance themselves with some coreo too, making us able to feel The Greatest Showman much closer. Michelle stated her happiness afterwards. “I’m super proud of my team!” she shouts. “The great thing about working with a team is that you tend to dream bigger and aim higher. At the end of the day is not about what I have achieved, but what we have achieved as a team and family. I feel so blessed surrounded by amazing people.” she continues.
Really well said. Like her, we are always proud of them too. We send love to the kids for being able to give such performance, and big, big respect to Michelle Efferin and all teachers for making them ready at such age. Thank you for making our dream come true, bringing the musical theme into the Braga Jazz Night which let people see the connection between jazz and dance could also appear on a small jazz event like this. Jazz does have a wide scope, it’s more than just music, and the variety is unlimited. Sky is the limit, so to speak. Kudos to you all!
The second act let us go through a memory lane, visiting the time when fusion ruled the jazz world around 3 or 4 decades ago. It was from a new band named ERFOLG.
This band is still young, but it already has character and good players. The course was set before the band came alive. The idea came from two musicians: Ajie Mohammad Chrisnagara (bass) and R Bhameswara Putra Kencana (keys). They searched for musicians to start an 80’s fusion band. Soon after, guitarist M Rizqi Pratama joined in, then M. Reza Pahlevy (drums) and Puji Ayu Lestari as the vocalist. All set.
For this event, Reza the drummer couldn’t make it because he had to work in another city. But worry not, the band found a good substitution in Kevin Bernard. They quickly set the atmosphere into fusion mode, with evil bass slapping and jazz-rock sound which led to the very popular song of Level 42, “Love Games”. Aji is clearly inspired by Mark King, the bassist of Level 42 which is showed by his way of producing nonstop solid monster groove through mad bass slapping the way King does. Not only that, Aji also sings while slapping his bass just like King. Not an easy task to do of course, but he did it really well. While Aji got our attention, let’s not forget that the rest of the boys got their own moment of glory too.
Their vocalist Puji Ayu Lestari then joined the boys. She started with Fariz RM’s classic hit from 1980, “Sakura”. The memory from those era continued on with a big hit of Chrisye released 6 years after, “Anak Sekolah”. While they made it more jazzy, they kept it simple so we could easily sing along with Puji.
For the last song they did something interesting. They blended the famous tune of a legendary Indonesian television musical quiz that aired for the first time in 1988 and still exists until now: “Berpacu Dalam Melodi” with “Dansa Yok Dansa”, originally by Rollies but then made famous again some decades later by Kahitna. Served in uplifting Samba beat, Erfolg created a cheerful ending to their first appearance at the Braga Jazz Night.
Erfolg is a Deutsch word means “Success”. By using this as a name, we could clearly see what the band aims at, and by looking at what they have inside, we say why not. Looking at the wicked bass slapping ability of the co-founder Aji and the way they do 80’s style of fusion, perhaps it would be cool to ask them for some special themes, like a Tribute to Level 42 perhaps. We think it will give something different to this event. Well, let’s see if or when it’s going to happen. But for now, we are happy to bring them in. We wish them all the best and look forward to have another round with them.
For the last presentation we welcome back a band no stranger to us. We have featured them before, but way long, long time ago when we just started this event around four years ago. We haven’t seen or heard from them after the third edition, but now they are returning ‘home’. A band quite big in size, consisting of good musicians that know how to entertain people. It’s the ALLVOICES.
We met them at the Kampoeng Jazz Band Audition 2014. They won the competition which brought them to play at the festival. A couple of months later, they landed on this event, at that time it was still called Braga Jazz Walk. The band itself was formed three years earlier in Sukabumi when the members were still in high school. So, basically we can mention that this is a jazz-oriented band from Sukabumi.
Long story short, two months ago they told us that the band has awaken from its long sleep. The same band, only with new formation and new concept. Of course we love to have them back again after 43 editions in absence. Most of the original members are still there such as Boy Hilmi Johari (vocal), Dori Wirawan (sax), Diaz (bass), Elko Nurul Yaqin (keys) and Rizfan Zulkifli Sastrawinata (percussion). Two new members are saxophonist Yudansyah Utama Putra and the rockin’ drummer, Ade.
What a joy to finally have them again gracing this event after that long. They are still as good as the last time we saw them and is still cored in the intention to entertain anyone who watch them. Just like before, the band takes today’s hits that would be familiar to everyone especially the youngsters. They opened up with Bruno Mars’ medley, “Treasure” and “That’s What I Like”. They did a good job in presenting the song simple, still sounded like the originals but somehow attached with their own flavors. The two saxophonists really spiced this song up, making it appeared more jazzy without losing its catchy, groovy vibe.
For the next song once again they made a cool move by playing a smooth jazz version of Dewa 18’s famous song, “Risalah Hati”. Surprisingly this song actually fit perfectly into the smooth jazz frame. Boy as the singer has a delightful high pitched voice, that makes All Voices sounds different than most of the bands that have male vocalist. It was really nice to hear, we like this version very much.
Just like what the previous band did, the AllVoices decided to seal their performance with a party. A party, using a song everyone know and love from Michael Jackson, “Rock With You”. The groove they created was tasty and intense, with Boy’s voice flew freely above it. Diaz on bass, Elko on keys and Ade on drum worked collectively in serving the music, while Dori and Rizfan did stunning sax duet with no flaw. A perfect song to choose as the climax for this 46th edition.
The concept of using more than one saxophonist at once are not often found in Indonesia. The AllVoices who speaks loud about ‘the voices of mind and soul’ is using that concept. They craft jazz as something easy listening, friendly to even the non-jazz listeners but could also satisfy the jazz aficionados. Having a band with quite large size can be tricky sometimes. If the players can’t make it right, the sound can crumble into pieces. But AllVoices is capable to make the most of it. They create rich sound in lovely harmony. We hope the band to have a long life and keep rising. They make Sukabumi proud, they make West Java proud, and of course the nation as well. We also hope to bring them back again in later editions.
From the return of a band, an 80’s jazz fusion to a slice of top box office musical drama film, from children, teenagers to young adult, all become the portrait of Braga Jazz Night episode 46. This edition can give a clear description of what we want this event to be: providing colorful variety of jazz, presenting something unique, supporting the musicians/bands and giving up a good jazz entertainment to the public. We hope all participating musicians and the audience satisfy and enjoy what we brought on stage. Thank you for playing, thank you for coming and thank you for supporting. We hope to see you again in the next episode!
Watch the highlights of Braga Jazz Night 46
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Reporter & Photographer: Riandy Kurniawan
Video Editor: Vierna Mariska