After the interesting first day (read the report here: http://jazzuality.com/jazz-events/ubud-village-jazz-festival-2015-day-1-report/), now we are about to tell you what’s happening on the second/final day of Ubud Village Jazz Festival 2015.
Just like last year, The Openmind Quartet was the first band to open the second day. This band consists of musicians/lecturers once studied at the Universitas Pelita Harapan Jakarta such as Michael Setiawan (grand piano), Kevin Yosua (electric bass), Reynold Banea (guitar) and Joshua Setiawan (Drums). Cool swingin’ straight ahead felt so good from this young but experienced unit, and that appeared immidiately since the first song, Chuck Loeb’s “December Dream”. They presented the fresh, traditional face of jazz that complimented the cool Ubud weather.
Animaux’s front Alex Lahey was supposed to represent the land down under, Australia. How unfortunate it was to know that Lahey failed to come because of the Mount Raung eruption. The planes from/to Bali-Australia were cancelled and she couldn’t find empty seat up until the final hours. One show had to be dissapeared. Hopefully next year she can make it into this festival.
Yesterday, two members of Jiwa Band Ito Kurdhi and Rio Sidik have already performed. Now it’s time to see another personnel, Koko Harsoe. Originally from Batu, Malang, he’s been building his career in Bali for many years. He is a fine jazz guitarist who can play modern jazz compositions perfectly, but he also knows how to bring a new sound by collaborating with exotic instruments from tabla, djembe to Aborigin’s didgeridoo.
Performing with great set of players including Astrid Sulaiman (piano), Indra Gupta (bass), Gustu Brahmanta (drum) and Pramono Abdi Pamungkas (saxophone), this time he didn’t use any traditional instruments and went fully swingin’ and boppin’ with pure jazz delights. The way he and the band plays jazz is like painting fine art on the canvas. This class act shows us that the Koko Harsoe and his team are not just a musician but an artistes. The crowds loved it too and got an encore they asked for.
The sister of Ubud Village Jazz Festival’s founder Yuri Mahatma, Dian Pratiwi once again graced this year’s party. She is truly a great female singer with jazz attached in every breath. For two years in a row she was accompanied by Uwe Plath, this year she’s on her own. Dian Pratiwi made a lovely show which showed her strong and soft side.
She played with her brother Yuri Mahatma (guitar), sister in law Astrid Sulaiman (piano), Dimas (bass) and Najib (drums). Having the assorted of jazz from wide range of choices including Ibu Sud’s famous children song “Tik Tik Tik Bunyi Hujan”, “Close Your Eyes”, “Too Close For Comfort” and Michael Jackson’s “One Day In Your Life” under the moonlight really created a vibrant colors over tropical, mystical Balinese surroundings. Well known jazz standards sang by a natural female singer with jazz being attached in each note, that’s surely a special treatment. She gave a happy show.
Apart from the action served on 3 stages, one of the highlights was a free flow wine (yes, both red and white!) for one hour, from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. This was generously given to everyone on both days. You could imagine how long the queuing line on the right side of the Giri Stage to get a glass (or more) of wine.
A guitarist with sharp swingin’ sense, a teacher who can write like a music journalist. That’s how we would describe Dion Janapria. Attained his degree in Holland and known as one of the members of Aksan Sjuman and the Committee of the Fest and Tao Kombo, this man has been giving a lot to Indonesia’s jazz scene. Recently he’s entering the solo world by releasing an independent album titled “Silver is the Color of the Blues” under a trio format. Just like in the album, he performed in trio formation, but with Kevin Yosua (contrabass) and Dezca Anugrah (drums). These talented men delivering world-class jazz compositions where swing, waltz, hardbop and blues-driven compositions either standards, Dion or Kevin’s original songs (from Kevin’s “Contradiction” and Dion’s “Silver is the Color of the Blues”) could be felt in its most natural purity. The captivating guitar play, the seductive brush sticks and stylish sound of bass from them sounded fully round and tight. The album should be taken as a masterpiece, so did the performance.
It was great to meet Ben van den Dungen again after last year. But this time Ben came with a very interesting project called Miles! This tribute to Miles Davis is the first program of the ‘Legends of Music’ series, made not only to simply play Miles’ songs but to bring us closer to Miles, more than we ever dreamed before. The great trumpeter from Netherlands, Michael Varekamp is the brain behind it. Together with Ben van den Dungen and the rest of the team, they bring timeless masterpieces from Miles Davis and songs that he’s played which could stand as Miles’ biography. “In a Silent Way”, “Blue in Green”, “Milestones”, “That’s Right”, “So What”, “Tutu” , also Cyndi Lauper’s 1983’s song” Time After Time” and Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” that Miles had covered nicely.
Miles Davis is one of the greatest jazz legends in music and cinema. He gave birth to many styles of jazz playing that later became sub-genres, he’s also known as the best jazz ‘coach’ since so many musicians actually began their career in Miles’ bands before they reached the legendary status. From John Coltrane, Jimmy Cobb, Bill Evans, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, John Scofield to Marcus Miller, these are just a few names that have tasted Davis’ magic. This Miles! project provided us time capsule to go back in time, to see, feel and hear this legendary jazz figure. It feels like watching Miles and Coltrane playing with some other big cats. Thank you Michael, Ben and the team, it was truly a beautiful project to remember for a long time.
Proud Bali son, Sandy Winarta was back gracing this festival. He is a versatile jazz drummer who has achieved everything in considerably young age. He currently continues his education in New York, but lucky for us, as he’s back home due to the summer holiday, we could see his huge contribution in this fest. Look at how busy he’s been since day 1. For his own show, Sandy brought his new school buddy in New York, saxophonist Jorge Roldan plus two compatriotes Indra Gupta (bass) and Kevin Suwandi (piano) to transfer his jazz energy to everyone coming to his show. As usual, clean, tight and efortless performance where the beauty of drum beat shone in every corner.
On Subak stage at 8:30 pm was Julian Banks Trio. Coming from Melbourne, Australia, Julian Banks Trio is a pack of long time friends, on and off stage. Julian Banks (tenor saxophone), Christopher Hale (semi acoustic bass) and James Hauptmann (drums/percussion) served modern jazz in more modern way, resulting beautiful blends of graceful tunes and rhythm. They have released on EP containing 6 tracks in 2014. The CD might be difficult to find in Indonesia, but lucky for us, we could listen directly from them at UVJF 2015. The combination of Banks’ way to stream freely through notes, the unique approach on bass by Hale and groovy beat from Hauptmann creates a wonderous musical journey. And wow, they also featured a kendang player that enriched their sound even more. Tight and clean, bold and sharp, what a package it was from these Aussie mates.
The final show belong to the showdown of Indonesia’s jazz icons, Indra Lesmana and Dewa Budjana. Indra placed his signature for the very first time in this festival, while Budjana made his second appearance after two years ago. Indra Lesmana has been moved to Bali for about a year now, and currently establishing his career there. Now he has brought back the famous Mostly Jazz to settle in Sanur, Bali, he’s still active in making songs, the latest are “Eclipse” ft Gustu Brahmanta and “Frangipani” ft Shadu Shah.
As for Dewa Budjana, this man continues to bag praises from all over the world from his albums, the latest one is the critical acclaimed “Hasta Karma”, released under MoonJune Records. His international reputation brought him to play with many other big cats from abroad. Soon in October he will collide with John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension in “Duaji Guruji”, taking place also here at Arma Ubud.
The friendship between Indra and Dewa have been going on for 30 years, in fruitful way. They have collaborated too a couple of times, the most recent ones were at Jazz Buzz Salihara 2015 and here in Bali for Indra’s Mostly Jazz. “We have been friends for that long, we compose songs together, but we never made any collaboration in recording..not until the upcoming album, set to release in next January”, said Dewa Budjana.
For this festival Indra Lesmana and Dewa Budjana brought two other reliable partners: Shadu Shah (bass), Ricad Hutapea (sax and flute) and Muhammad Rafi (drum). They played original songs composed by each or together including “Cloud of Foggy”, “Mountain of Life”, “Joged Kayangan”, “Dancing Tears”, “Erskoman” (ft Dennis Junio) among other songs. This action-packed, adrenaline rush show reached climax at the masterpiece from Indra and Dewa’s supergroup JavaJazz, “Bulan Di Asia (“Moon Over Asia)”. That’s a big WOW.
For two days straight Ubud area in Bali once again being painted by jazz colors. What we love from this annual party is the different atmosphere created by the combination of assorted pure jazz delight, strong Balinese music ambience and of course, the spiritual atmosphere of the land that can never be found else where. Just like what founder Yuri Mahatma said, this event is never created as just another jazz festival, nor that it was meant to be a nonstop rave party with too many stages. “We want to keep it elegant, small, but with quality.” he said. And this event should become a great opportunity for young Indonesian musicians to gain valuable knowledge, improve their skills and learn how to execute it in front of the crowds. The Bali Jazz Summer School as the fruit of Yuri Mahatma partnering with Ben van den Dungen, the initiator of The Jazz Summer School in Korea-Netherlands who became an integrated part of this event provides that. A festival with character, that’s the point. And so far we do see it.
Co founder Anom Darsana once said, “Our talented young Indonesian artists are the key to the development and future existence of Jazz in Indonesia.” Based on this perspective, the Festival aims to provide important cross-cultural and networking opportunities between International and local jazz musicians and will showcase established and emerging musicians. That’s also valuable in we want to see a healthy jazz movement here in Indonesia especially in Bali. Ubud Village Jazz Festival wasn’t made just overseas players-oriented, but the local and national talents got fair portion too, both in numbers and in the playing spot distribution. This year once again We saw a good percentage of well experienced players and the young lions. The cross-nation collaborations took place in many shows, which can be a miniature of the united world of jazz that we wish for.
We would love to see new artists joining in next year. There are thousands of good jazz musicians around the nation, and surely there are many international musicians wish to be a part of it. Of course, the local jazz artists have to be accomodated too. We think that’s the important homework to make this festival run healthily.
Jazz doesn’t belong only in Jakarta and other big cities in Java anymore. Jazz has been spread wider than we have ever imagined, and surely it now has a reliable home in Bali. Today tourists don’t go to Bali just to enjoy their holiday but also to enjoy a different atmosphere of jazz fest. Thank you Ubud Village Jazz Festival, kudos to founders, commitees, performers, partners, supporters, audiences and everyone involved, and thank you for your hospitality and great service towards us. Look forward to see you again next year. Long live Ubud Village Jazz Festival!
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