Jazz and the favorite university Institute Technology of Bandung (ITB) has been historically connected for many decades. This campus has held jazz concerts since the 60’s, presenting the jazz giants from national and international scene. In the 70’s, ITB just got crazier in presenting jazz. Look at the event called Pro Jazz 1975 which was held at the Aula Barat ITB which sihowcased jazz musicians from 3 cities: Bandung, Jakarta and Surabaya. In 1977 the campus presented Jazz Rendezvous with Indonesian All Stars. The jazz pulse was kept alive entering the 80’s. One of the biggest wave was when ITB invited Benny Golson All Stars in September 1987.
Other than those historical events, the venues for jazz in ITB also stands as the silent witness of Indonesian and Bandung jazz history. One of them is Aula Barat (the West Hall) which is considered as a landmark of ITB building. Built in 1919 by Dutch architect Henry Maclaint Pont, this side of ITB has accomodated so many jazz events and discussions. That’s why the Aula Barat is identical with jazz.
In 2013 the students of ITB decided to re-establish Aula Barat as the undisputed home of jazz. On April 1st 2013, finally Aula Barat found its new grip through a periodic event called Jazz Aula Barat. For the premiere edition, the curator Riza Arshad brought his super trio, the #3scapes aka Trioscapes. It was a big return, but this event was on hiatus until April 2016 when the 2nd edition came in, presenting simakDialog. The third edition was held in December featuring Mery Kasiman Big Band. The passing of Riza in January 2017 shocked everyone. There were some worries about the future of this event, but luckly the ITB Jazz (formerly known as ITJazz), an official students’ activity unit (UKM) of ITB is committed to keep it alive. The 4th episode was on March 2017, presenting Nita Aartsen Quatro.
As told to us, the ITB Jazz wishes to bring the event on at least twice a year. As we are getting closer to the end of 2017, ITB Jazz officially announced the next episode. The Jazz Aula Barat #5 is coming soon on Thursday, 23 November 2017 starting from 7:30 pm onwards.
Everyone who have seen the poster should be surprised. Why? There are at least 3 reasons:
1. The Jazz Aula Barat #5 is made to celebrate the 11th Anniversary of the world-class bigband from Bandung, the great Salamander Big Band
2. This edition is dedicated to Riza Arshad, served grand in swing
3. The guest stars are shocking: Tulus and Yura!
ITB is crazy to make this. For us this is like a dream come true, and we have no doubt it’s going to be wild!
Now let’s talk about the big band who’s having the birthday, the Salamander Big Band. Since it was established 11 years ago, this Big Band has set the course bravely no matter what the stream is. Salamander Big Band is an authentic big band, not a band that’s big. The founder and conductor, also a proud citizen of ITB, Devy Ferdianto clearly stated that to us around a decade ago as we have seen the evidence since then. As the time goes by, the Big Band becomes more solid and fluid in serving their music. By placing their roots on such format like Cole Porter and Duke Ellington’s, Salamander is an expert in delivering the authentic sound of swinging dance band like how it was in the golden era. But what’s amazing is, it doesn’t stuck in the 20’s – 40’s. They explore the style and sound of big band from other eras. They are great in capturing the 70’s funk scene, delivering the European style (including the classic German style), they can embed some ethnics inside, or even rearrange some evergreen Indonesian songs to make the songs as if they were made for real big band.
If you wonder how they could do that, other than having highly skilled, passionate musicians and amazing line of singers from solo to vocal harmony group, they have gained experiences and learnt from world’s best musicians. Look at these names they have played with: Frank Reinshagen, Dieter Mack, Thorsten Wollmann and Ack van Rooyen, Benny Likumahuwa, Bertha, Gilang Ramadhan, Sam Bimbo, Margie Segers and Bob Tutupoly, just to name a few.
The Salamander Big Band has graced many prestigious stages too such as the Java Jazz Festival to Ubud Village Jazz Festival in Bali, even to Bangkok at the end of 2013.
It’s remarkable that the Salamander Big Band is committed to serve two concerts every year: The Mid Year Concert and Anniversary Concert. For this year, the Mid Year Concert was held on the monumental amphitheatre of Selasar Sunaryo Art Space (SSAS) on July 13th (Read the coverage here: http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/salamander-big-band-2017-mid-year-concert-the-report/). If at that time they paid tribute to Titiek Puspa, this time they are going to make a special tribute to Riza Arshad under the title of “Tunes of Stage & Screen.”
For this special occassion, Salamander Big Band made a big surprise by featuring two mega stars in today’s industry: Tulus and Yura. Both of them are among the best ‘exports’ from Bandung in recent years, a solid show-stoppers and crowd-magnets. The phenomenal success of Tulus and Yura has proven the fact that Bandung has a lot of amazing talents that can shine not only in their own nation but also internationally. Eventhough they have wide coverage of styles in their albums, surely we all agree that they suit to sing jazz and will work perfectly to go with big band. The thick, satin smooth voice of Tulus and crisp, sky-bright voice of Yura in front of the authentic swingin’ sound of Salamander Big Band will give the audience the memory that last a life time.
From what we heard, with a very (unbelievably) affordable ticket price (only IDR 25k), the ticket has sold out just hours after it was announced. If you are late to secure your seat, we suggest you to contact the ITB Jazz and ask if they still have some left.
For the continuation and the future of Jazz Aula Barat and jazz in ITB, for the 11th Anniversary of Salamander Big Band, the collaboration between the big band and two mega stars and a tribute to a very important figure who we still miss, this event is important. We hope to see you there, but if you fail to get your ticket, we will try our best to share each moment in our coverage. There will be many stories to tell and remember from the Jazz Aula Barat #5. Look forward to jazz together with you.
JAZZ AULA BARAT #5 : “Tunes of Stage & Screen” – A Tribute to Riza Arshad
Celebrating the 11th Anniversary of Salamander Big Band
Date: Thusday, 23 November 2017
Time: 7:30 pm onwards
Location: Aula Barat ITB, Jl. Ganesha 10, Bandung
Entrance Fee: IDR 25k
Info ticket: +62 821-1257-0682