Braga Jazz and Jamz #1 : The Report

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Braga is a ‘fusion’ street. Why? Because the street combines so many different elements altogether at once. It can remind you of the vintage scene of Europe without losing the traditional characteristic of Bandung. So when you walk there, you can feel like entering the mid-zone between Paris in the 20’s and modern West Javanese atmosphere. Speaking of people, it’s fusion too. You can find tourists, locals, families, even the hipsters who like to use this street as a meeting or hangout point. So the character of this historical, old yet modern small street is unique.

When Jazzuality.com came to an agreement with Braga CityWalk to create a jazz scenery inside, we have to think about all these stuffs. We want to make something where West and East meet, the jazz should be able to cover the Western style and at the same time upholds the traditional ethnomusicology. That said, by also focusing on the jazz regeneration. We want to provide more space for the newcomers or the still learning students to be able to absorb the real experience with real audience. Just as the Braga CityWalk’s done with their renovation, the logo changing and new concept, we jumped in to add some jazz colors onto its palette.

Calling it simply as Braga Jazz & Jamz shows our intensions, conceptually speaking. We present showcases and also open jam sessions to whoever wish to join. The premiere edition featured 3 bands with assorted jazz tone, ranging from standard, fusion, groovy pop to some traditional music ambience, all played by potential young jazz activists. Since Braga is somehow also has traces of blues, we brought a blues trio too in this edition, Firewire Blues.

 

This blues band took the first run. Right after the funny MC Ario Fahmi Muhammad and Alia Putri Syahbaniar threw fresh opening lines, Firewire Blues opened up the jazzy road with rebelious, edgy but honest move. Galura Wirayudanto (Danto) in front gave not just a good show with his electrifying blues guitar touch and voice but also some cool stage act. The other two, drummer Bagus Luthfy and bassist Muhammad Putra Tama executed their role well too. Songs such as Jimi Hendrix “Little Wing”, Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Pride and Joy”, Hoochie Coochie Man”, “Bold as Love” and a fine reinterpretation of Cannonball Adderley’s “Work Song” which was given hand in hand with “Testify” and “Rude Mood” appeared sharp from them. Oh yeah, let’s not forget how bold they were in rockin’ and rollin’ with Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode”, offering us a trip to the glorious past.

A rockin’ blues band in a jazz event? Why not. No matter how much we love jazz, we should always remember that there wouldn’t be any jazz at all if there was no blues. Blues is the roots of all modern musics. If you’re a musician, you’d surely know how important it is to know blues if you want to be good in jazz. Other than that, we always want to extend friendship to every music zones. We always believe that unity never fails to create magic. Back to Firewire Blues, good job, guys! Stay true to your bluesy heart, because surely you know how to rock it.

 

Next was the young lady with five-star jazzy vibe inside her throat. It’s Puspallia Panggabean, or called jus Puspall by her friends. We have been wanting to feature her at our event in Festival Citylink but she can’t do it if it’s on Tuesday due to her regular gig schedule. Since this event was held on Friday, finally we could have her with.

For this session we planned to pair her with Abank Iman Brata and Ade Sulaiman Kramadibrata. But the two musicians cancelled their presentation We at the last minute. Luckily we have Deo Karmawan, an Indonesian musician at heart who’s currently pursuing his career in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. If you somehow wonder, he’s the band leader of Tilu, a Malaysian based band. Since he came back home for Java Jazz Festival and is still in Bandung, we thought it’s best to pair him with Puspall for the very first time. Oh yeah, Deo is actually also one of our reporters. It happened, but you have to know that they just met just an hour before their show. Amazingly they instantly ‘clicked’. The chemistry was built just as if they have known each other for life.

They started with The Beatles’ “Something” and then carried on with “Tonight You Belong to Me”. There’s a funny story about this one. In the world of millions of songs, what are the odds of them having a common special favorite? But this song really is their favorite. They went bossa with Jobim’s “Meditation” and then moved to modern with JT’s “Mirror”. For the final song, they gained loud applause and cheers for nailing Beyonce’s “Love on Top.” The signature modulation was done spontaneously on stage; not just once or two, but five! It was an intense climax.

You’ll know when a pairing works if the people inside dissolve just perfectly, so perfectly that you can’t trace them in person anymore. That’s how it was. They were full of joy while playing, it was strongly felt by us. We just don’t know how they think, but for us, this duo should carry on for more! We don’t even care that they pursue their career in separate country.

 

For the last meal we gave an ensemble that has a fun point in the percussion section. Tight rhythm, dope arrangement and vicious execution became an evident that they are well rehearsed, which is very respectful for any band. It was a group previously known as iPad but recently changed their name to Mahesvara. The team comprises of 8 university students who have been friends since the high school: Srikandi (vocal/tambourine/percussion), Romi (guitar), Gani (bass), and three high octane girls Hanna (percussion) and Sarah (kendang) and Riska (drums). We liked their performance as one of the contestants of Kampoeng Jazz Band Audition. We smell potential from these brave, young cats who dare to melt some Sundanese ethnic music into their canvas.

A quite shocking opening with “Janger” caught the attention of everyone. They smartly took “Mojang Priangan” in Sundanese traditional served modern. How many band played Chrisye’s “Cintaku” and then served burning final with “Ekspresi”, where they included action packed stage act. Nice!

These young folks could serve a party. The familiar songs, the percussion action, neat unison, creativity, the happy faces while playing, all were caught during this final session. Combining the modern music while at the same time preserving the traditional music is something beautiful from them that we should give respect. We know they can give more surprise, let’s wait what they have in store next.

 

Jam Session took place right after that. Some young musicians already brought their gears and directly jumped into the joyous jazz pool. The MURI (Museum Record of Indonesia) holder for playing 18 music instruments in one show Ray Martosono who was coincidentally there joined in, so did the keyboardist and bassist of Penguin and Friends: Zulfikar Azhar and  Farhan Faikar, Hajar (guitar) and Sarah Wazir, an ex Indonesian Idol contestant who was also there by chance. Puspall and Deo took part as well. This time Deo filled in the drums since there were no drummers ready for it. Erick Gabe did a cool mouth trumpet trading with Danto’s harmonica playing. Since there were many to jam, the show has to be extended for at least half an hour more. We loved it!

 

Inside a newly renovated, classy gallery-like hall, we have successfully add the jazz paint. Different place, different atmosphere, different spirit. The atmosphere and spirit of this new jazzy ground zero is just awesome. After this launching, we will think of what to cook for the next edition, but one thing for sure, the ambience and the response were just lovely. For that, we thanks the attending audience. You’re so swag! Also kudos to all performing bands and the jam participants. We love the result, hopefully the audience do too. We’ll let you know when the second edition comes, but for now, let’s keep on being cool jazzy folks. Let’s show everyone that we are the loud minority.

See more pictures:

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Repoter: Riandy Kurniawan
Photographer: Mia Damayanti Sjahir
Video Editor: Vierna Mariska Kurniawan

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