Braga Jazz Walk was born on September 25, 2014. Jazzuality.com as the conceptor set this event to be a regular jazz community event, served as friendly as possible to accomodate wider segment of music listeners/players in the society. We wish to see people enjoy the show, and the musicians to have the stage as a fun playing ground. Entertainment and education are in our consideration. Musicians from different backgrounds can always come and try to play some jazz. The newcomers can have early promotion for their band, it can also be used by the experienced musicians to promote their album or simply to share what they know to young ones who are following their footsteps. We want it to be a home to everyone, one of the places in Bandung who enable you to have some jazzy fun. The venue Braga CityWalk and KPH Music who provides the instruments and some equipments have been supporting our move from day 1. Here we are now, still running strong and ready to have another journey in 2016.
Ocassionally we also introduce new talents who have potentials to go big in the near future. Surprisingly, we found many diamonds in the rough. Some of them are still in their childhood, the youngest one playing in our stage is 8 year-old, and the oldest is 74 years old. Many of the newcomers started their journey on our stage. Some are already succeed, some are still on the way. We are more than happy to introduce more interesting talents that perhaps you haven’t heard just yet, in a hope that we can give our support towards their career.
In Braga Jazz Walk #19 we featured two bands and introduced two young players who already played remarkably well in their early and mid teens. Performing first was a 12 year-old Boy by the name of Philip Manfred P. He is still a boy in his early teen, but hey, he already shows his passion in jazz and able to execute it well too. If usually kid that age still plays one instrument, Philip moves fast by learning two at once: piano and saxophone. For jazz piano he has the senior piano teacher Yahya Salam at Bandung Conservatory of Music and saxophone with Alfred Dicky Ampouw at d’Boom. Both Yahya and Alfred were present supporting him.
Philip directly showed his magic right after he placed his fingers on the keys by playing Miles Davis’ composition often credited to Charlie Parker, “Donna Lee”. Immidiately we knew how good this young boy is in doing the improvisation. According to his teacher Yahya Salam, this bebop standard gives Philip the chance to learn how to do jazz improvisation language. Philip did very well in executing this very complex arrangement. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” then served beautiful and dreamy.
Based upon our request, Philip played a very old song, a ragtime classic published in 1902 by Scott Joplin, “The Entertainer”. It was really fun! Then came the time for us to hear how good he does the harmony over advanced dissonant chords through “When I Fall in Love”. “Scrapple from the Apple” again wowed us.
Yahya Salam took over the piano as Philip moved in front with saxophone. The student-teacher connection delivered more songs, starting with “Take the ‘A’ Train”, Luiz Bonfá‘s gem “Samba de Orfeu” and finished with Dave Koz’ “Faces of the Heart”. He played with such heartfelt dynamic as if the songs were played by a senior pro.
We have watched how good Philip played from Yahya Salam’s Youtube channel and Facebook before, so we already knew what he’s capable of. But still, watching him playing right in front of us makes us certain that he’s indeed a very special boy, blessed with magical skill to play jazz music. Looking at the fact that hes fully supported by his parents in doing music, we can be sure that Philip will be one of the stars to look up to in the future. He’s playing jazz great, he can already do complex and difficult bebop improvisations, he knows where to stream during his play, how to redress any song into jazz in the right way and craft them all into a heartfelt soundscape, but he’s only just begun. If he continues doing what he does, imagine how he will become later. We want to keep our eyes on him and plan to invite him again a couple of months from now. Simply awe-inspiring.
The other teenager was in the second session. This time it’s a young girl, still 15 year-old named Nayra Dharma. Nayra Dharma, the daughter of Krakatau’s legend Pra Budidharma actually started learning not long ago, not even reaching a year. But other than having her dad’s jazz talent running inside her blood, she’s diligent and persistant too. She practices many many hours every day. From a source we were told that she spends 6 to 8 hours a day to practice under the guidance of Pra himself. No wonder she hatches faster than normal.
We have heard about her from many musicians who might have seen her at some festivals such as Jazz @ Kota Tua or TP Bandung Jazz Festival, or in regular gigs. We have seen her played some Christmas carols at the kids choir competition last month. Now we got the chance to see her pinning jazz standards.
Nayra put a spell on everyone from the start. She began smooth with “Satin Doll”, showcasing her ability to sing and play fingerstyle guitar at the same time. Like a magnet she drew more and more mall-goers into her show, not only at ground floor but also the upper levels. Love was in the air even more with “Dream a Little Dream of Me”.
Nayra demonsrated such high skill by playing Joe Pass’ version of “Misty”. From there, she moved on to embrace bossa without leaving her strong jazz-self, playing a timeless work of Jobim, “Wave”. It was interesting to see her play another gem from Jobim, “Watch What Happens” by inserting Ted Greene’s solo guitar piece. She gave another surprise by singing “La Vie en Rose” in French. As much as we loved her appeareance, she reached the finish line with a cool version of “L-O-V-E” .
Nayra Dharma told her dad that she wanted to be a jazz guitarist. A year later she already got her wish came true. At 15 years old and a year of intensive practice she already plays like a pro. But since she is still learning both guitar and vocal, we can expect to see her in more enhanced ability in the future. If she keeps the pace, it won’t take long until she emerges as the supergirl of jazz from the new generation. Especially since a girl who sings and plays fingerstyle guitar in Indonesia is very, very rare, she has all the chance to climb really fast to the top. She’s adorable, the camera loves her and she plays good jazz in the right way. Her skill is remarkable, her voice has a strong character, sweet but round and firm. Mark our words, she will be big soon.
Third session was taken by a long time teacher of Purwacaraka Music Studio Jhonny Edwin Sitompul. He has been teaching since 2000, but actually he’s not just a teacher because he’s been writing songs since 1986, even before he entered the Faculty of Cultural Science of North Sumatra University majoring Ethnomusicology. A few months ago he told us that he would love to play his original songs, we directly responded by giving him a slot.
He played under a group simply called Jhonny Sitompul Project, consisting of his friends Wandi (cajon), Muhamad Choirul Rifki aka Mbot Irul (guitar), Donald Tobing (bass) and Caroline Boenardi (vocal).
The team began with a song Jhonny wrote 9 years ago: “Kata Hati”. Caroline joined them on stage to sing Marc Anthony’s song, “My Baby You”. As Irul is now promoting his album, he sang his second single. Caroline replaced Irul for a cover of Charlie Puth’s recent hit, “One Call Away”. The first single of Irul titled “You” was next. Irul stood in front with energetic performance, carrying this upbeat track to cheer us up.
For the last song, Jhonny gave a winning song, “Let Us Play”. This song may become his masterpiece as well as showing his ability to infuse the influence of Melayu and Batak into a fusionesque track. A very, very good song indeed.
Jhonny Sitompul is known as a great guitar teacher in Bandung who have produced many successful musicians. He’s also known as a skillful all-round playing musician. Now let’s add another points: a good band leader and superb song writer/composer. Tonight he introduced to us and the public some of his best original compositions. Having a strong team mates inside the band is another key factor that makes his songs feel alive. We hope the Jhonny Sitompul Project be continued, not ended up just as a one time project. Surely there are many more songs to play, and let’s hope we can have him again in other editions. Nice ethnic fusion from him. Hail to the guitar teacher.
The final show marked the return of a band we knew so well, Chakraborty. The last time they performed on our stage was at the end of 2014, so we are happy to have them back again. There are many things going on since then with this band. First, now they have new formation. Other than the original members: band leader Joe Yeung/Joo Yang on drums and Nicodemus Horisson on piano, the former guitarist Jerry Gates is now back into the band. They have new bassist Jere Fernando and new vocalist Tamara Sayidina. They have launched an EP titled “Seven Sense” in August 2015 and successfully sold the album out in Bandung, Palembang, Medan all the way to reach Hong Kong and China in just around 2 months. Other achievement is by being mentioned as one of 15 Best Bands in International Music Crowd Challenge 2015. Their single “Kepahitan Termanis” became the 3rd winner of this competition, while two other songs entered the Best 10 Tracks. Quite an achievement for them, but they do earn it.
“Spain” became a cool opening before the vocalist came in, followed by Fourplay’s song featured in their 1991 selftitled debut album, “101 Eastbound”. Tamara, the new vocalist then led with Adera’s “Lebih Indah”. Not only sing, she’s also expressive with swaying body language expressing her total immersion in music.
Their winning single “Kepahitan Termanis” became the last presentation. This song has all the reason to succeed. It’s happy beat, ear-catchy melody and lyrics that represents what we experience in our love life.
Not every band can sustain after losing some of its members, but Chakraborty isn’t only survived, they managed to get some achievements too during that kind of weather. The new members did very well in keeping the pulse of the band and ready for a better future. We knew them not long after they were formed, now we are seeing them more often playing everywhere from small to prestigious big stages. Chakraborty is a good band with a strong sense of jazz that at the same time friendly to non jazz listeners.
With this new formation they sound fresh. Some new colors and vibes are in, all in the good way. We need bands like this to introduce jazz to more and more music lovers. Keep moving up, Chakraborty! It’s only a matter of time until you reach your ultimate goal.
Jam session took place right after. 9 year-old magic finger Nadine, who had been enjoying the show from the beginning gave a solo piano, playing “Footprints” after being inspired from Joey Alexander’s gig she found in Youtube. It’s amazing how a girl still in that early age could be doing this. What we are trying to do is to support her by giving her a lot of time to play. By having a lot of playground, she could gain experience fast as she upgrades her skill.
Sabine (vocal) and Ilham (guitar) of Roja Blues also took part in the jam session. Together with some of the Chakraborty, they pinned “Route 66”. Tamara and guitarist Anthony Joseph jumped in for one last drop, covering Tulus’ hit “Teman Hidup.”
So that’s what happened at the first Braga Jazz Walk in 2016. This 19th edition again served wide variation of style, age and format. From young teens, students to senior teachers, from the new project to an active band. We think it’s another good round.
Starting February, we are moving the schedule to the third Thursday of the month. There are more new names to feature, there are more bands in our circle that we want to keep updated. Thank you for your support fellas. We do need it in order to keep this event running. See you again in the month of love, February.
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