After two days of jazzsensation, here we come to Day 3, the final day of Java Jazz Festival year 2015. Great opportunity to spend our first weekend on March in this tenth edition of the festival. You can choose to come one day or three days in a row, and when you miss one of your favourite artists, there is still another day to choose. Some artists have two or three times to perform. These musicians had showed up on Friday or Saturday, and yes they came again today. There are Ron King Big Band, Blue Note Tokyo All-Star Jazz Orchestra, Naturally 7, Bobby McFerrin, Lisa Ono, Ramsey Lewis, Alain Caron, Harvey Mason’s Chameleon (Fred D. Jr. Chris T., Kamasi W., John B.), Iriao, Joshua Ledet & Ron King Quintet, Anthony Stanco and The Crucial Elements, Richard Bona, Michael Lington, John Primer & the Living History Band, Chris Botti, Mehliana (Brad Mehldau & Mark Guiliana), Etienne Charles, Snarky Puppy, Jumaane Smith & Ron King Quintet. On the other hand, there are many bands/projects/performers who just got their shot here on this day.
Just like yesterday, Day 3 started with swing. If Salamander Big Band was the band on day 2, this time it was Galaxy BigBand Jazz Orchestra. The Galaxy Big Band is a regular in this fest, filled with Japanese (and other countries’) expatriates who are still happily spare their valuable time to maintain their passion in music, particularly jazz.
It’s been great to see Warren Hill back again to Indonesia after 20 years. This man redefined the contemporary smooth jazz to be both sexy, relaxing and energetic at the same time way back then in the 90’s. He still has it all today. Warren Hill plays every note with passion, up to the point that his music somewhat has spirit and alive. Action packed show, energetic and romantic. Bravo Warren!
The Salamander junior, Youth Jazz Orchestra ensured us that the future of swingin’ big band in Indonesia is on the good hands. Still around the future stars, Margo Rising Star made a blast at the outdoor stage. Once again, these young guns made Margo Jazz community proud. Harvey Malaiholo was back but this time in supporting the Malaysian orchestra, probably the oldest one, the RTM Big Band Jazz Orchestra, and he sang “Dara”, “Enggo Lari”, and also did several featuring. The senior jazz, blues, rock guitarist Donny Suhendra show came early this year. Fusion flowed naturally from his stage.
Ananda Sukarlan has made Indonesia proud in the international music scene. He is prominent in the field of composing, he has involved in so many international commissions and performances. He has played and recorded with more than 50 renowned composers. Mostly embracing classical, Ananda Sukarlan surprisingly brought his solo piano recital, Rapsodia Nusantara and fitted the selected numbers in jazz outfit. A wonderful package from the genius.
This year Java Jazz Festival invites a band put together consisting of one musician from each nordic country. They decided to call the band as Nordic All Stars. On this last day bassist Chris Minh Doky (Denmark) had a fun encounter with saxophonist Hanna Paulsberg (Norway). Two of Indonesian musicians Johanes Radianto (guitar) and Elfa Zulha (drums) were supporting them. The visit of Nordic All Stars show that jazz is pulsing healthily in the Nordic countries. There are many prominent names who gain respect worldwide, and some of today’s big names were here this time. We always love to taste jazz from different region and feel happy to be able to taste the Nordic jazz.
A very special show took plae at the D1 hall. The show’s called The Ladies of Jazz, featuring three legendary female jazz singers who are still able to sing as good as decades ago, if not even better. Margie Segers, Rien Djamain and Ermy Kullit sang three of most favorite songs from their own shelf which got a new arrangement from Adra Karim. Playing alongside Adra Karim were Dion Janapria (guitar), Kevin Yosua (bass) and Elfa Zulham (drums). All, plus Trinity Youth Symphony Orchestra (TRUST), an orchestra consists of young lions aged 10 to 25 max. If that’s not enough, the legendary ladies of jazz wore dress specially designed for each of them: Alain Gunawan for Margie Segers, Rama Dauhan on Ermy Kullit and Serre Marini for Rien Djamain. . It’s amazing that after all these years, these ladies still have their golden voice. For us, this is the best show ever after all this time in our humble opinion. After singing their own hits, they ended up with familiar party with “Dia”, the crowd even sang along with them. Full of nostalgia, full of respect.
Maurice ‘Mobetta’ Brown made his way back gracing the Java Jazz Festival again. Brown’s game is different. Yes, he bops hard, but he also embraces the urban ghetto soul, fluent in hip hop and even capable to rock. Always cool while playing, always charismatic, always sensational. It’s Mobetta, the one and only Mobetta.
Should a teacher perform in live concert once in a while? We say it’s a must. Other than they need to feel the joy of playing live in front of good crowds, the live performance can be a perfect source to learn too (learning by watching). Andi Wiriantono spent many years as a music teacher, but 4 years ago he realized the needs of appearing on the surface, as an active musician. He has graced many prestigious stages right after. Even when he gets busier after establishing his own school, The Andi Wiriantono Music School, he never lost his passion to feel the adrenaline rush on stage. This year Andi brought the team of great young guns including Ricad Hutapea (saxophone), Dimas Pradipta (drums) and Doni Sundjoyo (bass). Improvisations, solo runs, tradings, all were captured from their jamming-like show. Maruli Tampubolon once had collaboration with Syahrini, now the son of one famous lawyer in Indonesia epically showed at MILD Hall. You might see Dikta as one of Yovie and Nuno’s vocalist, but this time he specially formed a project since he tries a new path in solo career and awesomely entertained us. In other stage, Suar gave their best shot on each of their spot.
The name Philippe Sellam is not new for us. We have covered his awesome show at the KL International Jazz Festival last year under a trio format. At the Java Jazz Festival, Sellam spat high doses of venoms as usual in an inspiring collaboration with pianist Frank Herrgott Quartet. Modest but sharp, they exhcanged punches and worked hand in hand to build a strong musical structure.
Ruth Sahanaya, almost hit the number of 30 years of musical experiences has shaped herself into one of considered divas in Indonesia. Her maintained appearance go along well with undoubted beautiful voice she has. Naturally Uthe offered many hits in her performance like “Memori” and “Keliru” and attractively wrapped it up with ‘Talk about Love’ concept. Many couple were seen holding each other hands and sang along as love filled the air.
Dwiki Dharmawan and Violet Spin got their first encounter on July 8, 2012 at the Jazz Fest Wien (Vienna Jazz Festival) in Austria. Other than collaborated with Oliver Steger, at that time Dwiki meets the Violet Spin, a string quartet consists of Lukas Lauerman (cello), Judith Reitner (viola), Paul Dangl (violin) dan Irene Kepl, a violist who’s also in charge as the leader of the quartet. 3 years later they finally met again, having another good round showing jazz is a universal language that can bring harmony even to players from the opposite sides of the sphere. Joining Dwiki and the Violet Spin was the bassist we all know and proud of, Doni Sundjoyo.
We heard about Benny Likumahuwa’s health problem about two months ago. But thank God, he’s fully recovered as we found the evidence at the B2 stage. Well, for someone like Benny Likumahuwa, a legendary trombonist/multi instrumentalist who has been doing everything for jazz for more than 50 years, an appearance at a festival like this is a must. This year again he presented pure jazz delight in the most delicate and natural way. Joining him are his own son, the favorite Barry Likumahuwa on bass, Dimas Pradipta on drum, Christ Stanley on keyboard, Indra Aziz on saxophone&vocal, Bass G, and Jordy Waelauruw on trumpet. Just last year we enjoyed his fine work “Rekam Jejak Vol.1”, in the spirit of keeping up the track record not only of him but also some of important names in the business, from the adult, young adult to 10 year old prodigy.
Another legend, this time a drummer, a very important milestone in Indonesian jazz historical timeline Benny Mustafa showed that he’s still in perfect condition. Whether with wood stick or brush, he swings like no other. Reflecting all the experiences and skills he possessed for more than half a century, his show was like a window for us to see, hear and feel the journey of jazz in Indonesia during the past 50 years. For this time he was accompanied with Stefan Thiele on keyboard, Kevin Yosua on bass, and Tyo Alibasjah on guitar.
Back in early 2000, Kerispatih started their career as one of huge pop band with many hits that we stll remember now. Sammy Simorangkir was one of them and his unique strong voice now practically supports him as male soloist. The artistry play by Anda and Reza as Matajiwa who describes their music as 3E: ‘Experience, Experiment and Expression’ was really different. The drumcussion and guitar/vocal showdown crafted creatively and sent as a special gift to people watching them. Trying to unattach themselves from pop and rock label, they freely play their tunes in Ethnopsychadeliarock genre as they called it.
The success story of Yunita Rachman, better known as Yura is fascinating. Once a lyric writer andpianist of Sarasvati, she found a breakthrough by competing in The Voice. There, she stunned the judges and then asked to sing with Glenn Fredly, resulting a popular song, “Cinta dan Rahasia”. As the wind is good for sailing, the ‘Balada Sirkus’ Yura is looking forward to become one of the forces in today’s industry. The venomous guitarist Nissan Fortz was on the stage too. Nowadays, media socials and its all benefits are maximized by Isyana Sarasvati. Being famous on Youtube is not the only achievement she has, instead she gets long list of what she has done astonishingly in music. She is now under label major, Sony Music, and had released first single, “Keep Being You”
Lea Simanjuntak with the Timeless Jazz concept featuring Mike Mohede, Sophie Navita, Irsa Destiwi, Tina Simanjuntak, Troy Bonardo, Rabukustik Band at MILD Hall. So happy to see the magnificent performance of Lea Simanjuntak sang hits from the era of 60s (Etta James, Dionne Warmick, Barbra Streisand) to the latest hits, Taylor Swift.
Indonesian music scene got shock when we heard the loss one of our dearest friend. Denny Sakrie as one countable music critics and the so-called walking musical dictionary deserves this tribute. Honorable performance tonight was respectfully brought up by Neonomora, Endah n Rhesa, and WSATCC. Christina Perri attracted people’s attention the very first time through her broken hearted anthem, “Jar of heart”. It is not an easy journey for this singer-songwriter but since then her name keeps widely spreading because she has continually produced another hits we love, like “A Thousand Years”, “Human”, and “Distance”. “Head or Heart” is the newest art for her you can enjoy.
We still remember a song, covering Maliq n D’Essentials sung by a handsome young man. We found out later that he’s Nathan Hartono, a Singaporean with Indonesian blood. He successfully made his name in his homeland, gaining reputation among so many loyal fans in such a young age. Now he’s arrived at Java Jazz Festival 2014, supported by Andi Rianto, a top Indonesian composer and leader of Magenta Orchestra. Nathan has the kind of smooth manly voice, wide range, and works in every condition, from solo rendition to orchestra and big band encounters.
The Dauna’s served a harmonious connection between father, keyboardist Glenn Dauna and sons, trumpeter Indra Dauna and harmonicist Rega Dauna. They have been supporting each other for some years in numerous events. Focusing more on the family ties, they served the kind of jazz where love and respect are felt within. Creative city like Bandung has created so many young talented musicians. One of them is Mr. Sonjaya, an indie folk-accoustic duo with their guitar and special vocal succesfully formed one mini album called, ‘Tiada Kesan Tanpa Kehadiranmu’. Born within musicians family had formed Petra Sihombing into a bright young man with many musical gifts. Not only has a soft voice, he also can play several instruments.
It’s certainly a pleasure to finally see him on stage, after hearing his name for quite some times. It’s The Raghu Dixit Project. This today’s ambassador for Indian music is far beyond genre. He still keeps his Indian traditions and culture, but he knows how to place it in the contemporary modern, western music. As a result, an interlaced dimension of sound naturally flows from his stand. Whether it’s blues, jazz, reggae, country, you name it, you have it. With Carnatic and several Indian languages, from Hindi to Tamil. All sounds natural and simple. With this concept he has reached many parts of the globe and introduced the peaceful ancient sound of Indian music. He even managed to make his audience dance. “While everyone else are watching jazz performances out there, here we are having a private India party.” he said. Well, the scene, the atmosphere, the vibe were absolutely fascinating. Her Coat of Arm Trio ran on outdoor spot.
Jessi J is someone above average, all about her is special, her stage act and style are always spectacular. Performed as the one and only special show at Java Jazz Festival 2015, Jessie J accomplished her very first time in Indonesia. Hip-hop and Motown strongly heard from her strong loud voice while she sang “Price Tag”, “Bang Bang”, and other songs. No need to fake her performance into jazzy tunes, she already owned the night. So fresh to see this lady gave something different yet outstanding show among other jazz musicians and surely it attracted people attention.
At Lawu room we found Tritone, consists of guitarists from the younger generation who create their own distinctive color. Tiyo Alibasjah, Aditya Bayu and Indra Prasetyo have different backgrounds, ranging from jazz, pop jazz to fusion. A treat for guitar lovers who came to the fest. As Her Coat of Arms Trio performed, the virtuous trumpeter from Bali, Rio Sidik seduced the audience with his blow over the reed. Last year he’s just busy with two big things: the reunion with his closest friends in Jiwa Band and the release of new album Sound of the Mystical Vibe. He kind of brought the rave scene from Bali to this fest. Rio even invited everyone to dance. Cool.
Yogyakarta, a big city with its strong culture and art produces other musicians; let’s give the spotlight to Everyday band. Contains of Reagina, Itonk, Gilang, and Anggri, together they released a jazzy yet groovy album, “Beutiful Day” in 2013. Once again the magic of social media and technology these days work. Rendy Pandugo already got many loyal visitors in his channel on Youtube and Soundcloud, and many people say he has resemblance with John Mayer. No matter what, Rendy showed his skill in “Firasatku” with famous guitarist, Piyu. Fomerly known as a member of SORE, Mondo Gascaro, now walks in his own path and has worked in so many music projects for Indonesian film and also busy taking care of his music label, IVY League Music. “Saturday Light” was the latest single from him.
Just like before, this 11th edition of Java Jazz Festival in 2015 holds many interesting stories. From legends, the experts, today’s top stars, potential new comers from all over the world were there for everyone to see. The fest-goers can see how jazz is today in many parts of the world, the newest creation, invention, concept and project from them, spread in more than 50 shows per day on almost 20 stages, consisting hundreds of bands, thousands of musicians. Lucky for us in Indonesia, we can enjoy this biggest annual jazz meeting right here without having to go anywhere.
Either playing, supporting fellow artists or just watching, this massive sized venue holds who’s who in the jazz and music industry. One of the attending musicians, trumpeter Wildan Abdat told us about his point of view. “You know, when the first announcement came up, I can’t tell you how much excited I am. The great Arturo Sandoval showed up on the wish list, and that’s enough for me to know that this edition was going to be crazy. Unfortunately this year, he failed to be on the lineup. But I kind of feel how badly the organizer wishes to keep on making this event much more loveable.” he said.
As he is a trumpeter, he would love this 11th Java Jazz Festival so much. Why? Because this year there are many respectable trumpeter and brass players among the massive lineup. If you ever heard about the myth that whoever plays a trumpet will get a positively amount of attractiveness up, these brass players don’t need to consume the myth at all. Especially ladies, there are many performers who gave an unforgettably sweetest weekend ever. From seducing smooth jazz, the sexy soul music, the romantic moods could be felt even before one stepped his feet inside the hall. For others, there are plenty good shows to learn from. And for those who seek up jazz entertainment, they would be fully satisfied to the max.
This 2015 edition interestingly showcased many new names. Many of them might have rarely be heard just yet, but they were artistes who really know and love their crafts, and unpatiently waited to present it to the audience here in Indonesia. And the cool gigs already happened right from the start on each day. Plenty of actions, the different jazz textures, approaches and styles were heard almost in every step. Yes, some non-jazz artists were there, but it’s fair and normal in a festival. It can actually be good for introducing jazz to the non-jazz listeners. A festival as big as this should be able to provide variety. Just like a hypermart, any attendance can choice their own poison according to their taste, and this festival provide everything in the name of jazz in particular, and music in general.
As much as we love this event, unfortunately there were some troubles occured especially hitting the media crews. Too many unclear restrictions and inconsistencies in security rules that actually create lots conflicts with our works. As for the audience, many of them were confused too since they had to walk back and forth due to bad coordination among the organizers. May things get better in the next editions.
The Java Jazz Festival 2015 has ended. What’s coming next year is still next year. But one thing for sure, if this festival still exist, many more interesting and exciting stories will again be there. Let’s hope for bigger and better one.
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 2 >> http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/java-jazz-festival-2015-day-2/
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