Braga Jazz Walk #21 was held a couple of days ago on March 17, 2016. As usual we separated the event in four showcases and open jam session at the end. As this is a jazz community event, we don’t just invite bands but often collaborate with music schools and teachers as well. They can promote the school or themselves by sending in their representatives or involving directly on stage.
We think it’s important to connect with them. The music schools and teachers are working hard in equipping their students with skills, meanwhile we have an event that they can use as a try out. The students can practice everything they have learnt from their teachers and gain experience in performing live in front of real audience. For the audience, they can enjoy whatever served from the stage.
Meanwhile, those successful ones can always join in the community event like this. They can meet new friends, promote new albums, compositions, formations etc, or simply to just having fun. A community event can also be a friendly meeting point between musicians and the fans. No barricades, no security, body guards or strict regulations that seperate both parties, everyone can hang out together. For promoters and event organizers, community event can be a window to find good talents.
There are many successful artists actually began their journey from music communities, including or maybe even especially, jazz. As we are thinking of the regeneration process of jazz musicians, providing a friendly place to play like this would really help us to do it. Braga Jazz Walk is one of the places to be.
This 21st edition started with a special performance from a music school which applies the international Encore Music Education curriculum in Indonesia for the first time: M.E Music Centre. As how the name says, the school was founded by Michelle Efferin in 2006, just a year after she graduated from Australian Insitute of Music. This music school has been teaching many kids from age 4 or 6, either in playing the instruments or vocal. Thanks to them today we got many kids who can play jazz the right way in Bandung. We have saw many of good fruits, for example the JFK (Jazz for Kids).
Now, for the first time they landed on Braga Jazz Walk. Led by the founder herself, the name of the band is Michelle Efferin & Friends featuring Jazz Teens Vocal Quartet. Performing alongside Michelle Efferin (piano) was her husband Richard Sirait (drums), Oggie Samuel (guitar) and Iwan (bass). The Jazz Teens Vocal Quartet comprises of teenage singers: Celline Indrawirawan, Lolita, Madeline Abigail, Sydney Gabrielle, plus she brought more young singers: Naomi Kumala, Patricia Angelica, Christopher Emmanuel and her own daughter, still four year-old, Kezia.
11 year old Sydney opened up their performance with “Cheek to Cheek”, followed by … (12) singing Colbie Caillat song, “I Do”. They are still in tender age, but they did well with this song. The voice were in tune, and their innoncence created such adorable atmosphere. Then Celline, the oldest of the teens stepped up and wowed us by pinning Etta James’ classic “At Last”. This young girl has really lovely voice that should become one of the success story of M.E Music Centre.
Then it’s time to listen to the only boy in the singing team. His name is Christopher, still 10 year old but he speaks English and Mandarin fluently. He sang a famous song from Utha Likumahuwa, “Esok Kan Masih Ada”. After that, Madeline sang “Lullaby of Birdland”.
The Jazz Teens Quartet took the final round, with the adorable 4 year old Kezia who started first singing “Over the Rainbow”. It’s really amazing to see how a 4 year old girl could sing an English song in perfect pitch, and she wasn’t afraid at all being watched by many people on stage. The quartet carried on with one last bite, the jolly joyride “Take the ‘A’ Train.”
It’s really cool to see teenagers do so well in jazz. They are still young, but they can already perform together with their teachers. The four year old Kezia became the youngest person ever performed on our stage, and it was also her first time to sing on jazz stage. We are proud of her!
Michelle Efferin and her music centre has been consistency producing young jazz talents since 10 years ago. Just watching this performance, we could see how successful the school is in teaching the kids, not only how to sing right but also how to perform on stage. They are going to celebrate the 10th anniversary soon with a special concert in October, but before that they are preparing junior class competitions too around May, June or July. Successful decade for them, let’s wish them the best for many more decades.
Performing next was the band whose members related to senior and famous guitar teacher in Bandung, Acep Bachtiar. Majority of the members are his current students, the band was established under his guidance. The name of this new band is Boundless. The band has two guitarists in the front line: Herman Yulianto and Joe Luthier, with Abet Darmaji (bass), John Daurux (drums) and Erick Gabe (vocal). Since they are trained by Acep himself, jazz-rock fusion are found strong within their souls.
A big surprise happened. Acep didn’t just come but he involved fully by playing alongside his students. So many of his students came to watch him, showing how he is loved by them, not just as a teacher but also like a dear father.
A song written by Acep Bachtiar just a night earlier titled “Last Night” was really deep, touching everyone with his heartfelt music. Then they took on Lee Ritenour’s “Night Rhythms”. The combination of Joe’s fully rocking touch, jazz and blues from Herman and Acep’s free running above the layers were just cool. John is actually not a drummer, but he did well on drums accompanying them. Abet has improved from the last time we saw him.
Erick Gabe then joined them to sing. The last three songs involved vocals. Starting from Doobie Brother’s classic “Long Train Runnin'”, “Pergi Untuk Kembali” to a very famous number from Chick Corea, “Spain” where Erick demonstrated his stunning singing ability. He was wild in this last song and the whole band with Acep Bachtiar gave jazz-rock paintings over the pallette. So, the more rockin’ version of “Spain”, it does work.
Herman, Abet and Erick are the personnels of Out of 7. While the band is currently setting up their return, it’s cool to see these three had fun with a new band. There’s nothing wrong to be active in more than enough band. May this fresh start brings them to something good. We also extend our grattitude to Acep Bachtiar for playing on our stage. We salute him.
The third slot showcased a funky blues with ‘Nirvana-ttitude’ courtesy of cool four young musicians who dare to break the limit: Green Dolphin Street. For a start, they decided to use the title of a famous jazz standard as the name. But they don’t play swing or bebop. Instead, they stay true to each of their sources of inspiration which apparently really wide, from Kurt Cobain to Michael Jackson, from The Beatles to Buddy Guy. What’s cool is that they know what to do with all these influences to make their own style.
The band was established in 2011 and now consists of four personnels: Antoni Sidjabat (vocal), Yosia Herdian Widianto (drums), David Alexander Manullang (guitar) and Okapatria Christie Adryan (bass). Last Christmas they released a special EP titled “Blues Christmas” with the spirit of charity. They donated 30% from the profit to a foundation in Semarang, showing their support to the youngsters for a better tomorrow. Now the band releases a new EP, “Extended Play”. As a part of promoting the album, they landed on our stage for the very first time.
The band directly twisted us with mind-boggling rock, taking on a different version of Koes Plus’ “Jemu”. Then they sang their own song that speaks loud of the rulers, “Man Behind the Gun”. Antoni blasted the stage with really expressive gestures on both songs. The power beat served chilled by Yosia, Oka gave vicious funky chops and David placed them high in the rockin’ land.
The next song was interesting, because the sang Iwan Fals’ “Bento” with more rockin’ and rollin’ mode. The Blues classic “The Thrill is Gone” came next in which Antoni also played guitar before they sealed the performance with the new single they are currently promoting “Yesterday I’m in Love”. They were generous to share their album for free in this event.
Edgy, wild and rebelious side of blues with funk served cool by Green Dolphin Street which gave a fresh variation into this event. They play tight and clean, has lots of ingredients inside their music. That’s why you can find them in various different events, from rock, blues to jazz. Being together for 5 years makes them able to find the good chemistry. Today they have tons of gigs from Bandung to Jakarta, they have appeared on the radio and television, they have albums with original songs, it’s just a matter of time for them to be at the top of the game. From now on, if you hear the phrase Green Dolphin Street, you would know that it’s not only mean bebop, but it can also refer to the rockin’ funk blues with Nirvana-ttitude.
For the last performance we featured a new project of soulful saxman. His name is Hendike Muzaki. He’s still young but he’s been playing for quite some times now. We came to know hims when he played as a member of Final Script two years ago. He was found in 5th Avenue and played in one of Braga Jazz Walk’s early edition as Lumiere. Since he’s a good saxophonist, we asked if he ever thought of working on his solo career. He told us that he planned to do a project. It was more than a year ago. Now finally, we are looking at that his project for real.
Calling the project simply as Hendike Muzaki Project, he brought in high skilled friends including Klency Lyman Lembono (piano), Chris Alfeus (guitar), Ilham Septia Inda Nugraha (bass), Eggy (drums) and Bhisma Jaya Prasaja (keyboard).
They managed to grab the attention from the start with Chuck Loeb’s “True of False”. Then Hendike led on The Stylistics’ classic “You Are Everything” in more Kirk Whalum approach. The sound of Hendike’s saxophone was full of soul and heartfelt. Interestingly, while it can be clearly seen that he’s the leader, he knows how to share the frontline with his fellows. Chris did his part beautifully the way he does in his band 5th Avenue. Klency is a great young jazz pianist, he worked perfectly with Bhisma on synth. Ilham, probably the busiest bassist in Bandung today was strong, while Eggy served the beat nicely.
For the third song they played Reza’s hit “Pertama”. This is an example of smart arrangement, how they can make a pure smooth jazz version of it without throwing out all the beauty essences of the original. This song would be a success if they ever thought of including it into the recordings. They took us to a groovy jazz party by playing Brian Culbertson’s “Get It On” which turned out to be their last song.
This is a project of a saxophonist. Normally we won’t get too much melodic instruments in front, but Hendike decided to share the frontline with some of his compatriotes. It turned out all right. We can still get his sax lines dominated the performance but at the same time the portion of other melodic instruments are well balanced too. Soulful smooth jazz sounded beautiful from Hendike and his project. When it’s about to go funky, they did great as well. We can never get enough of funky smooth jazz, and certainly we can never get enough of the seducing sound of sax can we?
Since it was already late, we couldn’t open the jam session anymore. A group photo session became the ending of this edition.
In this edition we stretched the horizon pretty wider than usual. From jazz standard to soulful smooth jazz, from Jazz-rock fusion to blues funk, all were captured in this 21st edition. Not only that, we are proud to be able to feature a good music (jazz) school that applies international curriculum and a new band established by senior guitar and bass teacher.
We will be back next month with more bands to highlight. Just for a hint, there will be a unique jazz band that’s rooted to standard but has more sounds from new wave to healing music. Then, a band from Bandung who jus enjoyed their first major breakthrough by playing in the Java Jazz Festival. Stay tuned, see you next month.
Watch the highlight of Braga Jazz Walk 21 on our Youtube channel:
See more pictures: