Still a few days away from Christmas 2015. That’s true, but we decided to run the Braga Jazz Walk Special Christmas Edition earlier to let every musicians enjoy their holiday. Some are even heading to their hometown to celebrate Christmas with friends and family, or simply just to enjoy the festive moment. This is the second Christmas edition we created at Braga Jazz Walk and the third we’ve ever made so far (the first one was at Bandung Indah Plaza a few years back http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/jazzuality-christmas-jazz-at-bandung-indah-plaza-the-report/).
If last year we invited three bands, this year we double it up in a hope to make Christmas celebration in 2015 even merrier. Just like in any edition of Braga Jazz Walk, we put variety in priority. There were established musicians, the newcomers, those who serve in church even children. Variety of styles were there too, since each of them came from different background. Christmas carols, gospels, covers plus some originals entertained us all and made us dipped in joy for more than three hours.
Due to the plenty number of playing bandswe started earlier than usual. A choir representing GKI Maulana Yusuf got their chance. It wasn’t an adult choir but of elementary school children (the youngest one was still 7 year-old). The name is Yosia Kids Choir. Consists of no less than 27 kids, Yosia is the winner the Kids Choir competition for West Java held just a while back. Imagine, there were more than 2 dozen of children running and playing around the venue. But surprisingly, when they were called to take place on stage, all of a sudden they all stood in order and ready to sing.
Conducted by Yosia’s Instructor Lelyana Magdalena and Lydia Utami on piano, Yosia sang 4 songs: “Child of Peace”, “Insan Diciptakan”, “Shout for Joy” and “Sing Noel”. Good control, nice harmony, these kids delivered all that, plus they also got some choreo, simple but sweet to watch. Flawless and adorable performance.
Just several days ago we heard a big surprise about the 12 year-old Indonesian prodigy Joey Alexander got nominated in 2 categories for 2016 Grammy Awards. Indonesia is blessed for having many phenomenal talents in early age. We have featured some of these amazing kids in the previous edition, proudly featured their awesomeness in playing piano, drum, singing and so on. Speaking of piano, in this edition we brought back the great 9 year-old girl who plays jazz on piano, her name is Nadine.
She took off with a cute, playful opening “Winter Wonderland” with “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” inserted in the end. Beautiful streams of notes clearly rooted in jazz being poured naturally from her heart. Then she played a classic from The Sound of Music, “My Favourite Thing” and wowed everyone by playing probably the most recognizable repertoire of Sonny Rollins, “St Thomas”. Nadine sometimes closed her eyes, showing how much her soul connected to her playing. Then she ended cheerfully with “Jingle Bells” that was served in seamless style variations.
Comparing to her first appearance, now she’s now calmer and more confident. She now has good control, better skill, braver in taking risks and what amaze us even more is that she arranges the songs herself! Another thing that we notice, her left hand is so much alive now, serving strong rhythm during her play. Since now she’s mentored by senior pianist Imam Pras, we wonder how good she will become. Based on her talent and effort, we believe she will reach her dream big time, hopefully as big as her favorite pianist, Indra Lesmana or even more. Go Nadine go!
Also from the same church as Yosia was MY Teens who reprised their participation after last year’s Christmas Edition (http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/braga-jazz-walk-special-christmas-edition-report/). They were known as My Kids before, but since they are all now in their teens, they prefer to be called My Teens instead. Featuring good band consisting of Adam (guitar), Billy (drum), Ferdi (piano), Panji (bass) and a potential talent, a young girl who gets better and better in singing, Luis Anastasia, they only gave 2 songs: “Because of Who You Are” featuring their vocal coach Erick Gabe and “Christmas Song”. According to Erick they didn’t get enough time to practice properly, but they actually did really, really well.
After a year we notice that they got more solid. Now they got more variation, more confidence and tighter chemistry, plus their skills are enhanced too. From My Kids to My Teens, they grow not only in age but also in music playing as a band. We loved them last year, we love them even more this year.
It’s time for us to have a vocal harmony session consisting of church singers from City Light Community Church (CLCC) musicians from other churches. They called themselves The Canticles, based on how much they love to spread God’s love and kindness with their vocals. They use their talent to glorify God and bless others by serving on churches around Bandung. We believe they can bless more people outside the churches’ walls, so we offered them to participate in this Christmas edition. And they said yes.
Cinthya Febrina Sinaga, Chrissendy Felicia Tampubolon, Hertika Sianturi. Frouline Septianingrum, Iwan Yandika Sihotang and Pahala Theofilus, the personnels of The Canticles took position on stage and gave a lovely acoustic version of “Because of Who You Are” as the first song. What we love when we heard some of them sang in Sunday service at CLCC was all there.
They turned jolly with “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and then back to worship mode with Hillsongs’ “When I Think About the Lord”. They then sang a famous song based on Psalm 30:11, “Mourning into Dancing” in Indonesian language and sealed their session with their heartfelt version of “O Holy Night”.
Four ladies with lovely soulful voice and beautiful harmony are always sweet to hear. When it comes to Christmas carols, these nightingales give the mixture of joy and peace to our heart. Thank you, The Canticles, thank you for blessing us with your gifts. Keep serving Him, may you all always be blessed.
Then came the time to enjoy a dear friend, former Rising Star Indonesia (2014), StarVoices (season 3) and X Factor Indonesia (2015): Andre Arizky. Her deep baritone vocal tone always remind us of the great legend Elton John, which actually is one of his source of inspiration.
If the last time he appeared all alone tributing Elton John, this time he brought some friends along. For the first time he performed in full band featuring saxophonist Ilham Pamuji (of Isola Jazz band), Murrad Aziz (guitar) and Hardian (drum).As if he wished to remind us of the way David Foster loves to make his concert by involving lots of stars, Andre gave Foster’s “Just For A Moment” for the first bite. On the second song they changed the course, going rocking and rolling on “Jingle Bells Rock” in medley with Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog”. Tri Bagus Aji joined them for “Malam Biru”. His smokey soulful voice was beautifully paired with Arvita Budianti on “Almost is Never Enough.”
Then, the Indonesian Idol alumni Ayu Sara replaced Tri and Arvi to sing the popular Meghan Trainor and John Legend’s hit, “Like I’m Gonna Lose You.” Speaking of his collaboration with Ayu Sara, they did nice duet on this song at Uver, @infobdg TV. This time they made a full band version that worked very well too. For the last song Andre covered Disney’s Hercules Theme originally sang by Michael Bolton: “Go the Distance”.
It wasn’t easy to bring this man in due to his tight schedule, but this time we got him plus his cool friends who spiced his gig even more. We knew him from a few years back when he was still in the blues band Royal Flush, he is also a faithful friend who always tries to come whenever he could. We are happy to have him back gracing the showcase section and respect his agreement to play in this Christmas edition. He successfully stole everyone’s attention and got all eyes on him. In our opinion, this was indeed Andre Arizky’s strongest performance for us to date.
The final band was an establish soulful, smooth jazz/fusion band by the name of 5th Avenue. This band is also no stanger to us since they have performed on our stage since we were still in the previous venue. Earlier this year 5th Avenue had to go through some changes in the lineup. Now the band consists of real life couple Chris Alfeus (guitar/vocal) and Stella Inke Pratama (piano) and two fresh members Yogie Arrya Putra (drums) and Ilham Septia Inda Nugraha (bass).
5th Avenue normally plays in quartet formation. However, special for this event the band featured a young saxman who once roared wild over the Bandung jazz scene, Kenneth Timotius Djaja. Kenneth has been out from the local scene for quite some times due to his study in Jakarta. What a pleasant surprise to see him back, and even better, on our stage.
Time to enjoy Christmas songs in fusion. “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)” was the first one before they went groovy with Norman Brown’s “Soul Dance”. A timeless Christmas Carol from 1942 by Bing Crosby, “White Christmas” then appeared in smooth jazz style, and the joyful celebration continued on with “Let It Snow!”. We still hoped there were more, but since the time was already close to 10:00 pm, 5th Avenue reached the finish line with “Joyful Joyful”. In this song they included tradings and some solo runs. That’s suppose to be the end, but the band gave a surprise to their guitarist, Chris Alfeus who got his birthday exactly at the same day. The birthday cake was given by Andre Arizky to Chris while the rest of them played “Happy Birthday to You”. After that, Ilham Pamuji doubled the sax pleasure, they hit one final upbeat song, their own original entitled “Come On Dance with Me”.
With the presence of the new reinforcement, somehow 5th Avenue got their music enhanced, sharper and stronger in their fusion color. Normally it would be difficult for a band to stay strong after losing some of its members in just short amount of time. But this case doesn’t happen to 5th Avenue. Not only the band’s still mantain the power, they have richer colors too on their musical pallette due to the winning team found inside it at present time. Yogie is a marvelous fusion drummer and Ilham is simply one of the best jazz bassists from the young(er) generation in Bandung. Time could be the problem for them due to the tight schedule of each members, but if they can manage it, actually this new formation is really promising. For the creativity, technique and uniqueness, the existance of a good jazz band like 5th Avenue is a must.
Plenty of performers, ranging from children, those who actively serve in church to well established jazz groups made this Christmas celebration feel special. With this one, Braga Jazz Walk closed its service in 2015 nicely. We look forward to bring more in 2016. There are many talents we haven’t featured yet, and we always love to keep the updates of the bands in our circle. 2015 hasn’t been an easy year, but we are optimist to have a better year in 2016. On behalf of everyone behind this event and the whole Jazzuality team we wish you all Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2016. God bless you all.
Watch the highlight of Braga Jazz Walk #18 Special Christmas Edition
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