Braga Jazz Night #65 : The Report

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The Braga Jazz Night #65 was held on November 21, 2019. This was the last regular edition before we go to the Christmas Edition in December and then enter the new year. Eventhough it was regular, we made it special by presenting the combination of potential young talents and something unique that would be difficult to find elsewhere. By saying unique means we showcased a band playing a genre that’s not normally found on jazz stage. Taking place at our usual ground zero on the left side of the entrance of Braga Jazz Walk mall, we managed to get good number of audience spotted around the stage before the event began.

This 65th episode started with a young girl, still in her early teen but is gifted with such golden voice to sing jazz. She might look shy and quiet, but once she sings, she will amaze you right away. She is Fatima Favel Fauziah, better known as her stage name, FAVEL FATIMA.

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She was born in January 2006. That means she is still 13 going 14. Is she too young to be on jazz stage? We certainly think no, even more when we realize the singing voice she has. We heard about Favel last year recommended by some friends and she surprised us when we checked out her Youtube channel. This girl was still 12 at that time, yet she sang some jazz standards that were written many centuries before she was born. It was not just good but it was believable, surely came from her heart, not just an attempt to cover. Other than the golden vocal that for us reflects the modern style of jazz singing, she also has good control over them. So we brought her in. At first she appeared with a senior jazz guitarist Hardi Suryana and then with her partner, Luqmanul Hakim on her second attempt a couple of months after. It’s been more than a year, it’s about time to invite her again, lucky for us she was available for this date.

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Favel started with Ditra on piano, singing one of the standards, “What a Difference A Day Made”. Her thick yet crisp vocal is perfect to sing jazz standards like this.

We thought they were going to carry on as a duo, but surprisingly Ditra’s fellows from The Hedge were called to the stage. Their first take was a very beautiful song from Gaby Moreno that’s used as the theme of an android-based gadget’s commercial, “Daydream By Design”. Some of the audience seemed noticing this song as they were smiling along with swaying their heads.

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She moved on with another current song, “Like A Star”. A simple yet lovely rerarrangement in jazz made this song sounded fresh and new. She then sealed her performance with one of her favs, a big worlwide hit of The Radiohead from 1992, “Creep”. It’s not the first time for us to hear the jazzy version of Creep, yet Favel and The Hedge placed their own signatures that’s not only gave a new outfit to the song but breathed their souls too in it.

We know she can take the jazz standards really well as this young girl has an golden old soul. But we recommended her to try the recent songs that are in today that we believe will help her settling her place among young music listeners. She did great as expected. Ditra is proved to be a very reliable partner who does his role without flaws, and having The Hedge behind her is certainly perfect. Not only this band would help her to shine but they would add more flavors too to each song she sings. We will continue to push this girl forward. A small community like this should not stop only to create event but should be able to push talented musicians/singers to reach their dream. God willing.

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The second act featured a band that’s built upon mad brains. Basically they are rooted in avant funk, the sub-genre that became the core when the band was founded, but they could expand their territory to whatever direction, making their music always appear explorative and unpredictable. The band’s formerly called The Hedgehog, but now they appear with a shortened name, just THE HEDGE. We will let you know why.

The band’s formed around 3 years ago based on the needs of some young musicians to fulfill their passion in digging the avant funk. The band’s named The Hedgehog. It was originally build upon four pillars : Rinomulat Sembhada (drum), Mikhael Martin (guitar) , Ditra Prasista (keys) and Leo Hansen (bass). But as for this moment Mikha is taking a break from music, so the band turns to be a trio. The rest members decided to ‘cut’ the name until they got complete again. Hence, The Hedgehog becomes just The Hedge.

The last time they appeared was last year, reinterpreting The Doors by dragging some of their songs into the avant funk realms. It was way back then in the 48th edition, so just like Favel, it’s about time for us to bring them in again.

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Note, as we already mentioned earlier, the appeared minus one player positioned on guitar. But the fact is, that circumstance apparently didn’t make them weaker. No sir, it didn’t. The Hedge is still able to inject high dose of venomous funk right from the very start by pinning Billy Cobham’s song from 1973, “Red Baron”. They kept spinning and rolling simultaneously, gladly took part in solo runs while at other times joining forces together injecting lethal amount of funk to everyone watching, which only became increasing when they went on with Miles Davis’ “All Blues”.

How cool it was to see what they did next. The Hedge played “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy”, Cannonball Adderley’s song written by Joe Zawinul, demonstrating how good they are in presenting soul jazz without losing their funky grip. Keeping the essential soul gospel element, this cohesive unit worked the song really, really great with their own signature. The feel-good melody, the intense funk and high spirited jazz. This song never grows old since it was made in 1966, we never get tired of it, yet through The Hedge we got a new reinterpretation of it.

For the last song The Hedge took Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android”. As how the original was made by Thom Yorke in the late 90’s, this song contained dark element in artistic, progressive rock, but The Hedge interpret it to progressive hardcore jazz, which according to Rino is inspired by Brad Mehldau’s arrangement. Dark yet playful, rockin’ yet clearly jazzin’. A lot of twists were found in this finale, so edgy, furious, wickedly fun, this song served magic as the last drop from The Hedge.

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Normally a band would bring in a sessionist to take the empty seat or feature someone to do the role, but instead of doing what others would most likely do, they decided to just go by three, and even cut their name in order to respect their mate who is currently taking a time off. Speaking of performance, they dont slow down or appearing less, The Hedge still got lethal dose of venomous funk inside it, making this band be a deadly jazz trio. Tonight The Hedge explored wide soundscape from avant funk, hardbop, soul to a jazz way of art/progressive rock, it was superb, we got jazzgasm.

For the final show we got something totally different than what we have been bringing normally, something that’s even rare to find above the jazz stage: Keroncong or krontjong.

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Before we continue further, let’s see a brief history of this music. Many sources stated that it’s rooted in a traditional Portuguese music called Fado, brought by the Portuguese sailors who arrived in here around the 16th century. Since Fado is still existed today, try to listen to it and you’ll find some similiarities here and there. There are some stigmas being sticked to this music, for example being called by some outdated. But hey, here’s a gang of young dudes that are more than ready to wipe those stigmas out. They make krontjong sounds current fitting the modern music, that said without losing the traditional essences even a bit. The band is NAZARMUSIC.

We have heard about the fast move of this band and found out that one of the members is a guitarist that has been playing with us for quite some times, Dean Bach. From him we got the information regarding the band, the background, the vision and the core of their music. According to Dean, the band was born on 28 May 2018 in Bandung. The story began from the instagram, the time when Sir Iyai met Nazardeipa in that app, which followed to their first IRL meeting in an event where Sir Iyai’s band, Jamaican Sound Krontjong performed. That in-real meeting proved to be fruitful, as Sir Iyai decided to make music collaboration. Hence, a new krontjong group by uniting the unique vocal character of Nazardeipa came to life.

Nazardeipa was born in Bandung on 29 December 2000. Previously he can be mentioned as a celebgram with big number of fanbase/followers, gaining them by making cool coversongs. Then came the time when he decided that it’s time for him to make his own song through a krontjong band after he met the ‘Jamaican man’, Sir Iyai.

Speaking of vision and mission, there are some reasons why Nazarmusic digs krontjong. One of them is as a token of appreciation towards the traditional music of Indonesia – particularly krontjong – that’s deserved to be (re) introduced to the younger generation so its preservation could be well kept and continuously grows wider among today’s music scene.

Officially Nazarmusic comprises of Nazar (vocal), Sir Iyai (guitar/vocal), Farhan (Cello), Taufik (cak), Rafi (cuk), Dean (guitar), Buyung (bass), Nugraha (flute) and Dafiq (violin). So far they already have 3 original songs that were launched at the Cihampelas Walk (Ciwalk) on 20 July 2019. They also shared the stage with Virzha a couple of weeks ago at the 9th anniversary celebration of Festival Citylink. At this moment they are working hard night and day to finish their full album and video clip that’s ready to go real soon.

This band gave a quite surprising introduction with a krontjong classic written by R Maladi, “Di Bawah Sinar Bulan Purnama”. We say quite suprising because they injected fair amount of blues, rock and jazz over the traditional krontjong mostly played by Dean on guitar. This treatment breathed fresh sound into this timeless gem.

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Then it was time for NazarMusic to bring their original songs. Starting with “Sya La La” that has a smooth Jamaican reggae stiched inside krontjong, Nazar Deipa directly dragged more people as if he was a crowd magnet. This man is still young but he has a big charisma, aside from his status as a celebgram, something that a band would really need to have. Clearly this band has a lot of fans, because we saw many young girls knew the song and sang along with him.

He carried on with his other original song “Story of Mine”, a song with strong indie flavor. Again the fans sang along with him, only this time they moved closer to the stage. The spotlight hitting Nazar who sang expressively in front of some girls who locked their eyes to him while singing together, that created such a beautiful scene.

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BragaJazzNight-65-Tidbits (8)The frontman then switched to Sir Iyai who quickly turned the game more into Jamaican. With him, the dancing scene directly occured as a senior lady from the crowds stepped forward and dance. Not alone, she actively dragged some of the young ladies to dance with her in front. Sir Iyai sang his own songs, starting with “Dancing In The Moon” followed by a medley of “My Way” and “You”. It’s interesting to see the combination of krontjong and Jamaican reggae coming from them. What’s even more interesting is substantial amount of Sundanese Sir Iyai added onto their musical canvas. The happy mood went up the roof. Other than we saw ladies dancing, he bagged a lot of cheers and applauses too.

We thought they were done, but then Dean called Ditra to join the gang. It was sort of jamming, or it could be a featuring, but whatever it is, Ditra worked great as if he was the part of the team when they played a poetic song from Mustache and Beard titled “Senyum Membawa Pesan.” Simply great.

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Was it the end? No. Because then they gave another surprise, playing “Spain” in the spirit of krontjong. Sundanese sound of flute was included, also some thick rock and brit pop were added into it. This should be clearly spontaneous, but they did the tutti very neat. We believe had Chick Corea watched them he would be proud, because NazarMusic with Ditra crafted it awe-inspiringly. Erick Gabe couldn’t help himself not to jump in, he added singing and mouth trumpeting to make one blazing finale for this session as well as this 65th edition of Braga Jazz Night.

A mixture of krontjong with Jamaican reggae, indie music, plus splashes of jazz with rock, blues and even Sundanese created such magical formula that’s not only making a new hybrid of krontjong but also a new wave in music. These 9 young lads, with all the creativity, passion, talents and everything needed, effortlesly made an idea came to life in coolest way possible. We are always proud supporting creative and passion-driven young musicians, and we always love to see new ideas and inventions appear on our stage. NazarMusic had a blast, so did we. We hope to be able to bring them again someday, but for now, we wish them the best, for their upcoming album and their career.

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What an interesting edition this was. We thank all the participating musicians, singers, partners, supporters and of course everyone who came, for no event would hold on if it had no audience. As we are marching in to December, we are preparing the special Christmas edition as usual. We hope to see you again then. Thank you, keep jazzin’ up high!

See more pictures:

Braga Jazz Night 65

Reporter and photographer: Riandy Kurniawan .

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