The New Touch of David Manuhutu: The Report


Thirsty for jazz? Yearning for ear catchy melody come upon piano tunes? Chill fellas, another concert happened in this town. Here, Bandung is served by a young pianist brings great skill even in international scale. On this Wednesday night a talented young pianist, David Manuhutu presented a concert “The New Touch of David Manuhutu” in Bumi Sangkuriang as a special ‘return-home’ present to all jazz lovers in Bandung.

This time, we are allowed to see a stunning stage act in the name of proving and implementing a value of life from David Manuhutu himself. Other than that, of course this became our chance to see how much he’s been improving after digging the knowledge from the school of legends, the Berklee college of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. His essential talent shines brighter as time goes by, started from conducting his experience in piano since he was 5 years old with super support from his parent, Vence Manuhutu, who also known as a senior guitarist and the founder of well-established music school in Bandung, the Venche Music School (VMS). Like father like son, David is shaped to be the next maestro in piano. He was already played in top squared circle since his teenage years- that includes playing with big stars and legends- , then everything became even better for him since he got a golden chance to study at the famous Berklee College of Music under a scholarship.

In Berklee he continued to shine. His talent shone bright as he’s been earning Dean’s list award every semester as a result of his great GPAs which are always above 3.4. In summer 2011 David had his first great musical experience in college by being taught by Joanne Brackeen. In hiatus, he joined a workshop with Danilo Perez who is a contemporary pianists and jazz composers. In fall 2012 David took a workshop with Aaron Goldberg in Berklee and he was being recommended to learn from Goldberg’s instructor, Stephany Tiernan. Still at the same year he got many experiences because of hard work and maximal effort in developing his talent. As in spring, David did not only play in the last session at an obligatory concert but also got a chance to learn from a Jim Hall’s saxophonist named Grek Osby in spring.  Different story he got in summer, David once again blessed by having a private lesson with Shannon Leclaire, the assistant of David Baker, a symphonic jazz composer. In addition, David was (again) being recommended to study with Roy Hargrove’s instructor Hall Crook in the next semester. All these experiences will be highly valuable not only to David himself but also to the Indonesian jazz scene. take part in jazz movement in the world. It is such a rare opportunity and moment that he had to embrace and utilize in developing his skill from time to time, stage by stage.

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In his free leisure time break from his study activity in Berklee College of Music, David wanted to meet us all, the jazz fans by presenting a warm concert through this event. A moment to share his improving ability, skill and all his knowledge to the audience in a full package performance together with fellow musicians such as the Rising Star prize from Jazz Goes to Campus 2011 award holder Indra Dauna on trumpet, a straight-ahead bassist graduated from Konijnklijk Conservatorium of the Hague Indrawan Tjhin, Elfa Zulham, a Bachelor of Jazz from The Prins Claus Conservatory, Groningen on drum and our lovely raising star with great crooning style, Tulus.

Seeing the names above surely made us put a high expectation about this event. All experts in each instrument in one stage under the line of David Manuhutu himself gave such a blast in their setlist to tell Bandung and the world that Indonesia has its own part in having specialist talented musician in genre. Proud more it will be, remembering David Manuhutu is currently 20 and has been showing his power in music scene.

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Last Sunday at the Sunday Jazz @ Plate For Me David showed up and gave us a teaser before this very show. Still the humble, polite and shy David that we knew, but when he’s up on stage he became someone new. His proud father watched from the left side and told us that David’s rhythm, selection of streaming notes while improvising and most of all, his emotional control have [flickr id=”8026726230″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”right”] been improved much. He played joyfully as he kept smiling during the play (Read our report here: Still in his 20 year of age, still less than years in Berklee, but the wonderkid has already emerged as an amazing world-class pianist.

Think of how lucky we are in Bandung to have this opportunity. Many jazz lovers seemed to realize that too, as the hall was filled with hundreds of audience even before the show started. A song entitled “Fit and Proper Test” bopped up the hype of the audience ellegantly David introduced the players and stated how happy he was to play this night before they carried on with another  “It Could Happen to You”.  Like the first song, Indra Dauna danced his horn away while the rest of players did great according to their roles. All the jazz manouvers throughout these two songs made them bagged loads of cheerful applause from the audience.

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In the third song they surprised everyone since they brought Sundanese folksong “Bubuy Bulan” in glittery bebop style where a part of  ‘open dialogues’ between Indrawan Tjhin’s contrabass and David Manuhutu’s piano occured.  They made it so unique as if it was a classy bebop composition dipped in pentatonic scales. Mystical, magical, enchantingly different. What a beauty! [flickr id=”8026735109″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”right”] Glimpse of  Grand swing served high with Indra Dauna as saxophonist. Composition of straight ahead with addition of little latin surely hypnotize the audience, made us want to tap our feet and nod the head through the “Owe”.

Tulus, our fabulous crooner stood on the stage after silent break wrapped by chitchat. A song entitled “All of Me” then followed by the song after “More Than You Know” really stole crowds’ attention. A package of very melancholic nuance and slow tunes come into the air by only himself and David. His power in croon-singing was obviously conclude the duo. Standing applause echoing all over the venue, all only for the sake of this top-notch duo performance. Bravo! Bluesy gospel with Indra Dauna closing the setlist with the song entitled “Bring It on Home to Me”. Epic closing was presented as David and Indra did some jamming sessions on the stage, in order doing the favor from some audience who were wanting for encore tonight.

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Eventhough we know that he could already play great, he said that studying in Berklee gives him more knowledge and style-shaping in technique of playing piano. It is cool not to stop learning, even experience and experiment can be in the same row, holding the role as the tutor in the learning path way.

Such a marvelous jazz treatment we must say, the pleasure went far above the roof. The much improved David Manuhutu showed the new him along with the new touch, backed by other great young talents supporting him fully. We used to call him wonderkid before when he was still a teenager. He might not be a kid anymore, but for sure he’s still a wonder. If David can play as good as this right now, we can’t imagine how will he become when he graduates several years later. A pure jazz delight like this always gives a different feeling, it’s difficult to tell you how much we loved it. Since David will be here at least until December, there’s a chance that we might catch more of his gigs. Congratulation David, welcome home and thank you for presenting us this show. Also thanks to Indrawan Tjhin, Indra Dauna, Elfa Zulham and Tulus for unbelievable plays. Some of our readers from Jakarta are asking for this show, so maybe you all should consider launching it there as well. And we recommend it too, because it was that darn good!

See more pictures:

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Reporter: Mellysa Anastasya Legi, Ghea Sagita, Riandy Kurniawan, Adott Jumbo
Photographer: Dwi Ratri Utomo


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