If you’re looking for variety of art and culture events in Jakarta, the Komunitas Salihara should be one of the most important venue to check. It’s a cultural enclave established in 2008 and known as the first private multidisciplinary art center in Indonesia since then. Located on a 3.800 m2 plot at Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta, it’s divided into three main buildings: Teater Salihara, Galeri Salihara and office space but now expands to provide more facilities such as rehearsal studio, guesthouse and amphitheater. Since the time it was established, Komunitas Salihara has wide varieties of program, including Jazz. Similiar to the previous couple of years, Salihara opens up the year with Salihara Jazz Buzz, providing series of jazz concerts presenting nothing but the best players in the field with fresh new ideas, compositions, interpretations and so on where the words innovative, smart or even genius live on, something and somehow different and would be difficult to find elsewhere. Last year Komunitas Salihara featured four groups (one group for each week) such as Balawan and Didiet Violin, Shadu Rasjidi Band, Sri Hanuraga Trio and Ligro. This year they are making another breakthrough by bringing another batch of who’s who in the Jazz scene today. Ranging from legends, seniors to deadly young guns, they aren’t going to just play but each of them will bring a special theme, either tributing someone who inspires them to be who they are today, the different genres from different eras which many people seldom connect them to Jazz, presenting the compositions of all-time masters and so on. The number of bands is raised from four to six; two bands with two themes for each week. In general the theme of this year’s edition is “Persembahan (Presentation): Tribute to the Masters”. You might see the photo of Duke Ellington in the flyer above, but throughout January you will get much, much more in Teater Salihara. Jaw-dropping names are all over the posters both the playing bands/groups/projects and the ones their tributing, which not only limited to internationally acclaimed musicians of the genres but span wider to reach the greatest rock musicians, the historical classical eras from Baroque to Romantic and also Indonesian maestros. All presented in assorted Jazz flavors. Curious to see who plays what? Keep reading, we will spill them out for you.
1. Nial Djuliarso: Interpreting American Masters: Solo Piano
Everytime we see Nial Djuliarso in a concert, we can’t help but love anything he plays. We have listened to his touch over pop songs and standards, his originals which have beautiful melodies, or the moment when he gave respect to one of the most influential Indonesian maestros, Ismail Marzuki both in his successful album The Jazz Soul of Ismail Marzuki (2011) and in a couple of stage presences. He graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2004 and also got a Jazz Diploma from Julliard in New York, pursued his career there in ‘the good ol’ ‘Big Apple’ and has played with the wide array of honored musicians including Hank Jones, Joe Lovano, Wynon Marsalis, Bobby Watson, Roy Hargrove, Christian McBride, Jimmy Cobb, Benny Golson, Horace Silver and Gary Burton, just to mention a few. Not many Indonesian musicians can have the chance as big as this in such a young age, but the highly gifted Nial Djuliarso got it. He dares to go against all odds by making up albums without having any singers and still receives huge success.
He’s great in playing in any formation, but he’s mesmerizing too when he plays in a solo piano recital. At Teater Salihara Nial will bring us into his musical life journey by reinterpreting works of American Jazz Masters, but he will also include some pieces of our own Ismail Marzuki. It’s a good chance to catch him while he’s trying to test the water in his homeland, finding out whether it’s time for him to come back home for good or better to keep it going in USA. We wish the best for him, but we do need passionate musicians possessed with such skill like him to keep the jazz flame burning in Indonesia. Solo Jazz recital by an amazing young pianist, anyone? If yes, this show is a must-see.
Schedule: Saturday, January 11, 2014, 4:00 PM
2. Nita Aartsen : From Baroque to Romantic
Being described as the ‘rising star’ of Classical and Jazz in Indonesia shows how Nita Aartsen successfully place her feet on both grounds. But that’s not all, because she can also pin pop, rock, blues, Latins; even Flamenco Jazz just as great. If you meet her and ask about her journey, perhaps you will end up in a very long discussion since she has a very illustrious and colorful career which spans for almost 30 years. She has been the national pianist who performed in the Presidential palace to entertain foreign leaders who came to the country like Bill Clinton, Sultan Bolkiah and Prince Bernard. She has toured around Europe and has been highly active in spicing up big Jazz festivals found in Indonesia.
Speaking of Classical music which encompasses a broad period from around the 6th century up to this day, there have been many notable characteristics which is often categorized into more than 10 periods. Nita Aartsen will bring you back to the era called the ‘Common Practice Period’, denoting an era when many of the ideas that make up the Western Classical music took shape and standardized. It began with Baroque (from 1600’s to mid 1700’s) then Classical era (1700’s to 1800’s) and then continued on to the Romantic era (early 1800 to early 1900). There were many maestros made masterpieces during these 3 centuries from Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert to Robert Alexander Schumann among many other names. What’s interesting is to see how Nita Aartsen will pin the masterpieces of these all-time greatest composers to suit into Jazz. It wouldn’t be a problem for her since she lives in between these two worlds, yet we’re curious to see the result. Both have different structures, scales, disciplines, choice of instruments and so on. It’s often said that Jazz is more free in structure while the other tends to be completely notated, but one thing we can’t deny is both completing and complementing each other in today’s music scene.
So how Nita will fly freely with improvisations in the field of Classical repertoires? How will she place modern jazz harmonies, chords and the dynamics of Jazz into the much older musics, or simply say, how will she interpret the word ‘freedom’ in the highly discipline and well-build Classical structures? It’s going to be very interesting.
Schedule: Saturday, January 11, 2014, 8:00 PM
3. Glen Dauna Project : The Little Wing of Jimi Hendrix
Whenever we hear the name Jimi Hendrix, our mind will directly go to his (probably) most glorious moment taking place at Woodstock, 1969. At much later hours than scheduled, Jimi Hendrix came on stage on the final day on August 18, 1969, exactly at 8:30 AM. The majority of audiences had left the venue, but there were still around 30.000-40.000 people still there witnessing the legend got his golden moment that lasts forever in the history of music. He passed away just a year after, but his name remains the same until now. Most of people refer him as a Rock musician. Not wrong since he did play Psychedelic Rock ferociously, but we should never forget the amount of Blues and Jazz he injected into his music. We even has a live recording when he collaborated with The Doors’ Jim Morrison in a fully Jazz segment in our music collection. He joined Jazz jam sessions occasionally, even had his moment doing it just a while before his death at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. He’d be 72 years old now had he still alive, but his fate stands differently. He’s not around us anymore, but his legacy lives on. You love Jimi Hendrix’s rebelious and wild guitar playing that many believe no one can match and at the same time love Jazz? Well, this one should grab your attention. Senior pianist Glen Dauna is going to bring you up, riding The Little Wing of Jimi Hendrix across the different dimensions.
We have seen him creating a spectacular concept of tributing this guitar legend like in AtAmerica in November 2012 and the 2013 edition of Java Jazz Festival. He played in a quintet formation featuring two of his sons, trumpeter Indra Dauna and the fantastic young harmonica player, Rega Dauna. Most likely the father-sons connection will take place again supported by many other skillful cats. The Glen Dauna Project (formerly called Glen Dauna Experiment) is going to hook you up into an unforgettable musical voyage. If you have the chance to fly with Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing to ‘Kiss the Sky'; like a part of the lyrics found in his “Purple Haze”; why don’t you take the chance? We have seen it and wowed, now is your time to be stunned.
Schedule: Saturday, January 18, 2014, 4:00 PM
4. Indro Hardjodikoro: This is Only The Beatles
If there were no The Beatles, how would the music scene today? Maybe most of Rock/Pop bands wouldn’t exist the way we know them today, maybe the music history would be written differently. That’s how influential this English group from Liverpool is. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison has made so many evergreens that most of them still played by uncountable musicians up until now. There were many controversial stories surrounding this band, loads of good times and bad times, great achievements and tragedy were listed into their life story that would take days or even mont hs to talk about. Their influence remains immense, not only in music but in larger perspective, popular culture. They changed the music course, the fashion, hair and even lifestyle. Histerical ladies, passed out ones were often found in their live concerts. They penetrated movies, photography and even beliefs. If we specifically talk about their music, the band has had 37 top ten hits with 27 reached the top. The number of their evergreens are much more than that. The Beatles’ lively Rock n Roll era, the way they experienced ‘transformation’ by going East to India (which also resonated in their music during the mid-60’s then some later more pop oriented until they came to an end in 1970 are fascinating to recall. But now listen to this: what would The Beatles’ music sound when being placed in the hand of a unique band with two bassists play at once? Yes, that’s what you’re gonna see when the Jazz Fusion oriented band led by the senior bassist named Indro Hardjodikoro & the Fingers takes a walk into the Abbey Road. “This is Only The Beatles”, he says humbly, but believe us, you will get a lot more than just that.
Indro Hardjodikoro & the Fingers was born just a few years ago, but they already bagged many achievements and praises internationally. They have performed many times in the Eastern part of Europe, in Russia and some other countries nearby and never fails to get huge attention wherever they land. This is a group to see when you want to know what difference can a band make by utilizing two bassists at once. Actually Indro started with four bassists in the front row, but later he reduced it to just two, himself and his former student Fajar Adi Nugroho. Fajar inherits all the good things he learnt from his former teacher, including a tight precision and speed. Other than these bass players, keyboardist Andy Gomez and the most recent drummer Riyandi Andaputra are the names that guaranteed your satisfaction in consuming high amount of fusion. Indro and his band loves to keep it friendly even to common ears, but at the same time provides challenging play and rich compositions. Now they have The Beatles in their hand. Two basses, a keyboard, a drum will guard the marching of the classic hits of this Liverpool’s proud sons into the magical Jazz land. It’s true that there have been uncountable attempts of reinterpretating The Beatles’ songs in Jazz throughout generations, but still it will difinitely give you something new when it’s given to Indro Hardjodikoro and the Fingers. They will show you how they interpret The Beatles’ classics such as “Strawberry Field”, “Blackbird”, “Julia”, “Norwegian Wood” and “Michelle” just to mention a few. After a week of Hard Days’ Nights, it’s time for you to loosen up and have fun with The Beatles’ songs brought by this unique Fusion band. The word ‘fun’ will even have more meaning since they always love to perform with endless smile of joy painted on their faces. Let’s see how they repaint the Yellow Submarines with blue notes.
Schedule: Saturday, January 18, 2014, 8:00 PM
5. Sri Hanuraga & Adra Karim : Thelonious Monk’s Blue Note
What would happen when two venomous Jazz pianists collide in the blue note world of Monk? Well, this one gives another sensation. If one has to list all time Jazz giants, the name of Thelonious Monk will certainly be included. He’s the second-most recorded Jazz composer (after Duke Ellington) and a very influential figure in the Jazz world. There are many qualities of Monk such as his ability to make Jazz repertoires that most of them listed as standards, but perhaps it’s his unorthodox approach in letting his fingers dance above the keys, his different way of improvising that was full of dissonant harmonies and unpredictable twists that inspire thousands or even millions of Jazz musicians from one generation to another. He’s once considered to be too eccentric as a figure and for some played too complex, but who can deny his skill as a standard of excellence, both as composer and instrumentalist? It’s almost impossible to say that you’re a Jazz fan if you don’t even know Thelonious Monk, that’s how important he is as a figure in Jazz.
You could think that it’s normal for Jazz musician playing standard Jazz repertoires from the giants like Monk, but you would find another perspective when Sri Hanuraga (Aga) and Adra Karim are in the house. Both are very well educated, getting their degrees in Netherlands. Aga even builds his career in there and has a multi national band named The Brag Pack but occasionally back to his own land and graces events while he’s around. Adra spent a couple of years in that part of Europe but still managed to keep his band Tomorrow People Ensemble (TPE) alive. TPE is a band that loves to funked up our ears with their intoxicating avant funk that can make the fans or whoever listen to them get high and stoned without having to take any drugs. The speed of Aga’s fingers are just a wonder to see. He’s an expressive player, you can see when he’s really into his play just by looking at his facial expression during his act. The last time we saw them shared the same stage was 2 years ago at Just Jazz vol 4 in Surabaya, East Java, now they don’t just share the same stage but also join forces in a show. Placing Thelonious Monk and all of his blue note in between them will create magic, no doubt about that. Will there be any other musicians joining them or will it be a piano duo? We don’t know yet, but let’s keep it that way until the D-day. Without knowing how they will cook Thelonious Monk’s collections, the surprise factor will rise higher than expected. So the Jazz giant Monk and the outside notes courtesy of two young piano masters, that’s what you’re going to dig in this show.
Schedule: Saturday, January 25, 2014, 4:00 PM
6. Indra Lesmana Group : To Chick Corea
If we talk about the connection between Indra Lesmana and Chick Corea, most likely we will find many similiarities between them. Both are outstanding musicians with ability to create magic either in live performances, recordings and arrangements. They are both iconic, standing in the different league and difficult to match. Another thing we should mention is that they have been known each other for many, many years and still friends until now, at least back to the period when Indra Lesmana released an album in USA through Zebra/MCA Records in 1986. There Indra worked on his “For Earth and Heaven” album in Chick Corea’s studio, the Mad Hatter in Hollywood. We heard the story of Chick Corea’s impression to Indra Lesmana, also heard that he asked Indra to join his band, but Indra chose to come back and established his career in his own homeland.
Speaking of compositions, Corea’s works are often mentioned to be too complex and difficult to play. Not many can play it with the exact soul and spirit of him, not to mention one has to equipped with enough skill to be able to do so. So, putting it into the hands of the other world class master would be perfect, it can even create another new height of interpretation as how Indra Lesmana has been showing whenever his hands are placed into just about any song at all.
Indra knows the man he’s tributing very well. He has done it too, back in May 2012 edition of Red White Jazz Lounge in his own yard. Joining him at that time was Tohpati (guitar), Demas Narawangsa (drums), Shadu Rasjidi (bass) and Ricad Hutapea (sax). Our most favorite pick from that show? Definitely when they played “Got a Match”. All players matched Indra in giving up a spectacular runs from the start until the end. The combination of senior players and the younger talents found its perfect mark in this one. Bullseye, no, it’s double bullseye as if in playing darts. Here, we include the video so you can watch it yourself.
Who will play alongside Indra Lesmana this time? Will it be the same compatriotes or a whole new batch? Again, we don’t know yet. But for sure, Chick Corea’s songs will get a different treatment by having Indra Lesmana Group on them. This show should be fascinating to watch, that’s for sure.
Schedule: Saturday, January 25, 2014, 8:00 PM
Performers at the 2014 edition of Salihara Jazz Buzz are jazz musicians who have made great strides and achievements in the past few years, those who are respected, well noted, even hold shining international reputation. “While presenting it with a high level of performativity, Komunitas Salihara keeps its lean and approachable format. “This is a series of performances intended to widen the horizon of jazz appreciation in Indonesia”, says the people from Salihara in their press release, and simply by looking at the facts mentioned above, there are no reasons for us to argue with it.
Ticket price: IDR 75.000 per show (IDR 35.000 for students)
Order via email : email@example.com or call +62 21 789 1202, +62 817 077 1913, +857 193 111 50
For more info, log on to http://salihara.org