Indonesia has just suffered its worst terrorist attack at least in a decade. So far the authorities especially the counterterrorism squad are pressing ahead to control the situation and hoping the people to resume activities as usual without being feared. Based on that, we decided to carry on with the special edition we have been planning from several months ago, the SPECIAL RAMADHAN EDITION, especially made for our event in cooperation with Braga CityWalk, the BRAGA JAZZ NIGHT.
As this is different, we invited bands who could spice up the theme. At the same time, we still keep what we always love to do: supporting the young guns, providing jazz-tertainment for everyone and presenting something unique in the name of jazz. Speaking of unique, we didn’t just bring a band with ‘anti mainstream’ formation and concept, the BRAGA JAZZ NIGHT #47: Special Ramadhan Edition also showcased a single promo that was especially made for Ramadhan by a high potential young guitarist from Majalaya city. We also bring back a band that’s no stranger to us after 5 months in absence. As usual, all provided totally free of any charge and open for public.
We started with the young man from Majalaya who has a new single. He is Rian Ahmad Fauzy, better known as RAF – simply taken from his initial. We came to know him last February when he played as one of the Savasika in Jazzphoria Competition by MLD. At that time we found out that this dude has not only quite a skill but also passion and creativity in making songs. As far as we see, he has a tasty fusion style that combines jazz, rock, funk and even ethnics when needed in his play.
In pursuing his solo career, amazingly RAF chooses his path as a one man band. Last year he released two singles. The first one is “Berkebun (in English: Gardening). Then a couple of months later, he attacked again with an intense, fast and furious song titled “Bertarung (Fighting)”.
While preparing this edition, we found out that he just released a new single titled “Bertaubat” (Repenting). This is a song that he made to welcome the holy month of Ramadhan. We are sure that this song came out from his deep contemplation so he could enter Ramadhan with clean soul. Of course it would be perfect for this edition, so we invited him to promote the single.
He sailed as a one man band accompanied only by a laptop. As if he didn’t want to waste any time, he quickly put himself in action, starting with his unreleased track, “Jessica”. Who is Jessica? “That’s a secret”, he said. So we don’t know who she is, but we do know that this song is built upon jazz and rock, and it has many rooms for RAF to improvise freely with his fingers. This song perfectly introduced him, his style, his skill and his playing field.
After introducing himself, he gave one of his singles from last year we have mentioned, “Berkebun”. As the title is “Gardening”, he actually talks about the fun of gardening which won’t happen anymore if people let the global warming continues on. Again, his magic fingers ran up and down the fret fast, this time over the disco beat. So, jazz, rock and disco can get along so very well in his hands.
The third song was “Bersepeda” (“Cycling”). This one is smooth, fresh, relaxing and dreamy, just like how your mind is when you are cycling on the countryside in the morning, the kind of song that you would love to hear to start your day with a smile.
For the final presentation, he played his new single made for Ramadhan, “Bertaubat”. It has a fierceful start, quite chaotic but then he sorted it all out with ear catchy melodies and rhythm in Middle Eastern way, specifically Turkish style. With this single, he wishes to invite his listeners to repent and has a clean heart, the best thing to do in the holy month. A challenging song that’s not easy to execute, he has to tell the story and motivate his listeners while at the same time keep the progression, dynamicity and momentum. For us, this song is epic, something that only come from genius musician.
Yes, he used minus one by using his laptop. But surprisingly, he can make it sound dynamic, lively with free flowing improvisations as if he’s performing with a band. One of the audience told us that his performance is pleasuring and different. “It’s like watching those kind of high-skilled street musicians on the other side of the globe. You know.. they play alone, yet they are able to acreate a fully round atmosphere of anything they want to tell with their songs.” he said. Very well put. For us, RAF proves that nothing can stop him to keep his productivity on high level. He doesn’t have to depend on other people, he simply utilize the technology to help him out. In the hands of musician like RAF, the music doesn’t fall flat, but still round and somehow organic. We think it’s brilliant.
In some ways, he reminds us of the early years of Tohpati. Can RAF follows Tohpati’s footsteps? Most certainly. If he keep on doing what he’s doing right now, if he consistently running his career, if he continues to evolve, we can’t see why not. He’s got the skill, passion and ability to write catchy songs. He is creative and explorative. We wouldn’t be surprise if one day soon he emerges as the force in the music scene, especially in (fusion) jazz. We hope the single to have a success and able to motivate others to be a better person, and we wish RAF the best. One thing for sure, our door will always be open for him.
The next round got a bassist who’s not a stranger to this event. He is Joe Bastian with his band, JOE PROJECT. Joe has been involved in this event since the early stages, appearing with variety of bands like Find Taste, Lala & the Mates and supporting Billy Likumahuwa, when he demonstrated his cool bossa touch using not bass but guitar. Yes, while Joe is majoring bass, actually he can play guitar just as good.
Since last year he’s been pursuing his solo career. His band debuted in our event in July 2017 and then he appeared again last January. It’s been 5 months since then, it’s about time to bring him back again.
Joe Project is made as his vehicle to penetrate the music industry and establish his name. He has his own songs now and seems like working on his debut album, but he also kindly suits himself with whoever he’s playing with. From jazz fusion to RnB and pop, he can fit in nicely with these kinds of style.
Unike the last time he performed for us, this time he brought in different friends such as Ariel Arliyanus (guitar), Abdul Aziz (keyboard), Christian Wahyu (drum), Yoga (saxophone) and a last minute replacement, a lovely girl with lovely voice, Tasya Atalla.
They started with an instrumental number. The beginning of the song sounded familiar, and that’s no wonder because it’s Utha Likumahuwa’s evergreen, “Esok Kan Masih Ada”. But no, they are not covering that song because then suddenly the tune progressed into a different song, one of Indonesian band Fusion Stuffs’ collection written by the founder Krishna Siregar, “Little Briescha”. Little Briescha is a sweet, happy song, but since Briescha, the daughter of Krishna is now in heaven, we are grieving everytime we hear the song. Nonetheless, the band shows that they can do fusion very well. The strong beat by Wahyu, Ariel’s tasty guitar line, Yoga’s sax spicing it up, Joe’s important role in serving the melodious rhytm and his role as the band leader, and also Aziz’s finger-dancing over the keys. Speaking of Aziz, he stepped up the plate when he got the solo run. He is indeed a really good pianist.
Tasya then joined them to sing two song. First, she covered Rossa’s “Tak kan Berpaling Dari-Mu”, a religious song that speaks about giving our thanks to God for every beautiful thing He created and His never ending love and blessings. The second and last one is a hit from around 15 years ago by Tamia, “Officially Missing You”. A beautiful girl with beautiful voice, what’s not to love from her.
Looking back at the time when we met him, Joe surely is much enhanced. Not just in skill, he now enjoys his stage presence more than ever. Dealing as the band leader is not easy. There are many obstacles that could make them quit in no time. But Joe has put up a good fight. Probably it isn’t easy for him to find available friends to back him up, he has to think on what to bring, practice session, gigs and so on, yet he is still doing it until now, keeping up his existance against all odds. This time he brought in mostly different players than the last time, and again, these players are great.
We can’t have him in every month, but for sure we are backing him up and happy to bring him in as much as possible. He is a good musician, he has a big heart, he is passionate and devoted to pursue his dream, whoever he plays with, the music is always enjoyable. We enjoy it and look forward to have him in again in a couple of months from now. Keep it up Joe and the gang!
For the final act we presented a band with unique formation that produces pure jazz in a different texture. If usually a band has one guitarist or two, this one has four or even more. If many people think that a band always needs a drummer, this band decides to have just a bassist. All stringed, nothing more. The band is called 4PEGGIO.
The first jazz school in Bandung (established in 1988) Venche Music School (VMS) is its home. 4Peggio consists of Vetto Christie Frangklin (guitar), Bayu Imam Fauzan (guitar), Felix Sentosa (guitar), Adi Nur Furqon (guitar) and Ezra Manuhutu (bass), plus Romay (guitar/vocalist). All of the guitarists learn from the founder Venche Manuhutu, while the bassist is Venche’s son.
The band was formed just a few months ago. According to Venche, these are his diligent students who found out that they have met their perfect team mates. Each of them has their own unique style, but rather than making them difficult to blend in, they become one in harmony, with rich variety to offer. Venche knows that they practice together very often because they just like doing it together as a unit. And what’s great is that their skill enhance much faster afterwards. They have landed big on the TP Jazz’s stage and a couple of appearances in Klab Jazz’s events. Now it’s time to bring him in this event.
They started with the core members. From left to right: Felix, Bayu, Adi, Vetto and Ezra, swinging wih Charlie Parker’s bebop standard, “Confirmation”. Although this song was made by an alto saxophonist in the 40’s, we have heard it being played with other instruments including guitar. But we have never seen this song played by four guitarists and a bassist before. So it’s very interesting and new.
Then they moved back even further to the late 30’s in Paris. 4Peggio took Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli’s gem “Minor Swing”. Imagine four guitarists played French Gypsy Swing at once. It was sensational! Exactly like what their teacher Venche said, each of them has their own way of improvise, that creates a new horizon in executing the song.
For the third song, Adi began with a Middle Eastern style all by himself. We wonder what song this intro was for, surprisingly it was for “Blue Bossa”. So after moving from from American Bebop to French Gypsy, they flew over the Brazilian sky by swingin’ with Bossa. A smart move that gives a perfect portrait of who they are, that’s what we think.
Then they called up Romay to be with them on stage. With the appearance of Romay, all the guitarists stood up and then went pop by taking John Mayer’s hit, “Gravity”. Romay has a vocal character like Mayer, but that’s not all because he can play guitar too. We never hear this song being played by a format like this, and we have to tell that it works fine. They sealed their debut in this event with one of Chrisye’s all-time favs, “Kala Cinta Menggoda”.
Pleasuring free-flowing jazz 4Peggio created is really pleasuring and entertaining. They go swingin’ and boppin’ above rainbow colored jazz sky, they present something beautiful and ellegant, but also never hesitate to go into challenging battle. 5 guitars and one bass as a band, that’s rare and difficult to do. But in a very short time, the band members are able to execute the concept really, really well. A groundbreaking format like this would contribute towards the jazz development big time and certainly will give us chance to enjoy a new, alternative way of enjoying jazz. Long live 4Peggio! With your passion and creativity, there are still many areas to explore. We look forward to have you again in other events in the near future.
As we still got time, we directly opened the stage for the jam session. Among the audience we saw the reunion of two members of Chakraborty: Jerry Gates and Adya Amru, both guitarists. They haven’t met for at least 3 years, so we invited them to be on stage. Joining them were the boys of Joe Project, Joe Bastian (bass), Christian Wahyu (drum) and Abdul Aziz (keyboard). They took 12 bar blues and had fun with it. FYI, Amru and now gym personal trainer Jerry have never met before, yet they played solid.
Joe, Wahyu and Aziz stayed, but the guitarists of Chakraborty were replaced by Vetto of 4Peggio and a remarkable bluesman, Eki Johan who played with Red Zone in the previous January 2018 edition. The combination of Eki’s rockin’ blues and Vetto’s jazz licks provided action that made them bagged applauses from friends and the audience. Just like the first batch, Vetto just met the rest of the players but they mingled well and played tight. We invited everyone to take a group photo and that became the end of this edition.
We are proud to see the talents who played for this edition. Not only they all gave their best shot in delivering variety of jazz but also in suiting the Ramadhan theme. We thank everyone who came and involved in any way. Still many days left to fast, we hope everything goes well for our Muslim friends and readers. May this holy month brings you lots and lots of blessings. Happy Ramadhan.
Watch the highlights of Braga Jazz Night #47
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Reporter: Riandy Kurniawan
Video Editor: Vierna Mariska