The 24th edition of Braga Jazz Walk was costumed special to celebrate the holy month for Muslims, the month of Ramadhan. The holy month of Ramadhan is observed by Muslims all around the world as a month of fasting, also a time of deep contemplation and prayer to Allah, and charitable generousity. The venue Braga CityWalk celebrates it by putting a theme called “Afternoon at Arbaraga” that will stay on for two month until July 2016. Various events and activities has been taking place in this mall. As we are also a part of the regular program, we were happy to suit our theme to theirs.
Can jazz be used to celebrate it? Yes, jazz can work very well to this. The Middle Eastern elements has been used widely for ages as an integrated part of jazz, and speaking of Islamic religious purpose, jazz has been showing its power too for quite some times, for example, probably the biggest one in the world, the annual Ramadhan Jazz initiated by Wartajazz and RICMA that has entered the 6th consecutive year. Whether it’s big or small, the holy month of Ramadhan can be celebrated in jazz. We have been wishing to be able to make a Ramadhan jazz event, but it was difficult for us because many venues didn’t want to have trouble for holding an event during the month. This year we finally got the chance.
For this Braga Jazz Walk: Special Ramadhan Edition, as usual we invited 4 bands to fill it in. We got a trio led by widely respected pianist in Bandung, the new band of the 9 year-old wonder girl, a successful band that recently enjoys its new concept and the reunion of a pop jazz/soul groove band.
Let’s get down to business. This event marks the return/reunion of a groovy creative pop jazz band, D’Sas (De’Seven Art Soul). This band was born in 2009, two years before we met them for the first time at the band auditions for Kampoeng Jazz 2011. At that time they caught our attention by performing cheerfully in rich tone. With loads of young players inside including Yuyu Yulia and Rizky (vocals), Tegar and Rudi (guitars), Fachri (bass), Dovie (synthesizer) and Ilham (drums), they got shiny achievements in the early stage of their career such as winning the Java Jazz Festival audition for Bandung region in 2010 and one of the top 15 bands from Bandung at LA Light Indie Fest at the same year. In 2013 Welly added up the color for the band by positioning on keyboard.
Later Yuyu resigned due to her decision to do business in the same year. Not wanting to stop, the band brought in new vocalist, Felicia. It should have worked fine, but D’Sas decided to quit. Luckily the band found its way to reunite. They were soon ready to go back in action, and we are delighted that this event became the event that witnessed their comeback. What’s also cool is that the band is actually back to its first formation, including Yuyu Yulia who captivated our attention back then with lovely performance and sweet voice and the cool, manly voice of Rizky.
For this edition some of the personnels couldn’t come. Other than Yuyu Yulia and Rizky Fedriansyah, D’Sas was represented by Tegar Perdana and Rudi (guitars), Muhamad Fachri Dwipraja (bass) and an additional drummer Firly. They opened up with a jolly groovy number “Kangen” which quickly brought our mind to 5 years ago when we caught our eyes on them. Then they delivered a religious song originally sang by Novia Kolopaking and later by GIGI, “Dengan Menyebut nama Allah”. Still in religious mood to suit the theme, D’Sas covered Chrisye’s “Ketika Tangan dan Kaki Berkata” and as if they wanted to bring us back to where they started, they delivered the last song from The Groove, “Dahulu”.
Eventhough they didn’t have the keyboard and synth players, it was a strong comeback of D’Sas that happened on our stage. They still have the passion and joy of playing music just like before. Since this formation is filled with those who started the band, we could clearly see that they still have the chemistry. They played solid, serving funky and groovy pop jazz and two songs that fit the theme of Ramadhan. As for Yuyu Yulia, the last time we had her was 2 years ago in the other venue. This girl can really sing, and we are happy that she decides to stand behind the mike again while still pursuing her career in business. Maybe it’s not easy, but we are sure she can work it out. Let’s hope D’Sas a good future. May they carry on and achieve more in the future. We are hoping to invite them again in a couple of months from now and enjoy their groove again.
Next was the magical wonder-girl, Nadine Adrianna and her new group, Nadine Adrianna & Friends. We call her girl-wonder not for no reason. Isn’t it amazing that a girl could compose modern jazz songs like those in early Blue Note era and lead a band even before her age reaches two digits? Yes, she did all these at 9 years of age. She plays jazz piano in a way as if she has been doing this for much longer years than the time she has spent in the world. What makes us even prouder is that she began her musical journey right here a dozen edition ago at the 12th (http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/braga-jazz-walk-12-the-report/).
If last time she performed as a trio involving her father, this time she featured players around her age (all the way to teen) in quartet format: Praga Sabrani Tony (violin, 18 years old), Raihan Ardisoma (drums, 12 years old) and Sean Zuffar (bass, 18 years old).
After taking a moment to greet everyone and introduced her new band mates, Nadine led the boys to play two very popular jazz songs, Chick Corea’s “Spain” and Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Night in Tunisia”. It’s really fascinating to see how this girl rearranged these songs in simplicity yet felt natural. It’s not easy to play the tutti part of “Spain”, but they did it remarkably clean. Nadine and Praga shared the frontline evenly. They both got their moment to shine, while the two other players well guarded them. Raihan, the 12 year-old drummer served the beat in lively dynamic (he was amazing when they did tradings). Nadine then played her own composition inspired by Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints” titled “Wayne Street”, and then covered Tompi’s religious song “Ramadhan Datang”.
It’s interesting to see Nadine shared the melody line with violin in front. This little wonder girl once again proofed her capability in playing jazz and moved further ahead from trio to quartet. There are still many sides to explore, and the good thing is, she still have a lot of time for that. Indonesia is really blessed to have unbelievable talents like this. As Joey Alexander surprises the world, Nadine is so ready to follow his footsteps.
The third round was YD Nafis Trio. This respected accomplished pianist YD Nafis started his solo project two years ago as a playground for him to represent his true-self, aside of his activity with West Java Syndicate and Tesla Manaf feat Mahagotra Ganesha. Interestingly, he already played as duo at this event before he even found the right bassist. With the trio he has performed twice in previous editions. In this special Ramadhan he was supposed to appear as YD Nafis Project with a female vocalist, but since she couldn’t make it, YD Nafis decided to go back to the trio formation.
Joining him was his loyal partner Alman Naufal on drums and a skillful young bassist Aries Ardiansyah. As usual, the ‘double A’- Alman and Aries – did fine works in building the concept.
YD Nafis told us that the first song would be “All the Things You Are”. We thought we knew the song, but hey, he actually began with surprising Arabian music touch over the keys, which after a while slowly directed to this famous Jerome Kern’ song. Such a triumphant opening. Then he delivered Tizol and Ellington’s precious gem “Caravan” before once again stunned us with Middle-Eastern opening on another standard, “Softly As the Morning Sunrise.” It was like a slice between jazz and classical in sparkly, glittery Arabian 1001 Nights mood. Aries was sharp on bass, neat and clean, while Alman as usual tranced on drums especially when he got several solo runs. They slowed down on the last song, taking Luis Bonfa’s classic “Black Orpheus”, also known as “Manhã de Carnaval”. Starting with Arabian, swinging all the way through and reaching the end with bossa, that was really something.
YD Navis Trio smartly infused the Middle Eastern nuance into their jazz pallette. The way they worked the concept to fit the theme shows their professionalism. We enjoy YD Nafis’ performance as a part of West Java Syndicate and Tesla Manaf feat Mahagotra Ganesha, but in this band we got the chance to taste his true musical-self. Other than being skillful, Nafis also has good control, lovely dinamic and charming. As a leader, he makes his compatriotes feel at ease by smiling and communicating with them throughout the performance. The way he embraced the Arabian music into jazz was really sensational. A 5-star performance, cool session.
Chakraborty took over the stage afterwards for the final session. This band was established in 2013 by Joo Yang. The name is using a Sanskrit word originated from the North Indian ancient mythology meaning ‘the best/the ruler’ which for them meant ‘becoming or doing the best’.
Their journey is never an easy one. There have been struggles and even turbulences that they had to go through, but the band actually is strong enough to pass them all. Not only they survive, they keep on making achievements and growing. Tamara Sayidina is now in front as the vocalist. Chakraborty is an ‘organic’ band, means they adjust the concept according to the people inside it. Now they are more pop-ish, but still jazz fusion is pulsing strong in every song. Other than the band leader on drums and Tamara on vocal, today the personnels are Jerry Gates (guitar), Nicodemus Horisson (piano) and Jere Fernando (bass). One EP titled “Seven Sense” was sold in many cities not only in Indonesia but also in HongKong and China. Joo yang has also played in numerous places in China and bagged good comments from musicians in there.
For tonight, however, Jerry Gates couldn’t make it. Joo responded by bringing in two cool additionals, a saxophonist Dennis and a lady guitarist, Megawaty Tjoa.
They started sailing with an instrumental version of jazz standard “All of Me”. Though the arrangement seemed simple, they made some interesting twists in it that gave them applause. Tamara joined the gang after that to sing 3 songs. First, their hit single “Kepahitan Termanis” which enabled them to groove delightfully, a famous song from the 80’s written by Deddy Dhukun and Yongki Soewarno, “Akhirnya” and then a song from Gamaliel Audrey Cantika, “Cinta”. All were delivered beautifully by them.
Dennis and Megawaty blended with the band very well as they expanded the musical zone of Chakraborty for tonight. Jere and Nico who wore kufi hats gave excellent service as usual. The leader Joo Yang was cool, calm and confident behind the drum, showing not only he’s a good drummer but also an excellent leader. As for the singer, Tamara’s crisp voice with strong character and expressive stage-act appearance made the band’s apperance delightful and fun as always. This band is among a few loyal bands who always happily fill the slot whenever we ask them to. That shows their passion and how ready they are as a band. They can cook their dish according to the given theme and do their best in making the concept alive. Always a pleasure to have them in our event. One thing for sure, this won’t be the last. We will surely invite them again in the near future.
There were many musicians came to jam including bassist Farhan Faikar, guitarist Wahyu, two personnels of 5 Petani : Frank Navayo (guitar) and Gershon Valdo (piano) and Albert Shadrach (drums) among others. Unfortunately the time already went past 10pm, the closing time of the mall. So we had to end the event right away. A photo session became the last drop 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. Next month we are going to feature more great talents, including a band from Jakarta for those who love bossa, an Indonesian young pianist who resides in Singapore and a dynamic female duo who are genius in blending classical and jazz along with expressive performance.
Watch the highlight of Braga Jazz Walk: Special Ramadhan Edition:
See more pictures: