LLW to Perform at Blue Note Tokyo

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We always feel proud when there’s a remarkable jazz group from Indonesia gets their shot to grace the stages or prestigious venues outside the country. Some artists have made their way to land on the other sides of the globe, and just two days ago we received a very great news from Honhon Lesmana regarding a new, big achievement and another new breakthrough  of LLW (Indra Lesmana, Barry Likumahuwa and Sandy Winarta). In just a couple of days (Dec 28, 2011), this group along with the featured guest stars will come to the land of the rising sun, Japan to make a special performance at the famous Blue Note Tokyo.

The Press Conference was held yesterday, December 22, 2011 at BNI 46-Emerald Lounge-Safari Cafe, FX building second floor, Jakarta. The conference was moderated by Widyasena Sumadio presenting most of the group including Indra Lesmana, Barry Likumahuwa, Sandy Winarta and Kyriz Boogiemen, also the  co-producer of LLW, EQ Puradiredja. In this occassion we were told that it’s going to be Kyriz Boogiemen and Dira Sugandi to accompany the trio for this trip.

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EQ shared the story of how LLW got the chance to perform in this prestigious club. “Before the album was released, LLW has launched their single through iTunes and spread it all around the world, especially to the jazz clubs in US, Europe and others. Two months ago, Blue Note Tokyo got it and they sent an offer for LLW to perform there.” he said.

As the co-producer and also program director of Java Festival Production, EQ also said that LLW is really a perfect group to represent Indonesia in Blue Note Tokyo and all the Japanese jazz aficionados in general. “Indonesian jazz is mostly associated with the combination of jazz and our traditional musics for them, at least for the past 20 years. As we all know how this group is filled with amazing talents… they will bring a new atmosphere and change their mindset about the progress of Indonesian jazz.” said EQ.

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Indra Lesmana added that they all are holding a mission to let the international jazz fans know how modern our jazz scene is today. “We don’t use the traditional instruments anymore. We keep on developing ourselves and now we get the chance to let them know that we are already modern.”

LLW  has been making headlines since the group was formed more than a year ago. This group combines the experience and masterclass piano playing of Indra Lesmana with the playful, funky bass of Barry Likumahuwa and Sandy Winarta’s colorful drum beating. Later the trio added more twists into their concept by having four other amazing artists in: the rapper who likes to jazz Kyriz Boogiemen, the internationally acclaimed DJ Cream, the jazzman Indra Aziz and soulful powerhouse Dira Sugandi. Together they deliver something that we didn’t hear often: modern jazz with urban sound, as if there were a jazz trio landed on the ghetto. Some songs in their first album “Love Life Wisdom” still presented in the pure modern jazz flavor, yet you can sense something fresh out of them while being challenging at the same time. With all these fact, of course it wouldn’t be difficult for us predict the success. But what actually happened was more than anyone could predict. They brought surprises in each step they made. Unlike what other artists used to do, they chose to launch the album first in the digital mp3 format, put it in the international online stores such as iTunes, Amazon and Reverbnation and quickly gained praises from all over the world. In short time the album reached the no 1 Jazz Artist in Reverbnation for Indonesia region and made a big leap in iTunes from no 41 worldwide to reach the top 18 Jazz Best Sellers just in a couple of week. When the physical shape (CD)’s released, the album became best seller in many stores, including in our online store as well. (Buy the CD here:  http://store.jazzuality.com/products/cd/llw-love-life-wisdom/ )

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As a unit they performed several times at the Mostly Jazz before they had a blast at the Java Jazz Festival 2011. LLW made two album launching with concert in Jakarta and Bandung (click each city respectively to read our coverage from the launchings) followed by their participation in some other big jazz festivals such as Jazz Traffic Festival Surabaya and the 34th Jazz Goes to Campus (JGTC). Speaking of the international gig, they already had one before when LLW performed along with Philippines’ Boy Katindig and Scott Henderson Trio from USA at the Rock Auditorium (Suntec) Singapore for an event called Jazz Up! Reload. Now they are ready to add one more international trip into their account by playing at the Blue Note Tokyo just a couple of days before the new year of 2012 comes.

Let’s take a quick glance at Blue Note. This jazz club was first opened in New York City, USA by Danny Bensusan in 1981. Over the past 20 years Danny has built his music empire including 8 clubs including in Japan, New York and Milan among his other enterprise. In Japan, Blue Note Jazz Club now has two branches in Tokyo and Nagoya. The name Blue Note might remind us to the legendary record label The Blue Note record, however the jazz club is not associated with the label which was founded by Alfred Lion and Max Margulis in 1939.

[flickr id=”6559082407″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”small” group=”” align=”right”] Blue Note Jazz Club has been known as one of the jazz clubs with well-maintained quality standard in selecting the best jazz musicians from all over the world. That makes Blue Note Jazz Club stands as the respected venue by both the musicians and jazz fans. Other than running the resto and club, Blue Note also carries on their role to preserve audio documentation from the live performances through Half Note Record as the affiliate of the company. The Blue Note Tokyo was established in November 1988 and labeled as the best and most expensive jazz crime scene in Aoyama Tokyo, Japan. They have invited many prominent jazz musicians to perform there including Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Tony Bennett, Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’88, Billy Eckstine, Kenny Burrell Trio, Joe Pass, Nancy Wilson, Yellow Juckets, Oscar Peterson, Tania Maria, Lou Rawls, Sarah Vaughan, Roy Ayers, Hubert Laws, Najee, Ahmad Jamal, Bobby Caldwell, Kevin Eubanks, Astrud Gilberto, Baden Powell, Al Di Meola, Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, Ramsey Lewis, Janis Siegel of the Manhattan Transfer and Larry Coryell just to name a few.

The performance of LLW at Blue Note Tokyo is supported by Java Festival Production (JFP), BNI 46 and Garuda Indonesia as some of the best corporates of Indonesia that have been showing their commitment to support the creative industry and art and culture of Indonesia. The representative of Blue Note Tokyo Ryoji Asashi said, “This will be the very first time ever for an Indonesian group to perform at Blue Note Tokyo, and we are really thrilled to share time with them!” Meanwhile, Indra Lesmana expressed his happiness for this chance too. “I really appreciate this chance. It’s going to be an important note in our music career and also for the Indonesian jazz in general. I’m sure we all want to give our best that we can be proud of, and hopefully this moment will open up a better way for the creative industry of both nations.”

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All the musicians to perform in Blue Note Tokyo have their own expectations. Sandy Winarta promised to bring their explorative concept by being who they really are. “We will show what we got and our best performance.” If you ever wonder what’s unique about this group, Indra Lesmana has the answer. “What’s unique about LLW is the modern sound of jazz in each song. As jazz musicians, we know that there will be differences between the recordings and live performances. Naturally we’ll improvise but we’re also keep ourselves on the groove. That’s something that the listeners especially the jazz ones could dig from us.” he said further.

Kyriz Boogiemen also expressed his expectation and happiness to perform at Blue Note Tokyo along with LLW. “It’s an honor for me to play there. Eventhough I’m a rapper, I’ve been into jazz since my childhood, being introduced by my father. And of course, playing with a group like LLW in one of the world’s most famous clubs is something that I feel really proud of.” Kyriz also shared his hope that the song that he wrote with LLW (Stretch N Pause) can be accepted by the jazz fans in Tokyo.

LLW will perform in two sessions on December 28, 2011 in Blue Note Tokyo. The first session will begin at 7pm local time, and the second one will be at 9:30pm. They stated that they have prepared everything needed for this special moment. As special as it is, LLW will prepare the vinyl, CD and DVD from this session. They will get the helps from the team from Indonesia and also from the friends living in Tokyo. All of them will support this audio-visual documentation.

On behalf of everyone at Jazzuality, we congratulate LLW, Dira Sugandi and Kyriz Boogiemen for this tremendous achievement. Let’s show them what you got and let them know how the progress of Indonesia’s jazz development is today. We are proud of you guys! Good luck, have a safe trip and have a blast. Ganbatte Kudasai!

For more info, log on to Blue Note Tokyo’s official website

Reporter/Photographer: Agung Hartamurti Wirawan
Editor: Riandy Kurniawan

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