Indonesian Jass Festival 2013 Day 1 : ” A Gift for Indonesia”





Greetings to all Jazzy people around the world! We would like to welcome all of you who wants to know the full report of Indonesia Jass Festival 2013. Indonesia Jass Festival, one of biggest events that overwhelmed you guys the Jazz lovers with loads of nothing but talented, skillful and creative Indonesian Jazz musician. Presented by ALBA Productions, Indonesia Jass Festival was held at Istora Senayan, Jakarta on August, 30-31, 2013. More than a hundred musician gathered at this place to fulfill the two days of fest with joy and happiness through every tones.

Some of us might be still curious why it became Jass not Jazz, aren’t we?
At the first era of Jazz, actually it was well-known as “Jass” not Jazz. Music which originally came from New Orleans contains the mixture of a fine mixture of ragtime, driving brass bands/marching bands, gospel and of course the growl of the blues. It was The Original Dixieland Jass Band (ODJB) born in 1916 as  the evidence of the “Jass” term. Bringing back the good old times is just the nicest way to get some info and also beautiful music of Jazz. In short, the committee of IJF 2013 wants to present an unpublished part of Jazz itself.

Indonesia Jass Festival also trying to bring back the spirit of old times of Indonesia since we just celebrating our independence day on August, 17th. This event happened as a gift from all musician for Indonesia. Undoubtedly, music especially Jazz take a part in introducing Indonesia to the world wide. Many musicians from our country successfully build their carrier in international music industry, so here comes our turn to welcome the talented musicians of our own. For you guys who unfortunately could not come to Istora Senayan, we supplied you the full report, here they are!


30th of August when the sun just came back after the rain, Indonesia Jass Festival was opened by the performance of Kirana Big Band. It’s around 2pm when all of a sudden the ‘crazy gang’ HajarBleh Big Band rushed in, creating a flash mob scene, just like the way they did it on International Jazz Day last April. Two big bands joined hands, that was already spectacular, but wait, the Muslim intellectual figure Emha Ainun Nadjib (Cak Nun) gave an oration and read a poem, while the vocalist of HajarBleh BigBand sang the National Song “Tanah Airku.” Cak Nun would play again later on with his gamelan ensemble KiaiKanjeng by collaborating with Inna Kamarie. Such an incridible way to open a fest.

After that early heavy act on stage, Aboda took over the same stage. Aboda is a sibling band of four brothers: Timotius (keys), Fanuel (drums), Filemon (guitar) and Clement (bass). From the church, they went to the secular world, sending the positive message in a way to bless people. They like to tell a lot of stories, not by talking but through songs, both covers and original ones. Basically they delivered the messages in smooth jazz fashion but we captured other musical patterns too here and there enriching their concept. The word Aboda is taken from Hebrew word means ‘working, serving and praising’, or in Indonesia means ‘ibadah’. One thing to learn from Aboda, if you wish to bless people, it doesn’t always have to be done only in places of worship, but it can also be taken outside the walls. Music can always be a good media to use, and since Aboda chose jazz as its main course, we can get the evidence that jazz can bless people too, especially when it comes with positive messages such as friendship, peace and love. Their first song was “Backyard” which tells us about being honest in life just like when we are in the backyard. Next was a song about beautiful life, titled “Today in Paradise”; and the last was folk songs from Papua and Maluku where they did in medley with jazz, also “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” that uniquely came in 6/8. Meanwhile RGP, stands for Revival Generation Project did their best on Essence Stage, FOD at Welcome Stage and High & Low took the Samali Stage.

Three Songs, a group with five siblings on it was very unique. There are 11 years old drummer named Josafat Song, 15 years old bassist named Samuel, two guitarists named Abed and Abe, and 14 years old singer named Caeli. The drummer and bassist showed amazing skill and speed, simply incredible. Altogether they played their own two songs and another two covered songs (Somewhere Over The Rainbow and Overjoyed). Previously they played on Java Jazz and JakJazz, next event they are invited as the delegation from Indonesia on Youth World Jazz at Bogor. One of their songs titled “Hippo Track” simply because they like watching National Geography and they also like hippo.


While High & Low served some swings, Kandank Jurank Doank sent out a message that we should preserve the nature. Kandank Jurank Doank was established by famous artist Dik Doank in 1993, made as a school for poor children which is placed right in the natural environment. In there he’s been giving the children school education plus an awareness that the beautiful nature is a gift from God that needs to be conserved. They brought up some traditional instrument from natural materials. Dik Doang stated that Next, step our feet to check out the left corner where Zarro & De Vega played. Many people still remember him as one of the Jakarta-based band Clorophyl, but actually he has moved on to a new course where he utilized his mother language, Kaili (lingua franca of where he came from, Palu, Central Celebes/Sulawesi). We have seen him with his Kaili-Bossanova Project, now he chose to bring his other well established project, Zarro & De Vega. With this project he presented Latin/Brazilian Jazz with the combination of Kaili and Portuguese language. It was a very interesting and unique show.


The legend Ireng Maulana brought a memorable, spontaneous and humble show as always. Swing was on in a very beautiful way by him. He just let his fingers flew all over the guitar fret in producing harmonious jazz sound that came from his deepest soul. Looked so happy when he played on the stage with Yuyun George on saxophone, Happy Pretty on trumpet, As Mates on bass, Rudy on drum, Sam Panuwun on keyboard for 15 minutes, they played “One Note Samba” and “Route 66” happily. We’re all also happy to see him glowing in his age. May God bless him with great health so we can enjoy his pure, natural swingin’ jazz touch for many, many more years to come. Came from Surabaya, senior keyboardist Yohanes Gondo with his trio colored up the Essence Stage with well known jazz standards. Meanwhile female singer Rahel Pradika and her Quintet gave a pretty bossa and light jazz with deep smokey voice in good control.At 6 pm the stages got busier than before. Manna which has fusion as their indirect power in music got their turn. With senior bassist A.S. mates, his son Jessi Mates and ellegant guitarist Achmad Ananda and rapper/vocalist Fajri Rusani, this cross-generation band becomes more solid as a team. The pleasuring jazz joy was served through combination of acoustic and groove sound with electronic. Speaking of genre, they creatively fused jazz, blues, rock, funk and other patterns. They played simple but really charming.


Moving on to the next stage on the right corner of the venue, we spotted Monita Tahalea & The Nightingales. Led by the beautiful singer with lushy vocal Monita Tahalea, her most recent group which filled by Chaka Priambudi (bass), Yoseph Sitompul (piano), Ricard Hutapea (flute/sax), Gerald Hiras Situmorang (guitar) and Jessi Mates (drums). After finishing a Christmas album produced by Indra and Hanny Lesmana, her busy schedule with the group finally landed at this Indonesian Jass Festival. As information, Nightingale is a singing bird with peaceful and calm sound, it’s a perfect choice for Monita to choose this name since she also breathes the same soul. It was a fast swing played when “Sebatas Mimpi” closed the session, unpredictably Monita sang it in ballad. Beyond unique!

Lanie and the Bees  freshened up the au dience on her stage. Since the 107th meetings of Komunitas Jazz Kemayoran, we haven’t heard more of this group’s activity. Finally now they’re back on higher playground. Semen Indonesia Jazz Band, represented by funky bassist Harry Toledo. The special thing that he is accompanied by his children, Rizky on bass, Wibi on piano, and Zara on vocal. Funky monster groove were loudly on from this stage, not only from the funkman Harry but also from Rizky. Zara sang “Moody’s Mood For Love” nicely. This is not an easy song to sing, especially by a little girl, but she managed to do it well. “She only learned it for 2 weeks or so..” said the proud father.

At the Indoor Stage, the next show after Ireng Maulana was the unique collaboration between Inna Kamarie and KiaiKanjeng. The Gamelan KiaiKanjeng is not a name of a band but it refers to a melodical concept on traditional music which was created by Novi Budianto. If usually the pentatonic scale used in Javanese music is divided into pelog and slendro, this group isn’t rooted in either one. This unique gamelan ensemble is a part of the social activity of the Muslim Intellectual figure Cak Nun (Emha Ainun Nadjib) that penetrates directly into the society, especially in the grassroot and lower middle class. This social activity of Cak Nun is multi context, covering culture, religion and spiritual, social problem solving, politics and so on, in where Cak Nun and Kiai Kanjeng appear as a fully independent caring friend. The collaboration with Inna Kamarie was interesting since they brought jazz, the music that Inna Kamarie is really into, by still using the traditional Javanese gamelan. It was an enlightening spiritual ethnic-jazz concept from them. Mind you that KiaiKanjeng loves to touch people’s awareness by using whatever genre found in the music scene. They can bring the message through jazz, blues, modern pop and even dangdut, the music which is very popular in Indonesia especially among the lower middle class of the society.


On PP stage around 6 pm, Sentimental Moods entertained the audience. This stage gave out a different perspective in entertaining people with jazz by placing it inside the explosive Ska. Hell broke loose in this one, as the horn players ran wild all around the stage. Masmo (Dharmo Sudirman) as the keyboardist didn’t jump here and there, yet his fingers jived all over the keys.  Sentimental Moods served a fun-tastic party by playing some songs including “Gradasi”, “Just In Time”, “Sunny Sunday”, and “Walking”, plus “Ska Me This Ska Me That.”  By jolly jumping ecstatically from one song to another, they successfully forced some of the audience to dance or groove their bodies, creating such beautiful scene.  Ska Jazz happened you think, but for us this ensemble might even be the one who’s responsible for the ska revival in Indonesia. If that’s the case, it’s good to know that the revival actually happen by involving jazz. Speaking of joyful show, manic moves, acrobatic fingers and fired-up performance, this wild gang was the one.


Boby Limijaya who graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA, majoring Jazz Piano Performance and Jazz Composition, so no one would doubt his skill. For many people that would already be more than enough, but Boby decided to do something more than just that. He went to Budapest last year to collaborate with Budapest Jazz Orchestra and did recordings in there. The composition of the orchestra is unique, since it contains 8 horn players.  “Basically it’s an extension of the well known 6 brasses, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones and alto and tenor saxophones. But I was curious of what it would sound if I added flute and clarinet in it. I believed it would give more textures and colors.” he once told us. Other than getting the first idea from his professor in Berklee who has 6 piece horns in a band, he also adapted Maria Schneider’s concept, the late Duke Ellington Orchestra during the late 50’s or 60’s and the likes. For us, he also reflected Charles Mingus. Mingus is remembered much more than just a contrabassist. He was also a man with strong character and musical identity, he was undeniable when it comes to music integrity and brilliant in writing for mid-size ensembles. Boby himself conducted this royal ‘jazzchestra’ and handed the piano part to Irsa Destiwi. Guitarist Robert Mulyarahardja and bassist Indra Perkasa were in the team too. Whether you realize or not, this man has given his life to enrich our music world with his crativity in full idealism. Not many people dare to walk this lane, but Boby has decided to go against all odds with his strong spirit. Way to go, Bob! We salute you.


Great show also happened in the Telkom stage. It was from a band with tasty funky line over the strong jazz ingredients, yet it also inherited the spirit of hiphop urban soul. Yes, it was Bag+Beat where the Director of this festival Adrian Bramantyo Musyanif also played as one of the original members. Along with Gerald Situmorang and Aldhi Mahardika, Bramantyo formed a trio called BAG Trio in the beginning. But later they took a new course by infusing hiphop inside the band with more players joined in. The audience got not just jazz but also funky groove and the urban sound of hiphop from them. The group of Karen Idol and Arya Claporthnamed, Sweet Mouztache spread the joy of smooth groovy soul jazz at the Community Stage and the group of Nadya Sella Belansky (piano), M Rizky Adriansyah (bass), Rizky Tri Putra (drums), Harley Kusumonegoro (percussions) and Tiwuk Rayie (vocals) called Slodyoz grooved the other stage.


The Indonesian Jass Festival became heavier when the night went on. Andien‘s stage was crowded with her fans who wanted to see her and her bubbly stage act. Appearing with her band which got Nikita Dompas (guitar), Rayendra Sunito (drums), Bonar Abraham (bass) and Didit Violin, as usual Andien was sparkling throughout her performance with a sexy white gown. Recently, Andien seemed more mature with her new concept just like what she prepared for her new album. Tonight she delivered a very hot show with sexy dresss, singing many of her hits including “Gemintang”, “Movin’ On”, “Milikmu Selalu”, “Langit dan Bumi” and “Bernyanyi Untukmu”.  Andien stated that fashion and music are two essential things that can be separated from her life. “I love singing and I like fashion too.”


At almost the same time, Dikta Project and Live at Wonderland lifted up the other spots, also Indro Hardjodikoro and The Fingers. It was around 4 years ago when smiley, experienced all-round bassist Indro Hardjodikoro decided to take another step from being just a band member to establish his own band where two basses take the leading part. With his group The Fingers, he gained success not only in his own nation but also in far away land, Russia. They have performed there a couple of times with wonderful success stories. With his teammates bassist Fajar Adi Nugroho, the new drummer Yandi Andaputra, who’s still 17th years old and keyboardist Andy Gomez, they delivered the delightful classic fusion style the way we loved it back then. “Andong”, “Ondel-ondel”,  “Panon Hideung” and “Raga Deva”, written by Fajar and still unreleased. The show also featured the new sensation Soukma with distinctive vocal style and Diki Suwarjiki on flute, Ade Toembrink on kendang. Having someone as Indro is a blessing, since not only he’s a fully experienced musician but he’s being the ambassador of  Indonesia with his artistic fusion with Indonesian taste. Wish Indro the best with his band, the upcoming new album, and also the community JazzSpot and the new rock community.


For Oele Pattiselano, playing in honest and natural way seems to be important. He doesn’t need to show off his skill, instead he just let everything poured from his heart, transferred to stream of heartfelt jazz. The great Oele played with his long time partners including Jeffrey Tahalele and Indra Dauna. Watching a lifetime experienced musician like this always bring something more. He already gave us a bliss even just by watching him holding his guitar on stage. One of the most important person in the committee board of this festival and  the founder of Komunitas Jazz Kemayoran (KJK), Beben Jazz performed under Beben Jazz & Friends. As usual, he delightfully tried to educate people while serving up sets of well known jazz songs in one lovely package.


The next schedule in the Indoor Stage was Doctor & The Professor, refering to the masterclass collaboration between artist/special plastic surgery specialist Tompi, Md and music professor Tjut Nyak Deviana Daudsjah. About a week before the event, Tompi wrote on hid Twitter Account that he would come to IJF with The Professor. Joining them were bassist Fajar Adi Nugroho and percussionist Wahyu Prasatya. Although the name of this project sounds scientific, their performance was far from that. “Menghujam Jantungku” happened as the trigger of his performance. In the middle of the show, Tjut Nyak Deviana and Fajar Adi Nugroho attractively did a special session of jam.  They gave a spontaneous and entertaining show which based in full freedom and enjoyment.

Still 7 bands left for the first day. The Welcome Stage got Diah Ayu Lestari and Smile Project, then another interesting highlight came from the group of young lions, Indonesian Youth Regeneration (IYR). Unlike before, they thought about having a theme that could fit the spirit of this festival called “IYR Plays Indonesian Masterpiece”. The most recent members Albert Fakdawer (vocal), Demas Narawangsa (drums), Dennis Junio (sax), Reno Castello (guitar) and Ankadiov Subran (bass) pinned Great Indonesian Songbook beautifully in this act by spicing them up with their own taste.


Some of you may already know, some haven’t, but if you want to learn the real Brazilian musics and all the varieties, the person to go to is Jilly Likumahuwa. She spent some years in Brazil, absorbing the sacred heritage of arts and cultures including the richness of its music. She sings, she dances, she composes, she’s also able to do capoeira and the Brazilian style of carnival. Other than that, she’s also a fantastic jazz artist with true ‘swing’ soul.  As usual she opened up with her ‘anthems’: “Carnaval (Festa Do Interior)” and “Brazil” in new outfit. Then she sang a song written especially to her mom that she also addressed to every mother titled “Mama”, and after wiping the tears she carried on with “Once Again”, written by her Malaysian friend, Xiong Lee. Then her son Zefanya Sergio who directly sang Vinicius de Moraes’  “Deixa” with her. She still got some more songs including “Dindi”, but too bad her session had to be over. For the last song she sang “Canta” which means Sings. No matter where, no matter how, Jilly always knows how to bring up a party in Brazilian way. Her ‘swing’ heart just made everything more colorful. From samba to broken samba and samba canção, from a festive celebration to sad ballad, Jilly got everything needed to entertain her crowds. 

At the same time Sandy Winarta Quartet heated up the other side of the festival. Other than bringing his mates, Kevin Yosua on bass and Johanes Radianto on guitar, interestingly, this worldclass drummer brought in a 9 year old jazz piano prodigy who just won the Grand Prix of Master-Jam Fest in Odessa, Ukraine named Joey Alexander to his team. Enchanting straightahead re-energized the audience who might already feel tired after hours of action inside the venue.


To seal up the first day, another legend and true entertainer Idang Rasjidi gave a fun-tastic fusion in different concept by bringing three percussionist; his own son Shaku, Iwan Wiradz, and Eddy Syakroni . Idang also featured three singers, each of them representing Jazz (courtesy of Kemala Ayu), Classical, and Mealyu. “Jazz is my life, my expression, and my home,” said Idang. We wish him good health because seriously, he’s still urgently needed in the midst of our jazz circle. What he gave at this festival was a proof that he still has a lot to offer. His spirit, his energy, his passion and his soul are tightly attached to jazz. 43 years of wonderful jazz years and still counting. “I live to play (jazz). If I don’t play, what else should I do?” he said to us. We are excited to hear that, because we will never want him to retire either. To wrap up the day one, Indonesian Jass Festival placed the famous roaring blues with funky beat band, Gugun Blues Shelter. This showed that the festival didn’t want to end the first day with something smooth and slow but served something hot so we would have the burning spirit ready for the next day. As usual, Gugun, Jono and Bowie ran wild in full bluesin’ spirit.


The first day of Indonesian Jass Festival 2013 is over with great result. If you miss this first one, you can still catch the second/final day which will happen this afternoon. Still many highlights to see, still many potential newcomers to check. But if you can’t come, you can always come tomorrow to get our full coverage. What’s going to happen at the second day? Let’s hope for another good round. Long live Indonesian jazz!

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Repoter: Riandy Kurniawan, Shely Napitupulu, Mellysa Anastasya, Erick Gabe , Vierna M.K
Photographer: Qaedi Fuadillah, Fennysia Wijaya, Reita Wijaya