Braga Jazz Night #52 : The Report

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Two very interesting new bands, one coming out of long hibernation. Yes, that’s the case of BRAGA JAZZ NIGHT #52. We are happy with it, because other than our wish to encourage new bands and/or musicians to step up to the plate, we always search for bands who were already put to sleep to wake up again and make their return. All in order to support the musicians and contributing to the regeneration of jazz (related) musicians. So yeah, we are happy with this edition’s line up, and we are happy with the result.

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We started not long after 7:00 pm with a band that has just reappeared on the surface after being on hiatus for 4 years. This band was formed in 2010, has pop rock as their core and managed to successfully sail all the way until they got a major label, several singles, aired in many major radio stations, available to download as ringback tones and album. Unfortunately the band lost its grip and then out of action. Finally they are back again, returning for the first time in this event. The band is ANNABETH.

If you wonder what AnnaBeth means, in English it means “God has favored me”. They decided to use the name because each of them has experienced God’s loving hands in every way and hope that their music and songs would bring happiness to the listeners.

Just as mentioned before, this band has been rooted in pop rock but their repertoires are still related to jazz even from the beginning.

For this edition, AnnaBeth regrouped in complete team, the latest one before they became inactive. They are Stella (vocal), Tiffany (bass), Thomas Sylvester (guitar) and Andi Pramudito (drum), plus they got reinforcement from Daniel Pratama on keys.

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In front of many friends among the audience, they began their comeback with Bruno Mars’ big hit, “Treasure”. As how the original spirit of this song is, they created a little party that was well received by everyone. A classic Dewa 19 song “Takkan Ada Cinta Yang Lain” came right after, with Stella leaving the stage and positioned herself right in front of the crowds. That’s where she stood all the way until the end. Stella’s powerful voice is just amazing. Along with solid music and rhythm from her mates, she attracted many passers-by to watch them. We see her full of spirit, both vocal-wise and gestures, as if she was standing as a worship leader in the church.

For the third presentation AnnaBeth brought back their single that achieved success over radio charts. The song is called “Putus Baik-Baik”, a well- written pop ballad with bitter-sweet melody. From what we hear when they sing it, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why this song became a hit back then.

To seal their first comeback in style, they covered a big hit of an Indonesian Idol season 9, Marion Jola, made post competition. The song featured Rayi RAN titled “Jangan”. As this is their final presentation, they released every bit of energy until the last drop. The punching drum from Andi, the cool fusionesque guitar playing from Tom, substantial melodic rhythm from Tiffany and the ultra strong vocal of Stella plus Daniel’s enrichment from the keyboard created a perfect ending. The fact that many audience sang along with them showed how successful they were in playing the song.

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Eventhough they were hibernated for some years, the band still has it. They are solid and tight just like the way they were back then. While we already know Thomas and Andi, AnnaBeth has a female bassist, something that we don’t find often in a band and a female singer with wide vocal range and strong voice, both sound and character.

According to Tom, they are planning to go back into the studio again to record more songs.That’s exactly what we would like to hear, the main reason why we asked them to comeback in first place. We don’t want this to be just a one time appearance, we want this to be the start of a new chapter. We do hope AnnaBeth to continue their journey after this comeback and achieve success more than before. If they do, we look forward to have them in another round.

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The second show featured 8 students of Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia (UPI) who gather and practice in the afternoon in campus. This band is interesting since they have brass section that could bring a taste of big band. It’s amazing to see that this concept and formation could come from young university students who still have to share some or even most of their time to study. The band has the name related to where and when it was formed: KELASORE (Kelas Sore in English means Afternoon Class).

The members of KELASORE are Muhamad Syamsul Gunawan (vocal), Akbar Abdul R (drum), Ganes Herlambang (keys), Mohamad Faishal Riza (guitar), Jere Fernando (bass) with brass section comprising of Rizki Gusti D (tenor sax), Fahmi Luqman Sullivan (alto sax) and Beno (trombone). Eventhough this is considerably a new band, they have been moving fast by having their own single available in all major digital outlets. The single is titled “Dear Siti”. It was the bassist Jere who told us about this band, and right after we heard it, we secured this slot for them.

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From the beginning this band showed a rebelious punk-funk-titude even with minimal gestures over their pop jazz music, with some feels of ska here and there through the late Chrisye’s evergreen, “Aku Cinta Dia”. “We are sure you guys know the song, but here we want to let you hear our version of it. We hope you like it,” said Syamsul. The roaring brasses sounds was effective to create a happier mood on this song. Kunto Aji’s famous song from his 2015 album, “Terlalu Lama Sendiri” was taken to show their softer and sweeter side.

Their first single “Dear Siti”, speaking about a boy has a crush on a naturally beautiful girl. As their first product, this song is smartly created in pop jazzy and indie vibe. Rich in sound and texture, simple lyrics that could represent the feeling when one has a crush on someone. We say it’s a really good song that suits the youngsters around their age.

For the last song, the band gave a funky, modern cover of ME’s hit in 1998,”Inikah Cinta”. It’s a cool rejuvenation of the song. They keep every good thing of the original but add the brass sounds and simple rearrangement on the rest, with enough room for each of them to have fun. The band then introduced each player with cool solo runs.

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From the moment we heard about this band, we know it’s going to be interesting and different. Yes, they do. Not often we found a band full of youngsters having this kind of formation. Kelasore has wide soundscape and rich sound. Their homework is to be consistent, keep moving on up and stay creative. If they do, we have no doubt that these fellas will make it to the top one day.

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Bandung is blessed with talents. There have been plenty of stunning jazz bands and amazing young guns coming from this city in the last couple of years. We just heard about the new band consisting of 5 dudes equipped with high skill and driven by passion. This band placed their feet in between the contemporary smooth jazz and jazz funk, which could be the perfect pallette for musicians who love to explore wild and wide, as free as a bird. The band’s name reveals the important thing they are holding in order to have a good career and future. It’s COMMITMENT.

This band has 5 players in it. All are young but stand as major forces coming out from the new generation. Three of the members have performed for us many times before with their bands: Anjuan Julio (guitar) with AFA Trio, New Blood, Restoration Project and some other projects, Athina Niassrin Muhammad (sax) with 5Petani and Vico Wibowo (keys) with BFG Trio and New Equinox. The rest of them are new to this event as far as we remember but equally good. They are Daniel GT (drum) and Kevin ‘KJ’ Jonathan (bass).

For tonight, unfortunately the saxophonist couldn’t make it at the last moment. Missing one player actually didn’t make the band lost its grip, you can’t even tell that because they still played as if they were built above four pillars. Look at how the pinned Adam Hawley’s composition from his 2016 album, “Joy Ride”. A really great piece executed chill that directly showed who they are and what these lads were made of.

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They digged deeper by playing Vico Wibowo’s original composition titled “Smoothie”. Vico told us that he made this song after finishing his school exams. This song continued the jolly joy ride mood with another feel of happiness. Although we could feel that as how the song really meant to be, these four lads didn’t leave the chance to run wild. Look at how tranced Vico was in some parts, blazing with no mercy above the keys. KJ decorated the song with monster groove, the power punches on drum by Daniel, and Juan stood tall in front providing the melody along with stunning improvisations.

A song taken from 1992 album of Incognito, “Colibri” became the next canvas for them to paint on. They rose the intensity, adding more heat with their wicked fusion interpretation. Intense but really fun to chew.

For the last song, they paid respect to the late Alvin Lubis. Alvin was a successful musician, composer and producer who sadly passed away too young at the age of 37 due to heart attack. What’s interesting is that they chose not to focus on the sadness of losing him, instead they brought back the good memory of him when he was still alive. They took their style of jazz rock to the next level to build a high octane finale, including a cool ‘dialogue’ between guitar and keys courtesy of Anjuan and Vico.

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Lethal dose of funk were poured by them through wicked, free-flowing madness. They could radiate smooth jazz in shimmering beauty, but when they got the chance to funk, they ran like a pack of wolves and gave no mercy. What they crafted were clearly melodic, but amazingly without leaving the freedom of exploration. In other words, they made lots of stunning manouvers, yet the songs were still beautiful to listen to. It’s always interesting to see passionate and highly skilled young lions like them because their brave and bold bites could really caught us off guard. Sharp, tight and bold, these young dudes totally nailed it.

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Two new bands and one comeback are the bones that’s built this 52nd edition of Braga Jazz Night. Speaking of variation, these three bands gave different sides of jazz ranging from pop jazz, smooth jazz, lite fusion, jazz funk and everything in between.

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We thank all performing musicians, all who support us and this event, and certainly everyone who came. We will be back again next month with another set. Keep yourself updated by following our social medias, may we always have you in supporting the jazz (related) musicians for a bright future of Indonesian jazz.

Watch the highlights of Braga Jazz Night 52

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Reporter & Photographer: Riandy Kurniawan .

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