After a full loaded Day 1, here we come to Java Jazz Festival 2015, Day 2. Just like before, plenty of attraction, mouth watering big names, today’s giants, rising stars and potential newcomers served their crafts on almost 20 stages.
Just like yesterday, the party started early. Lantun Orchestra opened up on Outdoor stage. This ensemble wishes to (re)introduce the richness of Indonesian traditional music especially the Batavian like keroncong, tanjidor and the likes. But what’s unique, in order to bring it they use jazz elements not only nin notations but also improvisations, solo runs and call & response. Keroncong appears modern with splashes of jazz without neglecting the original spirit is made possible, thanks to Chaka Priambudi on bass, Nesia Ardi on vocal, Kenny Gabriel on trumpet, Arman Chaniago on drum and kendang, Windy Setiadi on accordion, Armia Husein on flute, Tio Alibasyah on guitar, and Donny Prasetyo on keyboard. The interesting part was their mixing appearance where they wore traditional clothes from Betawi with sunglasses and sneakers and sang Betawi songs such as “Ondel-ondel”, “Jali-jali”, and Titik Puspa’s “Gang Kelinci”. Smart!
While Hendrik Meurkens gave a nice jazz harmonica package early in the afternoon and Ron King Big Band treated the audience with swingin’ sensation, Tesla Manaf showcased the magic of music he called progressive acoustic experimental. This is his latest craft that made him go international under MoonJune Records. Hadis Hendarisman (clarinet), Khrisna Alda (bass) and Desal Sembada (drums) are his team mates. For us who know Tesla’s struggle in establishing himself inside the industry, we are more than happy to see him make it at this year’s edition. As usual, masterclass play just like a jazz veteran.
The bassist of legendary group Uzeb and Se7entrion, Alain Caron heated the festival early with his fusion fire, and the Indonesian gem Emerald BEX set the fire exactly on the opposite side of the venue. Live at Wonderland, a group of musicians who frequently play their music in several jazz events and support its community finally arrived at the biggest jazz event and Symbiosis got their chance too around the same time. Symbiosis, a jazz band, with special composition and well-served jazz standards has Chris Dragotta on sax, Michael Kruge on bass/cello, Gary Fredriksen on drums, and Boris de Vries on guitar behind it all.
Ever since we know Salamander Big Band since 2007 they have been showing the life like wine, getting better with age. They consistently bring guest stars from Europe each and every year, learning new things from them and perform together. Getting more knowledge and experient shape them to be a big band with international quality. This year they are back again to this fest. From the facial expression they were proud and happy, we are also happy for them too.
“Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” How many people has this quote as a blessing? Well, it comes from Bobby McFerrin, the man who can do just about anything with his voice. As a legend, he can perform either all by himself or with full band just as cool. If in 2012 he gave a totally out of the box show by involving Balinese kecak, masked dancer and gamelan, this year he performed with a full band. Having seen him doing many things, from the simplest one to the completely improvised like when he was with Chick Corea, Bobby McFerrin always know how to make people deeply into his show. Hey, he’s never forget to involve the audience too. Another good round from Mr McFerrin.
Then it was time to see the musicians that have brought the Pre Event to our own Braga Jazz Walk community event in Bandung (read the report here: http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/braga-jazz-walk-special-edition-pre-event-java-jazz-festival-2015-the-report/). It’s VAC, consists of Israel Varela (drums), Nita Aartsen (piano) and Daniele Cappucci (contrabass), featuring Yeppy Romero (acoustic guitar) and Marcello Allulli (saxophone). What they bring on the plate is something unique, the Flamenco Jazz. Nita bridged the classical, jazz and Flamenco bites on piano, Daniele ran wild intensely on bass while Varela gave rich Andalucia-flavored rhythm. Yeppy’s flamenco guitar playing was spectacular, so was Allulli’s alto saxophone attack. Just marvelous. Different, colorful and special.
It’s nice to see Reza Artamevia at the Java Jazz Festival. She rose to fame in 1997 with two evergreens, “Satu yang Tak Bisa Lepas”, “Aku Wanita” and “Pertama”, then from there she made more hits. Then she was dissapeared but then in 2012 she was back, stronger and ever, then moved fast by releasing single and album. What’s cool is that ever since she came back, she graced some jazz stages including North Sumatra Jazz Festival. Now she’s landed on the Java Jazz’s soil, sharing her new spirit in jazz soul. She made the crowd cheering out loud because Teza Sumendra suddenly showed up and sang “Biar Menjadi Kenangan” and Michael Lington also accompanied her. Singer, movie and drama star Rinni Wulandari‘s act was on B1 hall. She’s known as one participant from Indonesian Idol years ago. It had opened her way in Indonesia music industry at very young age and now she keeps growing and has many accomplishments.
When Blue Note Tokyo opened in 1988, soon after this place gathered Japanese jazz musicians under the name of All-Star Jazz Orchestra, directed by Eric Miyashiro. They have played with legends like Arturo Sandoval and sailed much further to reach other sides of the sphere like Montreux. Now they came to Indonesia. Lucky for us, we could feel how it is in Blue Note Tokyo without having to go there. Arigatou! When the sky turned to dark, jazz drum veteran Karim Suweileh and the Jazzy Quintet paid a swingin tribute to The Beatles.
Time for us to enjoy bossa from one of its most up front ambassador, Lisa Ono. We are happy to see her finally back again after her last visit to Java Jazz Festival in 2007. If 7 years ago she gave an unforgettable performance, this time she did it again. Still warm, heartfelt, pure and humble, Lisa made a lovely and intimate session to hundreds of her fans. 7 years passed, but nothing changed because Lisa still has a lot of fans in Indonesia. Again, it was very sweet. You can imagine how beautiful it is to hear classics bossa from the legend that has it inside her heart, mind and soul. She completed the show with encore plus “Bengawan Solo” and “Over the Rainbow”. Awesome, awesome number of crowds.
Four on a Swing, Akiko, Jarrod Lawson, Meshell Ndegeocello, Courtney Pine, Jumaane Smith ft Ron King Quartet, Jon Regen, Mary Stallings, Oleta Adams, Kenny Lattimore, Wayne Krantz/Anthony Jackson/Cliff Almond and Gregoire Maret Quartet got another turn after their show yesterday.
Something cool happened on Java Jazz Coffee stage. It was The Diplomats, when the junior and senior diplomats as well as high rank officials of the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Indonesia entertained people with variety of music, from jazz, rock to Indonesian songs. At the B2 Sweden proud son, saxophonist Magnus Lindgren gave another stunning show just like his participation in the 2012 edition but for today Jimi Tenor also came along with him. Van Java as a progressive band from Jakarta successfully entertained the crowd with their rockin stage act blending with metal and jazz tunes.
Tulus once again blasted the festival. His show was overcrowded, dragging so many people like a magnet. With just two albums, the selftitled and Gajah, Tulus now stands as one of the top superstars of Indonesia. Everyone know his songs and sang along. Tulus was fully connected with his fans as well. One of the most phenomenal Indonesian artists of the decade, or maybe of all time, it’s interesting to see where he will go from here. But up to this point, he’s doing remarkable and his stage was full house.
The past couple of years seems to be a perfect year for Tohpati. He’s being productive in making one album after another in short time. “Too many notes inside my head waiting to be expressed. I couldn’t wait any longer to record the album” he said to us when he launched his album, “Tribal Dance” which featured Jimmy Haslip and Chad Wackerman. Less than a year before that he just released an album where he used acoustic guitar, “Song For You”. His calm looking expression while playing can never hide the fact that he’s excellent in executing his music. Many unreleased compositions were played tonight. Sharp but never too difficult to chew, good to watch both for those who learn and seek for entertainment, it’s hard to imagine a jazz festival without his presence.
Speaking of jazz violinist, most of us would remember Stephane Grappelli. Here comes a player that earns respect not only by being skillful but for his creativity. Covering wide areas from jazz, classical to world music, he stands as a reputable player that has played alongside diverse musicians. At this 2015 edition Luca Ciarla played with US-born but German-based pianist Chris Jarrett. They have been touring together and showed their dazzling improvisations to Saturday fest-goers. On the other side, one of the Soulvibe frontman, Abenk Alter decided to go solo since 2013. With this move, he has the chance to dig his true-self which lies in between soul and jazz with a soft, sweet vintage approach, just like his debut single, “Lain Waktu” from his album which had released last November titled, “Selamat Datang”. In our interview after his show, Abenk shared about his experiences going solo. Nikita Dompas is one of many people who convinced him to be confident and be soloist because Abenk’s proven ability in writing and making music. Abenk already set his signature in many musicians through his songs and now he just tries to be himself and dig more his musical side. The challenge being soloist is his own self but it is exciting yet challenging to try anything alone. Tonight crowd was beyond his expectation and he extremely grateful for that. Hope the best for your future music, Abenk.
There are many trumpeter, but only a few who digs like Etienne Charles. He exhibits the music from his native culture of Trinidad but at thesame time embraces the sound of American jazz. It was like a party on the beach. Excitingly fresh!
Another famous trumpeter was found on the other hall. There are many words that would fit to describe Chris Botti, but if you ask us, we would say, romantic. That accumulates on his latest CD released 3 years ago, “Impressions”. Special for JJF2015, Botti includes violinist Caroline Campbell, opera singer George Komsky, and the unique RnB singer Sy Smith. With more than 250 gigs in a year, the band was tight with another level of chemistry and aggressive playing, but we gotta say that the drummer, Billy Kilson, stole the show as usual. Botti and Kilson has played together for so long and Kilson is probably one of the very few rhythm sections to be allowed to steal shows from the main artist. Kilson showed another level solo jazz drumming by replace a drumstick with a shaker, barehands, and even some acrobatic move. It is not the only highlight. The main one is when Botti and Sy Smith engage the audience directly, and Botti appeared to play in front (or for) a disabled lady. It was such a memorable performance, a lovely night, with a romantic mood with strong jazz fusion vibe. Chris Botti definitely offered a whole package of jazztainment and everyone seems to leave the hall with smile . Caro The lovely sultry jazz vocalist,
Danilla delivered the easy listening songs with jazz taste, noir tone and in some ways, indie. This winning combination proved to work in order to grab wide segment mt of listeners. Performing with fellow musicians mostly from Bandung, Lafa Green (guitar), Christ Stanley (keyboard), Edward Manurung (drums) and Jalu Gallang Dalimunthe (bass), he combined her original songs and some standards. Beside played the keyboard, Christ Stanley also sang in several numbers and Danilla played melodica. Listen to her album, “Telisik”, as seen at her live performance tonight, how mature she is in lyrical and musical in spite of her young age. Also from Bandung came Dhira Bongs. With her mezzo soprano voice as heard in her album, “My Precious”, this petite young girl took the blend of folk, swing and groove as her music and calls her music as “Exploration Pop Jazz”.
The Georgian ethno-jazz band Iriao gave a different sound. The name came from the common phrase ‘Iriao-uruao’ commonly found in Krimanchuli. David Malazonia led his team to bring light but distinctive Georgian sound, no intention to modernize this authentic Georgian polyphonic music, but what they aim is to saturate and adorn it with jazz elements. As the result, they don’t play difficult ethnic jazz to digest even by the common listeners.
If you’re a long time jazz lovers who already live with it for at least a couple of decades, you should praise the works of the legendary Mr Ramsey Lewis. Well, he’s being busy with the industry for -listen to this- almost 60 years! He has seen it all. The birth of new styles, sub-genres, hybrids, and he’s been digging most of them too. Jazz, gospel, blues, soul, or pop, all will be special when it comes from him. And of course, who could ever forget his monumental collaboration with Madame Nancy Wilson, resulting three classic albums? We are lucky, so very lucky to be able to watch and cover his show. He’s almost 80 today, but he still looks fresh like many decades ago. And speaking of his finger-dancing, we say he doesn’t loose anything at all. Genius in composing, finesse execution. Indeed it’s a blessing to watch his show. Unforgettable, totally. As awesome addition, Maurice Brown joined the stage and rockin the night.
As Afgan made so many attending fans happy, John Primer & the Living History Band gave roaring, authentic Delta blues on his stage. It was simply like sitting near the Mississippi river, forgetting everything and just enjoying the moment. Meanwhile, Idang Rasjidi appeared as a quintet at Semeru. Moving on to another show, we met Benjamin Herman Quartet from Netherlands on C2 stage. Led by saxophonist Benjamin Herman, this group gave a cool classic boppin’ bites.
Bass, anyone? If you say yes, then Richard Bona should catch your attention. He is one of the important names in the scene. What he gave on stage is something so playful, the word fun attached strongly, but equipped with such high skill both in playing and composing. Just funkin’ nice. Anthony Stanco, a trumpeter who grew up in Detroit area played under Anthony Stanco Jazz Ensemble, he brings his project which was reflected in his first album, The Crucial Elements. With Marcus Elliot (tenor sax), Paul Bratcher (piano), Sam Copperman (bass) and Jordan Otto (drums), he shows that he can pin just about any genres to fit jazz style. What’s important is to gie music with meaning, it has to contain feelings and emotions that can move the audience. They did it. And for the record, Anthony Stanco Jazz Ensemble is going to give free clinic to Palembang Jazz Community. For that we should thank him.
2015 is special for Mocca. This year remark their comeback and the newest album they just released, titled “Home”. Since Arina, the vocalist, has to come back and forth between America and Indonesia, Mocca’s concerts become something people increasingly looking for. In this early year also they provided several special shows for swinging friends. After their first ever 2015 concert last January in their hometown, Bandung, they continually spoiled the loyal fans that live outside Bandung so they also can enjoy our lovely Mocca’s performance.
Jon Regen, a protege of Kenny Barron was cool all the way to midnight. If pop rock (n roll) world has Billy Joel or Elton John as singing pianist, happy to say that the jazz world now has Jon Regen spicing it up.
This year there are many trumpeters found in the lineup. Check out Anthony Stanco who grew in the Detroit area. As the talented drummer from younger generation Dion subiakto led his team on Java Jazz Stage, a female jazz trio Jazzy Juice was granted a spot to perform on Delta Stage. One thing you should know about this group is that they combine good jazz and fun chat on stage, just like what you usually have while enjoying a glass of juice with friends. Dyah Sekar on piano gives sweet, tasty melodies, Adhisty Zulkarnaen on drums provides colorful solid beat and monster groove is at max with Arnie Christanty’s electric bass. Special for tonight they brought along Jilly Likumahuwa as vocalist and percussion player and sang “Samba de minha terra” medley with “Manuk Dadali” which dragged so many people to their area. Since they were from Bandung, we have seen and follow their growth, evolving all the way up to this height. We are proud of them. You go ladies!
In the album Translantic R.P.M (2010), Incognito made a big breakthrough by featuring Chaka Khan and Mario Biondi for covering Boz Scaggs’ “Lowdown”. Since the collaboration was perfect, we always dreamed to see it here, and Java Jazz Festival is the most possible option; had it ever happen. At this 11th edition that dream came true. Chaka Khan indeed made her come back to the festival after her last performance in 2007, and this time she got strong support by Incognito. “I Feel For You” opened the show and “Ain’t Nobody” was followed. After that Incognito served us with their hits and then Chaka Khan came back and continued with “Until You Come Back to Me”, “Through the Fire” and the official song of woman empowerment, “I’m Every Woman” closed the show. The collaboration between legends like this is always a big catch. Just one of them would already amazing, now double that by two, there you got this act. And the collaboration itself was an ace. Speaking of making a come back, the jazz/funk/ rock/world music artist David Garfield again gave enormous contribution in continuing his constant presence at the Java Jazz Festival.
At this point the time was already late but the Day 2 was still far from over. Getting people attention last year through a hits called ‘Hey Gadis’, FliM which consists of Eron Leban as vocalist, Ahmad ‘Vian’ Oktaviansyah as bassist, Elfir Safir as guitarist, and Jantan Gerhana as drummer first time ever came up into Java Jazz stage. Meanwhile, the legendary band originally from Bandung Kahitna reigned on the big C1 hall. Speaking of Kahitna, most of the music fans might take them as a pop band, and that’s not totally wrong. But we should remember that they actually began with thick jazz fusion on their menu. Especially with Yovie Widianto who has jazz printed all over his heart and soul, many of Kahitna songs are actually simplified from jazz, as he told us some times ago. Almost 30 years in service, Kahitna still has so many fans. They are still energetic and passionate. And the show was as delicious as always.
There are many male trumpeter, but what about female? This year we got Ginetta M, a multi talented lady who plays trumpet, sings and composes, also leads his funky jazzy blues band, Ginetta’s Vendetta. Her signature pocket-trumpet is one of a kind, her sultry vocals and her hot funky act are some of the cool things to expect from her show. From jazz to Blues, to RnB, to Salsa, Ginetta took us to party along with the worldwide famous hammond organ player, Tony Monaco.
Gerald Situmorang was known as one of guitar duo Sketsa. Last year he made a move by releasing his new band simply called Gerald Situmorang Trio. Having two of his closest friends: Ankadiov Subran (bass) and Jessilardus Mates (drums), he demonstrated the real him, musically speaking, which clearly rooted in modern jazz along with cool improvisations. This band has released one album “Time is the Answer” and is looking forward to embark on new adventures. A very interesting trio and promising. Skyline and Absurdnation played on each of their spot. The former is jazz band based in Tapiei, Taiwan, filled by five fellows: Jazzy on keyboard, Richard on bass, Allen on drum, Sean on guitar, and Jimmy on sax. Together they filled the air with various genres, funk, fusion, R&B, you name it. The latter is a newly indie band is around the corner. Four men come from Semarang: Nanda Goeltom on vocal, Yusuf Saputra on piano & synth, Fauz Hibatul Haqqi on bass, and Fanny Wardoyo on drum & percussion and ready hail audiences with their ethnic jazz melodies.
The third winner of American Idol 2012, Joshua Ledet, a soulman, gave a sweet soul RnB performance that melted the ladies’ hearts. That included his hit “Here to Die”, sang with his modern day Motown voice. Then came the moment to check out one of the most sensational pairing, this time between Brad Mehldau and Mark Guiliana, together as Mehliana. Both are genius on their weapon, their works together feels stunning and alive. While the album Taming the Dragon received many good reviews from critics, their video clips has inspired many musicians to take a brave step like them. Unique keys-drum connection. Not the first in the music scene but certainly innovative. For a start, they are not playing the traditional jazz, what they do is something out of the box. What can be created from fender Rhodes/synthesizers and drums and effects? Mehliana has proven that plenty of good things can be made. Sky is the limit. Many things to learn from their show.
Fusion roared wild and fun from the Java Jazz Coffee stage, courtesy of Fusion Stuff. Each corner is guarded by competent players. The leader is keys wiz Krishna Siregar, the monster groove bassist Franky Sadikin, senior guitarist Kadek Rihardika, cute but lethal girl drummer Jeane Phialsa and the seductive saxophonist you see every night in Net TV’s The Comment, Damez Nababan. They bring back the sound of old-skool fusion to appear modern, in a way reminds us of Japanese legends Casiopea and T-Square without the EWI (electronic wind instrument). For a fusion band, their songs are considerably easy to follow and some are actually very melodious and story-telling. It’s challenging, fun to listen and to watch. They sealed the show with our favorite, the sweet “Little Briescha”.
That’s the end of our report on Day 2. Stay tuned for our report on the third and final day of Java Jazz Festival 2015.
In Memoriam: Yeppy Romero
A sad news came right at the end of this 2nd day. We are deeply saddened by the passing of Yeppy Romero, the Flamenco Jazz hero, just a couple of hours after his last performance with VAC. The photo above was taken from that show. May God rest his soul.
Read the report from Java Jazz Festival Day 1 >> http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/java-jazz-festival-2015-day-1/
Read the report from Java Jazz Festival Day 3 >> http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/java-jazz-festival-2015-day-3/
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