As one of the most popular jazz sub-genre, fusion has added a lot of stories to the history of jazz. In some ways the fusion movement ‘changed’ the way of playing jazz. If the word changed feels to strong, at least this style opens up more possibilities to play jazz, for example by using electric instruments like synthesizer or keyboard, or by embracing other musical corners, mostly rock into the atmospheric jazz runs. In Indonesia the wave of fusion swallowed many musicians around the mid 80’s, pioneered by some groups from Krakatau, Yovie Widianto’s Indonesia 6, Emerald, Black Fantasy, Bhaskara 86 to Karimata, Halmahera, Spirit Band and so on. The impact was massively strong, so strong that fusion once became the trend in Indonesia’s music scene by being widely accepted by music listeners. Today fusion is still alive with more variations. While the branch of fusion which is known as smooth jazz also still has a place in our hearts, some musicians have gone much further to invent something new.
So how is fusion in Bandung? Like in the other side of the world, it’s still alive and kicking. In almost all jazz events we could surely find some fusion traces. It became evident that fusion still has a lot of fans not only from jazz but also from rock, even from the common listeners. Klab Jazz seems to realize this. Other than the fact that this Bandung jazz community’s events have been often filled with fusion bands, Klab Jazz also has the urge to accomodate local young bands who fancy fusion in their creative concept. Fusion Flava is a spin-off from Klab Jazz’s regular events that places fusion high on top as the theme. Running it once a month at Sixty “Meeting Point-Cafe” at Jl. Naripan, Bandung, Fusion Flava has reached the third installment. More fresh players, more collaborations and more varieties, this event can be a ‘melting pot’ between newcomers and the senior bands, the jazz and rock groups, or even can be used as a place to gain experience of performing in front of real audience.
For this third edition Klab Jazz sets up the different concept. Unlike their Sunday Jazz, Groove Collective and Jazz Nagari, Fusion Flava now has a host in each episode. The host is Halfwhole Project, a band of four originally consists of young talents with amazing skills: pianist Christ Stanley, bassist Gallang Perdhana Dalimunthe, drummer Edward Manurung and young, wild saxophonist Kenneth Timotius Djaja. This grup was just established two years ago, yet the band grew fast and now stands as one of the best jazz bands in regional Bandung.
Edward couldn’t make it so he was replaced by Sulaiman on drums. They started funkin’ the night out with Jaco Pastorius’ “Chicken” served in a classic fusion then carried on with “All Blues”. Puspallia Panggabean joined them and swing everyone with “On the Sunny Side of the Street”.
Then it’s time to check out what the three ladies of Jazzy Juice would bring. The original members of this female bands are Dyah Sekar (piano), Arnie Christanty (electric bass) and Adisty Zulkarnaen (drums), but if needed can be expanded with more players. If we have seen them with one or two female saxophonists before, tonight they brought in an additional player, their compatriote from SHE band, the guitarist Qoqo.
They kicked off with Shakatak’s most famous number, “Night Birds” and suddenly turned the whole cafe to cheerful mood. Qoqo rocked on, roared her guitar in front of the cool funky beat. What a joy to hear this song on stage again. Groove was well kept in pocket with another Shakatak collection, “Brazilian Dawn” and sealed it with one of Hiram Bullock’s song. “If you hear us play, don’t be too serious, because we love to play around.” said Adisty in between play. It wasn’t because they aren’t serious, it’s that they love to have fun on stage and let their audience feel happy with any song they pick. All of them are friendly and smiley, they can play soft, but make no mistake because once they release their monstrous groove, they won’t give you time to catch your breath. What a nice and fresh presentation once again from these three ladies, just like the feeling of sipping a glass of jazz juice.
After that, Erick Gabe & Out of 7 got their chance. This is the combination of talents under Jazzuality’s management which so far shows progressive chemistry to one another. While Erick loves to explore the notes wildly with his wide range vocal quality, the Out of 7 believes that they can produce unlimited ideas from 7 notes. Through series of practice we’ve seen their growth in skill, ideas and chemistry. They all have a lot of potential and really promising.
The Out of 7’s guitarist couldn’t make it since he had to be in another city. So for this time the keyboardist Widiyanto Sutanto, drummer Marissa Wiguna and bassist Abet Darmaji brought in a substitute, Daniel Christy.
Erick showed up and sang “All of Me” with the band. Unlike usual, this time All of Me was placed into R&B. Then they moved on to the next song, “After the Love Has Gone.” It’s not easy to sing this one since the singer has to be able to climb many octaves, the melody is quite challenging as well, but Erick did it nicely along with Out of 7. Then they moved on to “Just the Two of Us”, a Bill Withers’ classic that remade into funky RnB then moved to disco, making it really different to the original. This song was filled with solo runs and Erick’s ability to mimick the muted trumpet sound. Then Erick gave room to the band for pinning Lee Ritenour’s “Night Rhythms.” Daniel Christy did really well in this one. To make their session ended with climax, they brought up another three songs. They blasted “Money (That’s What I Want)” with jazzy rock n roll and let Erick to blew his lung out. A short interactive session included to let the audience became a part of their show. Not enough for one climax, Payung Fantasi and Logika delivered another one in swingy fusion, once again with two lovely solo runs by Marissa on drums.
What we love from this union is their guts to take challenging songs which are difficult to play/sing. Looking at the progress, we believe one day their hardwork will continue with even greater achievement.
Halfwhole Project and Puspallia got their second session by delivering songs such as “Superstisious”, “Take the A Train”. With their final performance, the third edition of Fusion Flava reached the end.
The whole rundowns wrapped up at 10:30 pm. For several hours straight we were spoiled with varieties of fusion goodies. Looking at the concept of this Klab Jazz’s regular event, we do believe that this can, and should be the display case of talents if in case you are looking for good quality fusion band(s). Another great round, Klab Jazz! Keep spreading out the joy of jazz throughout the city, see you again soon.
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