Djarum Super Mild Jazz Traffic Festival 2012: The Report



Once again an annual music event was held by Suara Surabaya (SS) in November 24th, 2012. This is the second Djarum Super Mild Jazz Traffic Festival  in Surabaya and it was made even greater than last year. What did make this year’s installment more special and outstanding? The better arrangement and bigger batch of lineup were the reason. This time Djarum Super Mild Jazz Traffic Festival 2012 offered more various jazz musicians which made it more interesting, the program was much better, and it also engaged international jazz artist. The process until it becomes an annual event was a good story where it reinforces Surabaya as a potential place for jazz event. We can see the brand title of Jazz Traffic itself is already strongly attached to jazz lover especially among the listeners of Jazz Traffic radio program in SS, the communities of jazz listener are increased, and also the music itself continuously grows broad. Probably these cases can signify the resurgence jazz in Surabaya and Djarum Super mild saw the opportunity, voila! It transformed into a massive Jazz Traffic Festival.

This year Jazz Traffic Festival really maximized the space and time so that the visitors would be satisfied. The gig started at 12 pm. until around 12 am. The committee provided three stages which are Convention Hall on third floor (indoor), Exhibition Hall on ground floor (indoor), and at the parking lot (outdoor). The society gave marvelous responses and really showed their excitement by crowding those three stages and get lost in the jazzy tunes. The setting of the stage indeed gave as much freedom as it could for the audience because it was structured in parallel, so the visitors could choose which stage they wanted to watch. JTF 2012 supplied jazz with its variety; they showed many genres we could enjoy such as fusion, ethnic jazz, and acid jazz, also the pure or mainstream one; those styles surely gave fresh air into Surabaya which had 34 degree Celsius at that time and cooled down the jazz lovers who already came to the venue in the afternoon.

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Hoping you all get enough description about the venue and the situation in Jazz Traffic Festival 2012, now let’s hopped into the object of this event, list of the fantastic bands.  As the opening, we got Surabaya All Stars which consists of FX Boy on alto saxophone, Totok Afiat on bass, Tri Wijayanto on guitar, Muhammad on drum, Iwan Santoso on keyboard, Dodi on trumpet, Luluk on trombone, Syaifl on tenor saxophone, Ruland on percussion, Yunita, Kiki, and also Seno on vocal. They all are the students of the late Bubi Chen who was a jazz maestro from this particular city. For the play they had 5 beautiful compositions which were instrumental “Doctor Makumba”, “It’s Alright”, “Soul as Caital”, “Shaker Song”, and “Give Me the Night”. Their performance gathered the people who were in Exhibition Hall Grand City Surabaya lobby together into the Convention Hall to saw them on stage. FX Boy who is also the manager of Surabaya All Stars said that this band which was created in 2007 really enjoyed being the opening of Super Mild Traffic Jazz Festival 2012. This is their second time to be invited. He added, “Since Jazz Traffic Festival last year, we keep observing that jazz enthusiasm in Surabaya increases. This is very good and we hope we can include as one of that phenomenon”. For the next edition hopefully in 2013, FX Boy put out his dream that more and more Surabaya’s jazz musicians can participate this event, the more the merrier. “Surabaya has a lot of great jazz musicians for sure. We expect them to perform next year.” He said. [flickr id=”8234717004″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”center”]


Meanwhile, in outdoor venue, some local jazz musician were there showing their best play and entertaining the crowd. One of them is Gondo N Friends which is from Surabaya and led by Yohanes Gondo. They are well-known for the consistency in playing mainstream trio and had already performed in several national jazz events in Indonesia. Although they played in outdoor stage, their smooth jazz tunes could cover up the parking lot from the hot weather and gave cool sensation. Not just that, Yohanes Gondo as pianist, Ahot Frederiko as bassist, and Dhanny Ugik Wahyu as drummer successfully made their audience shook and clapped their hands along the music. More than six epic jazz arrangements they nicely brought on stage plus collaboration with Natasha, a student from Malang with her significant yet special jazzy voice. “Thank you for the opportunity is given for us, Gondo N Friends, so this year becomes our second time playing in Jazz Traffic Festival.” Gondo said as he closed their performance.

[flickr id=”8234722910″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”] Beside Gondo N Friends, the festival also had Korek Jazz Club within the list as their local artist. Their name is an abbreviation for Komunitas Arek Jazz which is a community for jazz lovers in Surabaya. Furthermore, their participation in Jazz Traffic Festival 2012 proved the concern of committee toward the existence of jazz community in Surabaya. As the real act, they gave space for them to play in this event.  So there they were, making up another cool participation after last year. It was still early, yet the heat was on already from these local jazz artists.

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[flickr id=”8233669905″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”right”] Many new things and concept of Jazz Traffic Festival this year, lots of fresh musicians, more massive stage, and the whole package was just a complete entertainment. However, there is one thing still missing [flickr id=”8234733648″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”] among the happiness and excitement if compared with the 2011 edition; Bubi Chen, the jazz legend from Surabaya was gone. For keeping his big name and long last musical work in our heart and mind, Remembering Bubi Chen took their part in Hall B Convention Hall which put Sandy Winarta Quartet and Sierra Soetedjo together in one stage.  Sandy Winarta Quartet consists of Sandy Winarta on drum, the young but world class pianist Ade Irawan, Doni Sundjoyo on bass, and Johanes Radianto on guitar; they served magical compositions of Bubi Chen. Moreover, there was a song called “Funky Mama”, an unrecorded composition by Bubi Chen that played on stage by Sandy Winarta Quartet because they were able to get the repertoire while rehearsing with Bubi Chen. What a precious legacy! Remembering Bubi Chen shone more with the performance by Sierra Soetedjo as vocalist and sang several Bubi Chen’s compositions. In her floral pattern dress, we cannot ignore but stared at her dazzling style on stage while sang “Frog Walk”, “Autumn Leaves”, and other wonderful compositions which were specially prepared for Remembering Bubi Chen. Sierra who had studied in WAAPA (Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts) successfully made the audience enjoyed her jazzy vocal in awe.

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Many special things and experiences happened in this event. One occurred in Stage B Indoor Exhibiton Hall by Endah N Rhesa who had their second time in this Surabaya’s big jazz party. Among their 8 songlist, “Perfect Afternoon” was an extraordinary one; it was a tribute for their third wedding anniversary later in December 2012. In press conference Endah said, “That song is a new download-able one; we rarely sing it on stage but here at this very event we play it for the very first time, and you can grab in our website freely”. For this unique yet loveable couple, Jazz Traffic Festival 2012 in Surabaya could be a barometer for the growth of jazz. It was proven by society’s high appreciation for musician yet the event, and also their rich knowledge of music. Endah N Rhesa admitted they have learned a lot from many other experienced jazz musician and considered this JTF was high-level enough because had many famous jazz artist on its list. For example, there were Benny Likumahuwa, Jeffrey Tahalele and Oele Pattiselano, even in previous event, Bubi Chen could performed and enlivened this biggest jazz event in Surabaya.

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The sun gone, the moon came. The night replaced the noon. Meanwhile, the crowd grew bigger and the line of people was seen as they tried to get the best spot near the stage. In Convention Hall stage, Bertha, an outstanding jazz vocalist/vocal teacher in Indonesia, performed attractively on stage. She was very interactive by asking the audience to sing along with her in “Fallin”. In the middle of her act, Bertha stated, “I don’t understand what jazz is, but I can feel jazz is like home. Jazz is a steady place to come back anytime. Come home after many activities outside, come back to our own selves. Nothing is wrong with our individual perception. Jazz is the way it is, jazz is a home.” Along with Bali Kanelop Band (Koko Harsoe) from the Island of Gods, communicative situation was created by Bertha through Fallin’s compositions. Once in a while the crowd sang along and clapped their hand following the tunes. Bertha also brought up “Kasih Ibu” which was changed differently into a smooth jazz by Kanelop. “Thank you Surabaya, thank you Jazz Traffic.”, said bertha as she closed their performance.

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Jazz Traffic Festival 2012 promised to point out jazz band with funkier nuance and more pop, and one of group who had pop jazz in their sound level is Abdul and the Coffee Theory. From Exhibition Hall stage Grand City Surabaya, Tengku Muhammad Abdullah Amin Anshari, or known as Abdul on vocal, together with Andrey Chiling on drum, Ono on keyboard, and Riza on bass favorably entertained the crowd for one hour. Special thing about them is cheerful yet loveable arrangement and lyrics. Hits like “Beauty is you”, “Happy Ending”  and “Lagi-Lagi Kamu”, were sang by Abdul with his unusual yet unique vocal characteristic. “Bersandinglah” and “Loveable” were also showed their talented musicality.

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[flickr id=”8233643759″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”right”] While Shine on Blues poured their authentic blues soul at the outdoor parking area, there is a particular collaboration in this grand jazz fest that involved Oele Pattiselano, Jeffrey Tahalele, Benny Likumahuwa, featuring Monita Tahalea, they are Amboina. Ambon is popular as a place where many big jazz musicians come from, and it inspired them to create this band. Benny Likumahuwa, a senior musician, said they spent three hours to prepare the performance in JTF 2012. “We have thirty minutes for practicing, the rest 2.5 hours for talking and yawning.” joked Benny when he was asked about the preparation in working together with Monita. Benny realized that Amboina Jazz consists of senior musicians who already entered musical field for such a long time. Therefore, they felt it was important to involve Monita as young generation representative. The key of enchanting collaboration between those different generations was mingled as often as they could to unite their perception in music. Monita claimed that she was proud as well; she was so happy could be on one stage together with such national-class musicians. She also admitted the nervousness she felt while they rehearsing. “I was asked to sing anything I can that they know too. I was confused.” said Monita to the press in conference after their session. In one moment, Benny stated that now, a lot of young musicians spoiled by digital era where record can be done per syllable with low quality. “Nowadays, they (young musicians) can perform on stage three months maximum but with lots of fee. Previously, recording phase just like live show, when you did it wrong, you should repeat it once more.” Benny said. Oele Pattiselano gave his opinion also about JTF. He hoped that this event did not have high spirit just at the beginning years then disappeared but he wanted to see the leveling progress each year for better JTF. Above all, Surabaya society had already given their big appreciation for the musicians who performed in JTF 2012. “So, this event should be going on and on”, he said.

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On the other side Yovie and Nuno prepared his performance with more pop music that could bring people together in Exhibiton Hall. This proved the fact that Yovie and Nuno still exist with his own character among various genre nowadays. In previous press conference, Yovie asserted that Indonesian music with all its musical wealth could beat up Korean music which was so popular now. He said, “Actually Indonesia is able to be more success than Korea. Reog Ponorogo definitely can outdo Gangnam Style”. If usually we got Yovie Widianto pour his real jazz self through Yovie Widianto Fusion (YWF), [flickr id=”8234707872″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”] this time Suara Surabaya thought of having something different by bringing Yovie and Nuno to fill up the slot. It was the first time we saw Yovie and Nuno in a jazz festival, but nonetheless they did a remarkable job in full of joy.

At the same time a band coming all the way from Saung Angklung Udjo Bandung, Babendjo showed their remarkable musicality by using the traditional bamboo-made instruments along with the modern instruments. We saw them last time at the Espose 2011, now we met them again spicing up the jazz festival in Surabaya.

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Toninho Horta is an international musician which magnetically attracted people to come to Jazz Traffic Festival 2012.  Antonio Mauricio Horta De Melo, the complete name of Latin jazz maestro Toninho Horta played in Convention [flickr id=”8233649055″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”right”] Hall along with Dwiki Dharmawan and Sierra Soetedjo. Sandy Winarta again joined this session with his cool drumming. Although he is not so familiar among jazz lover in Indonesia but Toninho has his own place among Brazilian and American. He has uncommon way in playing music, original, and the harmonization is over the top; with all these competence, he started his debut as professional musician together with vocalist of Milton Nascimento. After that, Toninho often involves work together with Brazilian famous artists in their album. Sergio Mendes was one of big artist who he had worked with. In his stage where lighting really focused on him, Toninho’s acoustic guitar play totally hypnotized the crowd in Convention Hall. Before this we had seen him in other huge jazz festivals such as Ngayogjazz 2012 and Jazz Goes to Campus 2012 in just about a week schedule. Pretty busy he should be, but actually he came exactly right on time where he could be involved in three big festivals in just one visit. Hope to see him again in the near future, since his originality, genuine and spontaneous music style create one solid irrisistable package.

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[flickr id=”8233656331″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”] This time the stage act of Tohpati Bertiga (Tohpati on guitar, Indro Hardjodikoro on bass and Bowie on drums) with their unbeatably challenging instrumental songs or Idang Rasjidi which was more mainstream in Jazz Traffic Festival 2012 got warm yet satisfied responses from their own fans. While Tohpati Bertiga kept their fans on the edge of their seats with their funky rockin’ songs, the formula that actually brought them success internationally by being distributed all over the world by MoonJune Records, Idang Rasjidi as usual showed why he was more than just a senior jazz artist. Truly entertaining, full with spontaneity, Idang Rasjidi just never failed to make us picture him as a true entertainer. What a lovely package it was.

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Meanwhile, in Exhibiton Hall, the flocks already stood still in their lines and waited Maliq & D’Essentials to get on stage. Although they performed many times in Surabaya but their play still worth to wait because they always served something new. With all black as they elegant dresscode for that night, Maliq & D’Essentials which was formed in 2002, entertained their lovers with collaboration accompanying by Billy on beatbox. Several hits were played and absolutely the crowd sang along with them. In the middle, Angga as vocalist said that they are in progress preparing the fifth album which will be more independent in production phase. Youtube is going to be their promotion medium.

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Jazz ethnic is one of the genres included in this festival, brought by a super group of three. A special show came from Kayon, a music group which has Pra Budidharma on bass, Indra Lesmana on keyboard, and Gilang Ramadhan on drum as its personnel.  Kayon is also known as P.I.G as the abbreviation of the personnel; they become a guarantee of classy performance. Moreover, there is one big name within this grup, Indra Lesmana, who already played twice in this festival (last year with LLW). The concept of free jazz music with ethnic touch becomes special quality from this band and it gives us uncommon stage act. They absorb the specialty of Indonesia’s ethnic region music in variety then blend it epically into a stable music harmony. The jazz compositions from them are played great with piano solo action from Indra, the beat of the Gilang’s drum and plucking from Pra’s bass united very well and sounded glorious. Imagine how they created a surrealistic atmosphere of ethnic by using modern instruments. Some of the listeners suddenly stunned with their tremendously performance.

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[flickr id=”8234710762″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”right”] In outdoor, the situation became merrier as the night came by. Besides, there were attractions from circus clown added up the festive mood. Some of the artist with international background also took their parts in this 2012 edition. Unforgetflly mentioned Penta Boyz featuring Delia who we used to know as the vocalist of Ecoutez!, G-Pluck Beatles, Calvin Jeremy, and Extra Large Band which were already familiar in most youngster ears.  Having energetic lineups in variety like this which consist of fired-up creative young performers showed the good regeneration of jazz as well as giving a perfect showcase of young lions to the audience in Surabaya.

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In addition, Gugun Blues Shelter which won Hard Rock’s Global Battle of the Bands 2011 joined to slam the stage. For their performance, not only attracted the jazz lover, but also audience with rock t-shirt. The blues surely could clutch the listener’s range of jazz and rock genre. When their hits like “White Dog”, “Shelter Whiskey”, and the number one “Set My Soul on Fire” were heard, suddenly the cheers and applauses covered up the area.

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[flickr id=”8233663153″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”] Besides Gugun Blues Shelter, Nita Aartsen did really well on stage by collaborating with the communicative Rieka Roslan. On her side she brought solid team including bassist Adi Darmawan, drummer Sandy Winarta and senior kendang player Jalu G Praditina. These heavily experienced team successfully entertained the audience with their package. Backed by cool lighting in the indoor stage, they shone bright along with the compositions and interactive performance. No wonder they gained huge applauses from their audience.

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Barry Likumahuwa Project (BLP) which has a lot of young fans already had their songlist included instrumental songs from first album, Good Spell, and Generasi Synergy. BLP’s stage was lux and had great lighting colored up their play consisted of “Mati Saja”, and “Saat Kau Milikku” which were arranged so groovy with Barry’s tremendous bass solo.  The communicative Barry invited his dad, Benny Likumahuwa, to play his trombone and show “Call Response”. It was so passionate when Monita Tahalea then joined the stage too and jammed with BLP. What a pleasant surprise!

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The clock showed its hands at midnight when another special show, Sandhy Sondoro, in Convention Hall hit the stage. As we know, this man could show his low-profile in elegant. Sandhy got on stage with white shirt and blue scarf, [flickr id=”8233665413″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”right”] and of course his guitar. He played “End of Rainvow”, Chrisye’s popular “Anak Jalanan”, and his hits “Malam Biru” which got outstanding reaction from the folks. This International Contest of Young Pop Singer winner in Latvia became the last performer in Jazz Traffic Festival 2012.

So pleasing to enjoy such a classy gig in Surabaya and it was wonderful to see jazz in its way back into lifestyle of Surabaya society. With this kind of success, we can be sure to see the upcoming editions in the following years with even bigger, better and ‘badder’. What’s important for you, all jazz/music lovers in Surabaya is to support this kind of festival, that if you want to see more jazz festivals in your city. Well done Djarum Super Mild Jazz Traffic Festival 2012, keep the great work and we surely hope to see you again next year!

See more pictures:

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Reporter: Apey Idris, Shinta Soebijandono, Destina Kawanti
Photographer: Arifitra Ekomukti, Pramadi Wardhana
Translated into English by: Mellysa Anastasya


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