Jakarta International Jazz Festival (JakJazz) 2012: Day 2 Report


The stages at the venue still in sight and wonderful weather surrounding the scene, Djarum Mild Jakarta Jazz International Jazz Fesitval (JakJazz) 2012 hits day two! With loads more audience than last night, the festival gave more performances, more names and more fun.

Crackersjacks Dixieland and Boris Savoldelli made another appearance after performing on day one. At the same time, on a different stage, Curtis King ruled the stage. Curtis King Band was scheduled to play at JakJazz 2009, but due to the cancellation of the festival we didn’t get the chance to meet them. Two years have passed, finally we were able to see the things that make Curtis King Band shine especially around Asian region. So who’s Curtis King? He’s a guitarist who originally came from Cleveland Ohio that has performed live around Asia all the way to USA. What’s unique about him is his passion to absorb many styles, instruments and traditional musics of the capitals of the world he lived in. This fact enables this man (and his band, of course) to give an interesting performance anywhere they land. The combination of jazz, blues, rock n roll, rock, fusion, Latins and so on go all the way to reach ‘East meets West’ concept, often by involving traditional instruments inside like in this very event by using zither, bamboo flute and so on. Imagine a show that delivers something energetic, cheerful, joyful, entertaining with bags of surprises around, served in rich variety, The Curtis King Band has it all. One of the song which grabbed the attention of the audience was The Who’s “Baba O’Riley”, the song used as the theme of CSI New York. 2 years waiting, at last we got it all paid off, in full.


You can ask this legend about the long, lost history of Indonesian jazz, he will tell you all about it. That’s Benny Mustafa van Diest, a drummer that has been through such an illustrious journey for more than half a century. Not only with skill, he’s been fully blessed with great health as well. That can be seen from the way he plays drum in top condition. Other than mastering all kinds of jazz, he’s also great at playing with brush sticks. He was great back then- for example when he was one of the Indonesian All Stars team which made big news in 1967 by performing at the Berlin Jazz Festival followed by recording an album in Germany- today he still has it all, if not even better. Having a legendary jazz drummer in a legendary festival like this is a must. Too bad this show started so early when most of the audience still hadn’t show up. Anyway, keep jazzin’ up the drums for many years to come, uncle Benny! We salute you. And today on stage he made it big with Troy and Rita. Amazing it was!

As the Saturday sun set, Idang Rasjidi Syndicate, a project of Idang Rasjidi’s which is active and yet improving as we speak blew the crowd away. The group which features his son Shadu Shadu Chaidar (Electric Bass) and two of his students on the percussions and  drums and Idang himself on the Keyboards made a remarkable performance. True entertainer and piano passionist, highlights of Idang Rasjidi. And with his “syndicate” they delivered their jazz-rock yet spontaneously manouvering in the way they play with songs. At this event and performance, Idang Rasjidi was energetic and very interactive in delivering the music.


In life, there are ways of sending our sympathy to others. As for EFA Project (Everyone For Ambon Project) this is their way of regwrowing the spirit towards the disaster that occured in Ambon this year which is also a part of their song “Harapan”. As much as 22 musicians collaborated as one and have also raised the spirit for other Indonesians to be more aware of the things happening around us. Names such as Jflow, Barry Likumahuwa, Glenn Fredly, Monita Tahalea, Mike Mohede, Bayu Risa, Matthew Sayerz, Tompi, Angga Puradireja and many other names are a part of this wonderful project. As the lyrics go, “For you, for me, for everyone” and that’s what their project wants to tell us all that for us all, their is still hope for anything we want to achieve.

Indonesian funkin’ Urban Phat of Muhammad Ibnu Rafi (Drums), Fajar Adi Nugroho (Bass), Andy Gomez (Keyboards and Piano), Damez Nababan (Saxophone) and Jordy Revillian Waelauruw (Trumpet) stands under the nuance of urban jazz. What is interesting about them is that their sphere in jazz keeps expanding. For instance, though standing under one name, Rafi also currently plays at Rafi and the Beat and also features in The Finggers with Indro Harjodikoro.Then there is Damez Nababan who also plays with Funky Thumb and Trio Lestari and Gomez with Syaharani and the Queenfireworks. The lineup continues on with promising young trumpeter, Jordy Waelauruw. From all the differences and experience, they combine as one delivering their diversity musical style in urban jazz. High dose of funk, loads of full extacy were served from their stage.

How important is the regeneration process in providing a bright future in jazz? The answer is very much. We can never expect something good if we forget the importance of preparing the new talents from the youngest generation, both in skill and experience. Thus, chance to play is important, while the role of seniors to guide them is pivotal. Ireng Maulana clearly has that concern too. Continuing what he did at the Road to JakJazz 2012 last April, again he led Ireng Maulana and The Kids where young guns performed bravely on stage. Despite of their age, these kids got good guts to match him in front of the audience. Some day we may look at them differently when they already become stars, but for now we feel happy that we got the chance to see the seeds. Let’s keep preparing these kids towards a good, or even better jazz future, because we won’t have it without them.


If you read the Indonesian jazz history, some family were really blessed with music talents. If you know the name of Ireng Maulana you must also know Kiboud Maulana, the older brother of Ireng. Kiboud has a fascinating background and track record throughout his illustrious more than 50 years career. As a fully experienced and complete package, this man can bring the jazz and blues out naturally from his soul eventhough he actually set off from classical violin. Looking at this background, we don’t have to wonder how he can have good structural music yet know when to improvise. Talk about his track record, in 1997 he was invited to play on the Miles Davis’ stage at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, that was one of the many experiences he played in overseas events. He’s not young anymore, he might not look strong like a young man, but make no mistake because he can appear like a tiger once he steps his foot on the stage floor. Turning his session in jamming mode, purely spontaneous jazz was carried on stylishly by him and the band. We can always learn how to play jazz in humble way from seniors like him. Sometimes we don’t have to show off our skills too much, focusing on and understanding the true meaning of a song can be much more important. Even he featured Sundanese folksong “Es Lilin” fully in jazz melody in his performance tonight. And to add it up, we also had Suave featuring Sam and Danila BDi performing on stage 3.


Talk about skilfull bassist in Indonesia, we must not forget Yance Manusama. With his passion and hardwork, he can amazed us with his funky style bass playing. A lot of jazz artists in Indonesia has approved his skill, one of them is Riza Arshad. He said “We put our eyes on Yance Manusama who played funk really well. He was such a natural talent. He reminded us of Steve Swallow and James Jameson.” After watching him and the band several times, now they brought back the heavy dose of funk at this event.


As usual this time he got the support from the great ones in each position: Glen Dauna (Piano), Rayendra Sunito switched with Sirhan Bahasuan (Drums),  (guitar) plus the brass section featuring Donna Koeswinarso  and Damez Nababan (sax), Lian Panggabean (guitar)  and  Indra Dauna (trumpet).  Indra’s younger brother Rega Dauna was also featured playing harmonica. Yance & Funky Thumb emitted fabulous funky sound that can force you against any quiescent. The following tracks such as “Genesis”, George Duke’s “411”, Donny Hathaway “Moody’s Mood for Love”, “In Time”. Lala Suwages sang “Tanpamu” and a song cover of Erykah Badu’s and they also brought Tompi’s “Menghujam Jantungku” and “Bustin Loose”. A jamming session appeared as the typical characteristic of jazz performance and definitely fascinated crowd’s attention as they move the body through the rhythms.

Who’s your favorite drummer? The name Gilang Ramadhan would surely picked by many. That’s not a surprise since he’s been playing in variety of genres and involved in many supergroups since the early 80s such as Nebula, GIF, Exit, Adegan, Krakatau, Andromeda, JAVAJAZZ and Kayon (previously named P.I.G) just to mention a few. He plays rock and all kinds of jazz at the same level of greatness, he shows his love towards the richness of our ethnicity too like with his group Nera which he presented at this fest. Often he adds kendangs in his drumset to create more flavors in each bang. Other thing we also have to mention is his passion in educating others, we can see it from his Gilang Ramadhan Drum School which appears in many big cities including in our hometown, Bandung, West Java. More specifically on jazz, this man can give serious treatment on whatever style it is. Swing, bebop, post bop, hard bop, fusion… you name it, he has it!

The name Nera itself means ‘Light’ in Flores language, which gives the whole new meaning to the project. Here Gilang opened up a new world of jazz by layering rockin’ fusion with the beauty of Flores nuance, especially by the presence of singer with unique vocal gift, Ivan Nestorman. Other than these two amazing persons, this band who was established 10 years ago got empowered by Kadek Rihardika (guitar), Krisna Prameswara (keyboard) and Adi Darmawan (bass). Even if you don’t quite understand the fusion jazz with Flores scence, the way Gilang modifies and plays the drum-kit of Gilang (with kendang, tifa and ceng-ceng added) is always interesting to see. Another cool session with lots of action to highlight! There was also Clinic by IMI which were also held on separate stages at different times by Rahman Pattiha giving a coaching session on “6 Ways To Solo Like Pro” and another clinic about “Jazz Guitar Improvisation” by Dion Japra Clinic.

Who does not know Maliq & d’Essentials? They have countless fans, their appearance always be awaited, so of course they deserved a full-house crowd only by their presence at JakJazz. We’re all still remember how this group made a breakthrough in Indonesian music industry by carrying their single debut “Terdiam”. Soulful music in Indonesia wasn’t really popular back then but the song was a total phenomenon and made them the latest teen idol at that moment. Tonight, their cool, groovy arrangement and lively stage action grabbed crowd’s attention as usual. Crowd turned to be a big choir since they’re familiar with all of their songs such as “Heaven” and “Dia”. They totally rocked the night out.

Just three weeks ago the Casiopea fans in Indonesia had their dreams came true. With the new formation called Casiopea 3rd, the bassman now lies in the hand of Yoshihiro Naruse. Eventhough Naruse plays really well in the electric bass post, many of the long time Casiopea fans missed the previous member, Tetsuo Sakurai and wish to see him too. Who could believe that that wish got fulfilled this soon?

We might not realize that he has left Casiopea many years ago. Even so, he still connects with his fellows like with Akira Jimbo in Jimsaku or with Issei Noro in Pegasus. Speaking of solo career, he has released many albums too. The total amount is around 40 both solo and groups. Continuing his path alone or having some projects with other musicians is his main focus. He’s no stranger to the Indonesian soil too. The last time we saw him was at the Java Jazz Festival 2008 where he released his infectious groovy fusion over his bass, something that inspired many bassists in Indonesia for years. So it was such a valuable moment when we could see his tasty basslines once again, proving that he’s one of the all time best bassists in Japan and in the world. It’s Tetsuo Sakurai, ladies and gentlemen, let’s give a big hand to him!


In front of full crowds awaiting for him,  Tetsuo explained that there are many great bass players in around the world, but he mentioned one off his most favorite bass players, Jaco Pastorius and performed one of his songs on stage. But before that he performed “Critical Planet” and “Regenerate” mesmerizing the crowds with his fingers tapping and moving on his bass.

When jazz’s served big in the shape of festival, Otti Jamalus should always be around. She’s a great pianist, singer and teacher, but her passion in the field of education pulses stronger than anything. So far she has produced many successful musicians, including the most current group, Senar Tiga. Watching her in any shows are always a pleasure. She can craft the joyful jazz whether in standards, pop jazz or bossa in the sweetest way. Always friendly, always ear catchy, always lovely.

The talented Matthew Sayersz who was also known as former vocals for groups such as Idang Rasjidi Syndicate, Dwiki Dharmawan’s Project and of course Barry Likumahuwa Project who are also performing on stage, this time comes along with his own presentation of music. He has achieved many regional and international achievements that has earned him a precious place in many hearts. He was also fearured in the previous Java Soulnation, and this time in a more jazzy feeling of JakJazz which proves that he can go all ways with those vocals of his.

Barry Likumahuwa is one of Indonesia’s talented bassist and positive young influence in the music industry. Together with Henri Budidharma (gutiars), Nicky Manuputty (alto sax), Jonas Wang (drums), Donny Joesran (keys) they form Barry Likumahuwa Project which brings funk, fusion and jazz together. There was vocals from Teddy Adhitya and Raymond Latiheru and also an appearance from Barry’s father and inspiration, Benny Likumahuwa.

The performance in 1978 at the first ever Jazz Goes to Campus marked a memorable start of an inspiring vocal group Chaseiro. 34 years past, the members are still the same with chemistry which gets even stronger. Though they are mentioned as a vocal group, one of them Omen Sonisontani said that they are not just that but more like a band of brothers. Beside Omen, the members are Candra Darusman (keyboard, vocal), Helmie Indrakesuma (vocal), Aswin Sastrowardoyo (guitar, vocal), Edi Hudioro (flute), Irwan Indrakesuma (vocal) and Rizali Indrakesuma (bass, vocal) .They are not young anymore today, but all of them are still in prime shape, as if nothing had changed at all. For many years they were in quite silence, but since 2 years ago they stepped up the gear once again for a better new future. This time at the JakJazz Festival 2012 they gave out a strong performance with many things to remember. They offered family quality time during the show and fascinated the crowd with jokes and warm chit-chat. They also brought us back to the 70s through their album called Nada Gembira. Another tunes in the title of “Dunia Dibatas Senja”, “Perangai Diri”, “Ku Lama Menanti” epically jazzin up this night and surely “Route 66” occured with the formation of acoustic piano only with Rizali on vocal and Candra Darusman on keyboard. “Shy”, intstrumental melody on “Calypso” and “Rio De Janeiro”, and two of their evergreens “Ceria” and “Pemuda” in samba beat.


Breaking MURI records for playing 150 songs for 10 hours non stop in 10 genres and 4 languages is one of his hard to believe achievement. Not only that, this man is able to catch our interest for being one of the rare flamenco jazz guitarist. Yes, Yeppy Romero is the name, a proud Batak son who can change the atmosphere around the stage by tuning his music differently. Here he hypnotized us in his solo project named Acoustic Smile. The acoustic that smiles down to the audience or the kind of music that brings smile to people? Both should work. One thing for sure, this man masters his weapon perfectly and he knows what he’s doing. We should dig the flamenco jazz more from him since it’s rare. We hope this act could stimulate more artists to grace their jazz bites with rich flamenco tunes.

The combination between highly experienced talents and shiny young guns results a huge fusion blast. That could describe the group led by keyboardist Khrisna Siregar called Fusion Stuff. This group is still 6-7 months old, yet they already have original songs such as “The Awakening”, “The Battle”, “Brain Dream” and “I Don’t Even Care” and have aimed to play abroad, as far as reaching other South East Asian nations all the way to Rusia. Krishna smartly brings highly capable partners inside the group from those who have been in the business for long time like Kadek Rihardika (guitar) and Franky Sadikin (electric bass) and the potential young players Damez Nababan (saxophone) and explosive girl-drummer Jeane Phialsa. Blazing, action-packed fusion apperared from their stage, fully entertained lots of audience who stood right in front of them.

An unbelievable surprise came from the stage of Jilly Likumahuwa. Madly opened with a Melayu style singing by Zul which then followed by authentic gondang Batak rhythm courtesy of Parlin Pandiangan. Later we caught the senior Sundanese kendang player Jalu G Praditina adding up the beat. Jilly came out playing the percussion and then sounded like the traditional Dayak instrument. Surprise, it was for the opening of “Carnaval (Festa do Interior)”!


Harry Toledo (bass), Inang Noorsaid (drums), Erwin (guitar) and Roberto ‘Bebeto’ Joko (keys) were all there to start the fest in grand. It was totally different than what we’ve ever seen or what you’ve ever expected. Jobim’s “So Danço Samba” served right after while Jilly explained the difference between bossa nova, bossas and the other Brazilian beat that often mistaken as samba. “A Felicidade” got one of the most beautiful rearrangement we’ve ever heard, uniquely added with two Batak folk songs “Na Sonang Do Hita Nadua”, “Anju Ahu” and one Ambonese song. Then came the all time bossa classic “Dindi” in which the opening was served sad and sentimental just like the meaning of the song. The daughter of legendary diva Hetty Koes Endang named Afifah Yusuf joined the stage and sang the English version. The proud mom sat among the audience and told us this: “She (Afifah) didn’t want to sing the way I did, instead she chose jazz. But hey, I support her!” Young, tender and lovely like the girl from Ipanema she mesmerized the audience. Time to switched to fusion with Jaco Pastorius/Weather Report’s “Birdland.” In medley with this song, a very touching song originally written by Jilly entitled “Josabi” led by Harry Toledo’s bass brought tears to Jilly’s eyes. Enough with the sadness, Jilly and the whole band sealed their session with “Flor De Lis” and a lively batucada beat on “Magalenha”. The audience turned to be the Brazilian choir in this song.

Using the traditional instruments both from Brazil and Indonesian archipelago such as Sampe from Dayak/Borneo, Pandeiro, Tamborim, Berimbau, Caxixi, Ocean Rhythm, Roaring Thunder, Shaker, Triangle and Waterfall, this show teared up boundaries between worlds and the musics live inside. In simple way, the concept is all about Jilly, a 100 % Indonesian with Brazilian soul and spirit, something she’s been digging seriously for at least 16 years. Thank you Jilly Likumahuwa and fellow musicians for presenting a new, unforgettable musical experience!

Once upon a time, 29 years ago to be exact, there was a song that became a big hit many countries including Indonesia entitled “Garden Party.” This song continued its popularity many years after, even now we can still hear it in several radio stations. This song came from a band based in Iceland, Mezzoforte. The band started the journey in 1977, with several changing of members the band still stands tall today. 15 albums from the first selftitled in 1979 to the most recent one Islands (released just several months ago) are listed in their discography, other than performing everywhere around the globe. This wasn’t their first appearance in our country, because they have been here several times before like at JakJazz 1994 and Java Jazz Festival 2006. But since they haven’t been here for quite a while, we are happy to see them again this year.


Playing songs such as “Daybreak”, “No Limit” and “Rockall”, Mezzoforte did a great job in treating their fans with their hits. The hype was set to meet their most popular song “Garden Party”. Since the crowds asked for more, they played one last song taken from their latest album. Gulli Briem (drums), Eythor Gunnarsson (keyboard), Johann Asmundsson (bass), Oskar Gudjonsson (sax), Sebastian Studnitzky (trumpet and 2nd keyboard) and Bruno Mueller (guitar) were all wonderful in playing their heart out to entertain their fans to the max.

It’s never easy to keep the band alive for 3 decades, but Mezzoforte does that. Not only they survive through the test of time, but they also shows the same passion, power and spirit like the way they got back then. Bridging fusion and smooth jazz is their thing, so it was a real treat for those who set their ears in this corner. Still one more show from Mezzoforte to come, if you missed this one, you can still catch them today.

Eramono Soekaryo, better known as just Eramono was all over the music scene back then in the 80’s. He jumped in the recording right away after completing his study at the Berklee College of Music then established the group which is still remember by many adult fusion fans, Spirit Band. Then he was kind of dissapear from the glamorous jazz stage for years, eventhough he never really quitted from it. At the Chaseiro’s special concert he suddenly reappeared, not only by himself but he brought back the Spirit Band back again. Twisting the name as “The New Spirit Band”, he placed younger but talented musicians to fill the blank spot in the band while he still fly freely above the keys. The glorious fusion sound of the old Spirit Band returns again with some modern touches here and there. Three times we watched the new version of Spirit Band, all we can say is the trend is rising. They blend better and better, the chemistry between players get stronger as well. From what we see, they even manage to grab younger audience too as well as maintaining their faithful ones in pocket. So, does Eramono and the New Spirit Band has the chance to join today’s music industry, particularly jazz? We have no doubt once so ever! Maybe a new album can be a good way to strengthen their come back, maybe some more participation in big festival like this too, but one thing to remember, we’re talking about Eramono and the legendary Spirit Band, names that can make differences in enriching the music scene no matter what or how. Let’s give room for them, and wish them the best!

At the same day of the opening of JakJazz 2012, Boby Limijaya held a concert tributing R.E.M with his unique 8 Horns Jazz Band. We had to miss it because of that, but luckily we still got the chance to see his expressive piano playing at the event. For this event he brought the quartet formation with Wahyu Prasatya (drums), Kevin Yosua (bass) and Leo (alto sax).

Aside from his outstanding 8 Horns ensemble, Boby is an excellent pianist and composer. In fact, he graduated from the famous Berklee College of Music in Boston USA, mastering Jazz Composition. He even received the prestigious Herb Pomeroy Award for the ecellence in jazz composition in 2009 while he was abroad. We always like to see the way he play, because his facial expression shows how deep he’s into his play. Boby Limijaya Quartet played original songs including “9+11”, “Just You”, the song inspired by Pat Metheny’s composition “Mr M” (the M stands for Metheny)”. The quartet also played songs written for Boby’s first son “R.G.V.L”, “Yes He’s Moving” and “Oh G, How Sweet You Are”. To seal his session, “Sniper” hit the target perfectly. Boby Limijaya is; a talented man with big passion and adventurous in ideas. Next time you hear his name in the concert, make sure to watch him, because there are many things you can learn from him.

There was more than just great performers on stage, but also valuable lessons. From the elder era of jazz to the newest and most fresh released numbers, each was special in its own way. Just the way jazz is, never the same, always improvising because jazz itself learns and expands in better ways. Hope day two marked a spot in your heart and made your Saturday night better than ever. One more day to go so stick around “jazz” where you are because there’s still more to come!

See more pictures:

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Reporter : Riandy Kurniawan, Khairiyah Sartika Syofian, Dwi Ratri Utomo, Ata Michaella, Apey Idris, Ghea Sagita, Novan Yahya Renatal
Photographer: Praditya Nova, Omar Maulana, Bayu Warjiyo, Wowo Wahono