Bumi Sangkuriang Jazz Night #8: The Report

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bumisangkuriangjazznight-8Since January 2016 we began rejuvenating regular jazz event at BP Bumi Sangkuriang. Calling this event Bumi Sangkuriang Jazz Night, we carry the jazz legacy and history of this building which has started in 1957. We keep running, and now, we have reached the 8th edition. In Bumi Sangkuriang Jazz night #8 we featured three set of shows that share something in common: all of them are related to jazz community in their own time. Also, the lineup reflected jazz in Bandung yesterday, today and tomorrow. A stunning group of young lions, a soul sister who is currently stepping in the new chapter of her career and a very respected teacher who has been creating many successful stars for over 20 years, all of them marked their signature in this event in such way.

BumiSangkuriangJazzNight-8-AFATrio (1)Performing first was a stunning trio consists of young guns: AFA Trio. AFA Trio was born two years ago in Butterfield Jazz Society. This band  moved fast from playing in many events to landing on prestigious festivals such as Tangsel Jazz Festival and the Java Jazz Festival 2016. They also have a single titled “Dream Again”, written by the guitarist.

AFA Trio appeared with a new formation, with Raka Rizkyandi replacing Athfy. Raka is not a stranger to us since he has been playing in our events with various bands he’s in. Unlike what jazz trio usually bring, these boys surprised everyone right from the first second by throwing jazz-metal bombs.  The first song was intense and thrilling, “Seven Years Tragedy”, telling the story about suicide bombings by terrorist from JW Marriott to Ritz Carlton which occured in 7 years interval. Anjuan and Fabian stood tall and strong in front, while Raka poured powerful beat including a graphic solo drum. This song should push everyone to the edge of their seats.

BumiSangkuriangJazzNight-8-AFATrio (4)For the next song, they brought in something unique by placing samba feel inside their edgy jazz-heavy metal pallette on “7+5”. “Dancing the Night Paradise” shows that a having a merry party in paradise at night can be felt through rockin’ mode, and for the last song they gave a medley of original compositions: “Dream Again” and “Move On”.

Despite of their age, AFA Trio is a very good jazz band. Their individual skills are outstanding, and as a team they are really solid. Speaking of music concept, these boys are pushing jazz to the limit. It’s heavy metal, but it’s clearly jazz as well.  The chemistry shared between Anjuan and Fabian reminds us of the early Tohpati and Indro Hardjodikoro soul-connection which started more than 20 years ago. Raka did very well in his role, he knows what to do in this band. Sharp jazz-rock with lots of punches from them is lethal. Mark our word, these young men will be big in the future if they keep playing. And of course, long live AFA Trio. The best is yet to come, keep going!

BumiSangkuriangJazzNight-8-GraceSahertian (4)The second show featured a dear, long time friend of us. She began her career in a band called Palm from Moodytunes around the same time we started this jazz e-mag. Jazz community was where she grew, as she then carried on with other concepts such as a jazz with world music-oriented project Grace and Tesla, the urban neo soul Circle O’Fifth and some other appearances here and there. A breakthrough came in just a couple of months ago with the release of her debut album, “Hela”. This long-awaited album speaks loud of her journey, feeling and other aspects in life, working like a window for us to see and feel what she keeps inside her inner soul. In this multi-genres album she shares her sadness, anger, desperation and contemplation, before she finally motivates the listeners to stand tall and moving on. But as artistic and poetic as she is (fyi, she is also a standout fiber artist and fashion lecturer), she also uses the album as a media to ‘tracing back the roots’, finding her family name ‘Sahertian’s’ history which actually came from Porto, Saparua, Maluku. The title track ‘Hela’ is where the story is written, sung in Yamdena language that is nearly extinct. With the release of this album, she embarks the new chapter of her career, facing a bright future to be one of the names we all can count on if we are looking for a reference of good, artistic music. She is none other than Grace Sahertian.

She launched the album in May 2016 successfully in a sold out, artistic concert. We realized that many might have missed it, so we hope her appearance in this event with her solid team could give a chance for those who didn’t get the chance back then, also give a special treat to her fans.

For this event she brought some of her team mates: Puspallia Panggabean (backing vocal), Omega Touselak (keys & synth bass), Faishal M Fasya (keys & synth bass), Gantira Sena (drums) and Fikri Hadiansyah (guitar). Grace and her band began with a powerful ballad “Picture Me” which allowed us to feel her soul so deep. Then she took us into a journey back in time all the way to Saparua, Maluku with the titletrack “Hela”. Deep contemplation and root-tracing emotion were clearly felt. Puspall created the surrealistic ambience with her voice.

BumiSangkuriangJazzNight-8-GraceSahertian (2)Grace moved to gospel  on “Freedom” to share her feeling of recollection, repression, pain, unfairness, being chained until a shout of hope came out from her spirit. “Da Di De” which in the album got alternative rock and hiphop atmosphere was sung softer without leaving off the essence.

The cool song “Sound of Hope” connected the audience with the nature and universe through fascinating mind-journey into the vast, deep rainforest in Africa. So far she has bagged a lot of applause from everyone inside the ballroom. For the last song she gave a joyful party in Motown sound, “Better to Love”.

A beautiful, heart-felt, artistic performance were brought by Grace Sahertian and the band. For us who have known her and followed her career from the start, we feel really proud of her. Someone like Grace should go big in our music scene based on her soulful voice, cool appearance, creativity, artistry and passion. Let’s wish her the best.

BumiSangkuriangJazzNight-8-ImamPrasTrio (4)For the final performance we gave a very well respected teacher and musician who has been giving enormous contribution in creating many stars for over two decades. Imam Praseno, better known as Imam Pras. Not only a prominent teacher, he is also a long time experienced great composer, arranger and music director. The injury he suffered on his arms in 2006 forbid him to perform as much as he used to be, but since two years ago he began to feel a lot better which enabled him to slowly grace the stage by occassionally playing here and there.

Playing as Imam Pras Trio, he brought in two of New Equinox boys: Alman Naufal (drum) and Ezra Manuhutu (bass). For your information, the New Equinox is also mentored by Imam Pras himself. The band also plays his arrangements. We have been wishing to have him in this event because he is really familiar with it, so we are happy it could finally happen in this edition.

BumiSangkuriangJazzNight-8-ImamPrasTrio (7)Imam Pras began with “Turn Out the Stars”, a song recorded live just months before Bill Evans’ death in 1980. This first song directly made us able to see his amazing skill. The second song was Duke Ellington and Juan Tizol’s masterpiece, “Caravan”. Long solo drum of Alman responded by a couple of applause from the audience. If originally this song was made for jazz orchestra, Imam Pras and the boys fit the song into just a trio and dressed it into bebop. Ezra got his turn to demonstrate his ability in “Avance”.

Timeless standard “Autumn Leaves” was painted in ECM-like way along with enough room for the boys to have fun. Herbie Hancock’s song which is based in soul and funk with strong 70’s sound “Tell Me a Bedtime Story” became the last drop from them. Imam Pras Trio kept it light without leaving their love of improvisation.

BumiSangkuriangJazzNight-8-JeremyHutomoAmong the audience there was a 10 year-old boy with amazing ability in playing jazz piano, Jeremy Hutomo. He came with his parents, aunt and cousin. Right before we did the photo session, the executive board of Bumi Sangkuriang who attended this event wished to see him play. He went straight to the piano and went swinging with “Billie’s Bounce”. He is really talented, no doubt about it. Loud applause and cheers were given to him, naturally.

We are proud to be able to bring in the jazz piano sensei from Bandung who has done so many things in Bandung’s jazz development. Also, we are happy to see the nutricious collaboration with two boys who are mentored by him in a live performance. Many of his (ex)students came to watch him shows how much they respect their humble, down to earth teacher. We hope to see Imam Pras more often on stage, and may there be many, many more skillful jazz musicians in the future coming from him.

BumiSangkuriangJazzNight-8-PhotoGroupWe thank everyone who has been supporting us and this event, to all the playing artists and of course to you who came and enjoy it with us. No matter how we make the event, it will be useless without your support. We will be back again next month with another batch of jazz figures from Bandung and beyond who we believe can give you the best of jazztertainment and hopefully give something for you to learn from. Hope to see you again next month!

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Reporter: Riandy Kurniawan
Photographers: Riandy Kurniawan, Mia Damayanti, Luqmanul ‘Umanbott’ Hakim.

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