Speaking of the history of jazz in Indonesia particularly in Bandung, the Institute Technology of Bandung (ITB) should never be missed. This institute has a twin buildings on its sides built not long after the turn of the 20th century by Dutch-Indisch Henry Maclaine Pont which combined the Indonesian and European architectures. These buildings which are simply called Aula Barat (West Hall) and Aula Timur (East Hall) have been used to hold many events for about half a century or so, including jazz which has been breathing inside them ever since.
Today, jazz is still alive in this campus, even with higher intensity lately. As the Aula Barat now has its own regular jazz event called Jazz Aula Barat planned to run three or four times a year, the Aula Timur is ready to have its own jazz-traction. The name is PROJAZZION : Prosa Jazz Negriku (The Jazz Prose of My Country). The premiere is coming real soon on Thursday, 27 April 2017 starting from 6:00 pm onwards. With such affordable price (only IDR 20K), you can have your jazz-thirst quenched by selected performances.
Before we get down to the lineup, let’s see the creator of this event: ITB JAZZ. ITB Jazz is a solid official students’ activity unit (UKM) of ITB founded in 2007 under the name of ITJazz. This activity unit is based on the appreciation of its members towards jazz. From a community they officially became a unit of student’s activity in 2011 consisting of not only the students but also available for the lecturers and alumni of campus that use Ganesha (the elephant-headed deity – the Hindu’s god of success) as its sign. The members share the desire to hold and bring back jazz events in campus, the way it has always been since many decades ago. “Nine years until now we have proven our commitment to the values of jazz throughout our art and music works”, they said. Yes indeed. Jazz in ITB began pulsing strong again since last year and now in 2017 jazz can be found more often, existing in both landmarks of this campus.
Perhaps you wonder what ITB Jazz has as the concept. According to them, the idea of making up this event is to let everyone be a part of a journey – tracing Indonesian jazz from the present all the way to its roots. To make it happen, they are inviting jazz communities from all over Bandung to collaborate with ITB Jazz in the event to rearrange and present the musical journey of Indonesian jazz history.
Now let’s dig the guest stars for this 1st edition of PROJAZZION. First, we are happy to see a quite big ensemble consisting of skillful, passionate and creative young lions in the lineup: 5Petani.
This band was formed in mid-2014 following the personnel’s regular meeting and jamming in regular program implemented by Butterfieldjazz Society. 5Petani in English means 5 Farmers. If you are curious of why they chose farmers as the name instead of musicians, it’s because the keyboardist of the band Gerson Valdo Siahaan is studying at the Faculty of Agriculture. The other mates are Fauzan Rijal (bass), Yoga Wardana Kusumah (acoustic guitar), Athina Niassrin Muhamad (saxophone) and Arbi (drum). Occasionally they have two additional players: Hilmi (percussion) and Sidix (flute/bamboo flute). All personnels agreed that agriculture is the prime mover of the Indonesian economy, and farmers stand as the tip of the spear. That’s philosophy that the “5Petani” hold in mind in sharing beautiful jazz tones to their fans and listeners/audience.
About style, this band of young lions plays lively, moving fusion by being inspired from the likes of at Metheny, Casiopea, Oele Pattiselano, Dewa Budjana, Tohpati, Accoustic Alchemy, Robert Glasper, Indra Lesmana and Indonesian young musician Gerald Situmorang, Andre Dinuth just to mention a few. Another name we think we have to mention is Karimata – one of the bands who led the music scene with fusion in between mid 80’s and mid 90’s. 5Petani is like the modern day version/reincarnation of this super fusion band which at that time also consisted of young, passionate and skillful musicians who fused as one in perfect harmony.
5Petani has more than enough original songs to wow you up. They have even just launched the debut album entitled “Sawah Impian” distributed by Demajors. Imagine melodic fusion lines served easy to any ears, yet without leaving out the fun exploration and improvisation as the important elements of jazz. There are many instruments used in serving the free flowing stream of notes, amazingly they don’t crash with one another. Instead, they create rich harmonious sound that will hook you up. If that’s not enough, you should know that these boys tend to perform like they are having a harvest party: full of joy, lots of laughs and chants. Amazing boys, amazing band, amazing music and amazing performance. We are not exaggerating at all.
The next group to mention is a trio that we believe will spark magic: Ray-M Trio. This group is led by the genius multi-instrumentalist Ray Martosono along with two amazing musicians from two legendary musical families: Inang Noorsaid (drums) and Rudy Zulkarnaen (bass).
Ray Martosono is still in his early 30s. Still young, but this man has been going through a vast array of experience with loads of achievements. Realizing his gift in music, this man answered it with such totality which makes him stand as a musician with high technical skill not only in one or two but many instruments. He started at first with guitar, but because of his tenacity he’s able to play almost all instruments just as good. As a composer, some of his written songs have caught the interest of some Indonesian musicians. He is also a prominent teacher and music director. In March 2014 he established Ray-Mate Community as a place of training and education for any musicians to learn and practice.
On Thursday, 5 December 2013 Ray made a big achievement by placing himself in MURI (Indonesian World Record Museum). He achieved it by creating a special concert where he played no less than 18 instruments such as piano, drum, bass, guitar, violin, saxophone, harmonica, trumpet, melodion, djembe, maracas, cajon, flute, bamboo flute, kalimba, happy drum, sitar and recorder beside singing. He also played some other instruments like organ, trombone, clarinet, ukulele, angklung, accordion, mandolin, didgeridoo, rain stick, thunder, guiro and so on. If this achievement is already spectacular, he is said to record himself as the world record champion. The Guiness World Record Concert is set to go through an Indonesian Festival in Esplanade, Singapore this coming December 2017. He is a wonder.
As mentioned earlier, in PROJAZZION he will be accompanied by one of 5 legendary children of Said Kelana, drummer Inang Noorsaid. This man rose to fame since his early ages with The Kids, Big Kids then co-found the super fusion band Emerald (later became Emerald BEX). Apart from these bands, he also shone with Funk Section and Tohpati among others. As for Rudy Zulkarnaen from the legendary Aru family, he is one of the senior bassist focusing on jazz. During his illustrious career which has been spanning for more than 2 decades, he has supported uncountable projects other than the band he’s in like 4 Peniti, Rudy & Band Listrik and also stands as the current bassist of cross-ethno jazz progressive ensemble formed by the late Riza Arshad, simakDialog.
Imagine what would happen when these kind of musicians join forces. Yet the Ray-M Trio isn’t new since it was formed in 2005 as a home for Ray Martosono to compose and perform his original instrumental musics. This band is considered by many as one of the Indonesia’s hottest jazz acts which is still actively gigging. They are heavily influenced by international artists and composers including Chick Corea, Avishai Cohen, Yellowjackets, Marcus Miller, Pat Metheny, Allan Holdsworth and many more. Based on the sources of inspiration, maybe you can take a hint that they are rooted in progressive jazz/rock and fusion, but Ray-M Trio’s music actually has wider scope as they also bring essences of any kind of jazz, Latin and even cinematic musical experience.
What is also interesting is that the showcases will come with collaborations with ITB Jazz. Not only this guarantees the knowledge and experience transfer, it will also bring fun in interactive ways.
On behalf of ITB Jazz, we invite you to come to PROJAZZION: Prosa Jazz Negriku. As you get the jazz-tertainment, your presence will also help to support the life of jazz in ITB today and tomorrow. For more info and ticketing, follow @projazzion and @itbjazz on instagram. Save the date, don’t miss it.
Projazzion: Prosa Jazz Negriku
– and collaborations with ITB Jazz
Date: Thursday, 27 April 2017
Time: 06:00 pm – onwards
Location: Gedung Aula Timur, ITB
Jl. Ganesha no.10 , Bandung
Ticket Price: IDR 20 K