Last Thursday night was indeed a magical night. Located at GoetheHaus, Menteng, Jakarta, another edition of Serambi Jazz was launched. Following the success of previous series, Ligro Trio and Donny Suhendra Project (February 2009), Florian Ross Trio (April 2009) and Akordeon and Indra Aziz Beatbop Project with Riza Arshad (June 2009), this edition filled two groups, or if I may say, super groups, because each and every one of the personnel in these groups has established themselves individually as successful musicians. These two groups were The Sarimanouk Quartet and Tao Kombo Collective Messkeepers.
Serambi Jazz means quality. As a concept came from Frank Werner, the head of GoetheHaus’ Cultural Program of South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand and has Riza Arshad as the curator, the man behind the Serambi Jazz wheel, this two monthly events have always been presented in such high standard. They carefully picked the lineups based on their skill, quality and their commitment to Indonesian jazz development. (Check out the interview with Riza Arshad and Indra Aziz here) As Serambi Jazz established as a cultural partnership between Indonesia and Germany, it’s also important to say that this event should appear as a mutual relationship both for Indonesian and Germany jazz world. Through Serambi Jazz we have seen highly talented and skillful Germany musicians, we got the chance to see how jazz is going on in this part of Europe. The same thing for Indonesian musicians too. Hopefully through Serambi Jazz, we can introduce our talented jazz musicians to the world.
This concert started exactly at 07:30 PM, first with The Sarimanouk Quartet. Sarimanouk Quartet is a very interesting group with historical values. Picking the name of a ship that once carried Indonesian immigrants on a journey across the sea to reach Madagascar several centuries ago as the name of the band, Sarimanouk Quartet has the same vision, exploring bravely on the adventurous side of musical journey. The leader of this group also came from Madagascar. Talafaral, the saxophonist, pianist and composer blends in with Indonesian fellows, representing the harmonious connection between the culture of both nation. Talafaral accompanies by bassist Donny Sundjoyo, who later also played for Tao Kombo, pianist with magic touch Julian Abraham Marantika and the rising young drummer from Bali, Sandy Winarta. Together they combined their styles and visions, collaborating harmoniously serving modern jazz style that deeply rooted on Post Bop style. They started with “Getting There”, the song with cool tempo and really suited well as the opening. This song was a perfect mood setter to follow the rest of this concert. Talafaral and friends continued with “Reunion #3” which opened by a tasty syncopative melodies. “Time For Change” was another explorative composition again in cool and steady tempo. This song continued with “Meno’s Mood”, a song that has magical nuances that brought the audience to enter a dark and mysterious journey. Then Sarimanouk Quartet continued with “Little Bossa”, “Request”, the funky “Funkline” and closed their performance with the light adult contemporary-based “Greenhouse”.
Through their performance, we could clearly see that Talafaral was the main man. His saxophone play led the songs dominantly. He was also very communicative to the audience. He often threw jokes and made us laugh. Overall, they gave a high quality performance. Fresh, funky, smooth, aggresive, explorative, you name it. It was really entertaining!
Denny Sakrie, the MC for this August edition of Serambi Jazz then introduced Tao Kombo Collective Messkeepers. This group consists of 5 highly experienced personnel. Check this out. First, the amazing French-born percussionist, Philippe Ciminato. He is a specialist of the tradition of Western Africa, Brazilian and Afro Cuban styles. Often he mixed them altogether presenting a wonderful rhyhtm. He’s been playing all over the world, from Carribean Islands, Europe, Africa, China, Australia to South East Asia. Collaborating with many jazz great through his career has shaped him as a standout world-acclaimed percussionist. Next, Rayendra Sunito. He is one of the top drummer in Indonesia today. His ability has helped the success of many groups and singers such as Parkdrive, Sister Duke, Bazzattack, Rieka Roeslan, Humania, Souleh & Souleha, and Glenn Fredly Band. Now he joinsTao Kombo and gives this group a new taste with his style. Dionysus Janapria is a fine guitarist graduated from Utrecht, Nederland. He has performed at 2004 North Sea Jazz Festival, and now active as guitar instructor in several music schools, besides also actively playing in many ensembles and projects. Ali Akbar Sugiri, that is mostly known as the keyboardist of an acid jazz/pop-dance oriented “The Groove”. Not only as a keyboardist, he’s also a successful arranger and music producer. Last but not least, the busiest musician for the night, Donny Sundjoyo. Still quite young, but he is already full of experience.
The name Tao Kombo is taken from an Indonesian Sasak Tribe language means “The Place of Young Coconuts”. Tao Kombo is also a band that is inspired by Taoism philosophy, where all the “Elements of Nature” join in giving a chance to celebrate human life in harmony. What this band serves is a combination between latin rhythm, free jazz, fusion and also rock, presenting a new concept of music, unlike what we have ever listened. All these combinations enrich their music. All the musicians has their own styles, but still they packed as one harmoniously when they played together. Philippe with his mystical percussion shots adds delicious ethnical approach into this quintet. That night Philippe and friends brought 5 songs that stunned each and every audience at GoetheHaus. They started strong with “Nomad’s Ride” that soon followed by “SWitch On”. Dion’s roaring and rockin’ stlye with his wild guitar distortion was clearly felt in the next song, “Golden Mask”. Golden Mask appeared as a tremendous composition that felt dark, mysterious and mystical. the cool “Harvey’s Blue” came after that, and they closed their session with the song based on vintage samba/latin, “POI”.
It was a wonderful show. After the concert ended, I greeted Riza Arshad and Philippe Ciminato. Philippe told us why he’s been staying mostly in Indonesia recently. He said that the atmosphere of the musicians world in Indonesia, especially jazz musicians, is very warm, unlike the atmosphere found abroad. The rivalry is not healthy out there he said. Not only Philippe, but many international musicians feel that too. At the previous Java Jazz, some international musicians envied him for staying in Indonesia. He also consistantly promoting Indonesia as a peaceful and friendly country. “It’s a beautiful country and really nice to live in..” Philippe said. “Besides that, all the jazz musicians live in harmony and very friendly to each other” he continued. Philippe took time to send a message to the medias. Don’t focus too much only at the market-friendly music. Jazz in Indonesia is also important and deserve a chance to be announced, because jazz can, and always be the ambassador to promote Indonesian culture to the world. Once again, the August edition of Serambi Jazz was indeed a well-prepared show with quality. Our thanks and best regards to GoetheHaus, Riza Arshad, all the musicians and everybody behind Serambi Jazz for all your efforts to make this important events keep running on schedule. In two months from now we will have a fine jazz pianist from Germany, Henning Sieverts to perform at the next Serambi Jazz edition. Until then, let’s keep jazzin’ up our life. See you at the next Serambi Jazz!
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Editor: Riandy Kurniawan