The Braga Jazz Walk #26 was held last Thursday. The venue Braga CityWalk gave a theme “Independence Jazz” in conjuction with their Braganesia program in celebrating the Indonesian Independence Day. For us, this edition is interesting because there were three bands presenting different jazz stories, but all linked to one word: New. All of them have something new to share. There were familiar faces found in here, but they performed with new bands/projects/team mates. All new groups in one episode like this shows a healthy and progressing process. Bandung currently has many new jazz-related bands. For us who made this event to support and push the regeneration of jazz musicians, we are happy with the situation.
The first season featured a very young jazz genius. Still 13 year-old, this boy has been showing his talent in jazz through two instruments: piano and saxophone. His name is Philip Manfred. We have invited him some months ago where he played alongside his piano teacher, Yahya Salam who have been equipping him for 3 years, not only with the basic skill but also in how to do complex bebop improvisations and play it right. Yahya Salam is a senior piano teacher who has planted solid basic for so many successful pianists/musicians. He teaches at Venche Music School and Bandung Conservatory of Music. But Yahya isn’t the only ‘jazz’ mentor, because he also has Dicky Ampouw as his saxophone teacher.
Since a couple of months ago, Yahya took him one step higher, as a band leader. It’s time for him to learn more especially in playing collective as a part of a team and of course as a leader. Luckily he got great partners that he can learn from, two players that know exactly how to support, it’s the double A, Alman Naufal (drums) and Aries Ardiansyah (bass). So the band is set, it’s called Philip Manfred Trio.
Philip began with saxophone, blazing with the bebop mainstay by Dizzie Gillespie, “Groovin’ High”. He patiently waited for his compatriotes doing the solo run in some parts and controlled the dynamic of the song. Joshua Redman’s “Jazz Crimes” became the next playground for these boys to have fun, followed by John Coltrane’s “Giant Step”. According to his father, Philip joined the Bali Jazz Summer School program, the educational program of Ubud Village Jazz Festival where he took master class with Michael Varekamp and Ben van den Dungen. As an evidence, clearly his level of playing rises up from the last time we saw him in early 2016.
Philip then moved to piano, playing his original composition titled “Sunny Days”. This proves that he is capable to write and compose too For the last song, he led his mates to play Herbie Hancock’s song from mid 60’s, “Dolphin Dance”.
We have invited and seen the progress of some amazing kids in our events. After Kafin and Nadine Adrianna, we have to say Philip Manfred is also specially gifted in jazz. He plays difficult compositions on piano, he is soulful and dynamic with saxophone. He already has original composition too and a new role as band leader. He is much improved in everything. One thing for sure, we will invite him again to get updates. And we will keep on getting in touch with music/jazz teachers to see more potential kids to support. Philip, we are very, very proud of you!
In the second round we presented the band who literally use the word ‘new’ as the name: Baru. This is a five-piece band that was built as the continuation of the musical journey of three friends: Farhan Faikar (bass), Raka Rizkyandi (drum) and Wahyu Andrian (guitar). Farhan and Raka have been buddies since high school and proved to be soulmate in music. They have been together in various bands such as the naughty blues GFRtrio, MotionVibe and Rizka Adlina. Wahyu was with them in MotionVibe from the start until the band got disbanded about a year ago. The three of them wish to find a fresh new start and a solid base, so they established this band.
For this appearance the band featured two more players: Fauzan Hakim (saxophone) and Omega Touselak (piano). Nick Jonas’ hit “Jealous” was a start before they sang their own song, “Jadi Milikku”. It’s great to see a new band already think of having original song this soon, and it’s a good one too. Keith Martin’s “Because of You” was another good choice that fit Drastian’s heavy RnB voice tone and then sealed their performance with Charlie Puth’s “We Don’t Talk Anymore”.
The smooth, funky soulful RnB and pop jazz served by Baru made a fresh start for this event. They carried on what’s left from MotionVibe with new concept especially by using smaller band size and when needed, they can always expand their size with additional players. It’s good to see this new playground of three friends and their new team mate on vocal. We hope this band can last long and keep growing, because we see the potential and creativity, also the joy of playing among the members.
The final performance for the night came from a new acoustic jazz duo, Jane & DO. This duo is built upon two amazing artists: singer Jane Doe (Jane Christina) and guitarist Opik Bape. We believe Jane & BO is a group born by fate, or at least at the right time, because both of them were looking for partner. Jane needed someone to play with after coming home from Netherlands, while Opik wished to build a new project after his groups Satura and Agis Bape no longer existed. It didn’t take long for them to settle in as Jane & BO. If any of you wonder what their name refer to, at first BO was meant to be Bojangles. But then Opik twisted it to be the initial of his name, reversed.
It’s interesting to see their selection of songs. They started with a famous nursery rhyme from the late 19th century which brought famous by young Ella Fitzgerald in 1938, “A-Tisket, A-Tasket”. Not many singers/bands in Indonesia sing this anymore, so we are happy to hear it again from a duo as good as them. “Next, I’m going to sing The Beatles’ hit with our own style”, said Jane. And it was the swingin’ version of “Can’t Buy Me Love”. A song popularized by Marylin Monroe “I’m Through With Love” is a perfect choice for Jane & BO. Jane nailed it perfectly with Opik’s ellegant swinging guitar playing.
Jane called a unique duo to join them on stage. It’s Curly & Me. This is the home of two best-friend and songwriting partners: Ganesha Wibisana and Aris Malik. Speaking of the concept, this duo (re)introduced duet singing with close harmony parts the way The Everly Brothers, Simon & Garfunkel and the likes did in the 50’s and 60’s era. They also draw influences from The Beatles and The Beach Boys among others. We don’t see the vocal harmony duet like this so often anymore, therefore we are delighted to be in touch with this cool dudes.
They formed a vocal harmony trio with Jane who stood in between them. As Indonesia celebrates the 71st Independence Day, they sang “Padamu Negeri”. From two to four, the collaboration created more colors in singing two more songs. The classic song from almost a century ago, “I’ll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time” was made as if it was The Everly Brothers who sang in The Andrews Sisters’ way. And then, the ever-cool “Java Jive” transformed The Manhattan Transfer into trio.
Jane & BO gave a really fine performance in taking us back to the swing golden era, not only to the 50’s but all the way to the 20’s, even to the late 1800’s. Interestingly, they don’t sound outdated but somehow still relevant to today’s ears, just like the good presentation they delivered in our other event a week ago. Jane’s beautiful vocal tone which is perfect in singing jazz standards somehow felt modern too. Opik is brilliant as usual, like a one man band. As for Curly & Me, if before they only sang pop rock/folk, they are currently working on extending their musical canvas with jazz. We will feature them soon.
Erick Gabe stopped Jane & BO from leavng the stage that triggered the jam session. The three of them immidiately presented the swingin’ version of “Indonesia Pusaka” which set the jam session to special patriotic theme. Omega Touselak joined on piano, also Alman (drums), Aries (bass) and Philip (saxophone) making the stage now crowded. This batch played “Tanah Airku” and “Hari Merdeka”.
Raka replaced Alman and Farhan took over the bass from Aries. Fauzan added more sax on stage. “Halo-Halo Bandung” came from this second formation. One more song from Baru personnels based only on eye- contact among them, creating a very cool smooth jazz tune. Group photo session became the very last drop for this edition.
New bands, new projects, fresh concept became the highlights of this 26th edition. But more than that, they became the miniature of the positive jazz scene in Bandung today. We will keep on supporting the local musicians and do our best to provide reliable and friendly playground for them.
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