University of Indonesia, Salemba, 1976. At that time the students of Faculty of Economics wanted to bring up series of events that covered arts in general, including theater, painting, photography and so on, including music. During that era, jazz was already labeled by many as an expensive and exclusive music by many. One of the active student at that time, young Candra Darusman, wanted to prove otherwise. He initiated an event called Jazz Goes to Campus (JGTC) in late 1976 in a mission to ensure the society that jazz could actually be enjoyed by wider segments and also very affordable. So, the first ever JGTC was held in a park in Salemba, with minimalist stage sets and ticket price only IDR 500. Apparently, it became a huge start for something historical. Today, that very event has reached the 37th edition. That’s the longest running event in Indonesia and one of the longest in the world. How can an event run that long with different committee in each year? Kudos to the Student Board of Faculty of Economics from UI (BEM-FEUI), they did it and will keep doing it.
So here’s the report of 2014 installment. As usual the event started early, around 1:00 pm at noon with selected bands in varieties. We found familiar names from last year: Sekawan and Friends. What we like to see from this band is that they give solid evidence that jazz is actually alive healthily in a small(er) city like their hometown, Salatiga. Good to see that Salatiga’s groove was back to JGTC.
The Jazzperience Stage began with a four-piece band called RnF. The name stands for Room Number Five and they are rooted in soulful pop jazz. They began their journey 5 years ago with Rendy Hendrawan (vocal/guitar), Alex Zulkarnaen (bass), Bobby Abdiawan (percussions) and Fauzan Billie (drums). Their first single was released last year titled “Cinta Adalah 5″ and reached another success with “Habis Kata” from OST Hijabers in Love. Their acoustic guitar sound with groovy rhythms was nice to hear and definitely suit the taste of young listeners. After 5 years in service, RnF seems to find a steady grip. Based on what we saw, 2015 may become their best year to date.
At the same time the Indosat IM3 Stage started its service with JBF Trio. You might wonder what sound would appear when Jazz, Blues and Funk fused into one? The outcome may vary from one band to another, but one thing for sure, the music produced by this blend will make you unable to stand still. JBF, stands for Jazz Blues and Funk has the winning formula in combining these roots. We enjoyed their performance last year in the 36th JGTC and now once again we tapped our feet over their clean shots. So bluesy, so jazzy and funky at the same time. Fawdy (gitar and vokal), Soebroto (bass) and Ryan (drums) as usual demonstrated their smart brain, creativity and skills in cooking up their tasty platter. 2014 has been a great year for them. Being the winner of Jakarta Indie Music Festival (JIM Fest) that involved all kinds of genre is an evidence of their high quality. Their act in this year’s JGTC can become another proof as well.
Nado Project opened up the Musik Asik Stage at 1:30 pm. We saw them in the Final Round of JGTC Competition when they served tight modern jazz, this time Nado, Ibnu and Nadya interestingly served experimental free jazz. Not easy to play, but full with action. SevenStrings Music School & Production used their performance in JGTC to give Tribute to 80’s and 90’s Jazz. It featured so many young talent. You’d know that a music school is good by how the students’ perform. Clearly they have done a marvelous teaching since the representatives played jazz neat and sharp.
Came all the way from Surabaya was a fast-growing jazz community in Surabaya which specialized in Fusion, the Fusion Jazz Community, better known as FJazzC. It was established on June 2, 2012 based on the mission to extend the jazz coverage area through fusion. Today they have 300 active members (500 if includes the inactive ones) and a regular show on local East Java tv. Other than that, they have graced many jazz events locally. An appearance at a prestigious festival like this is an important step because then they can expand the community with fusion lovers from Jakarta, Depok and beyond. Aside of that, it felt nice to have the jazz fusion shower during the hot weather. When “Billie Jean” and “September” were found among the songlist, what can be wrong?
The winner of the JGTC Audition 2014 4/4 who gave a superb high class traditional jazz playing couldn’t come due to some reasons. Their session was taken by the consolation prize winner from Bandung, 5th Avenue. Chris Alfeus (guitar/vocal), Stella Inke (keyboard), AlbenOctorys (drums) and William Anthony (bass) gave a rich arrangement of fusion including some scat-singing that fell into exactly the same notes from guitar by Chris. Tjheir version of Indra Lesmana (JavaJazz)’s “Bulan Diatas Asia” was served gloriously like in the competition. And they presented some original songs too, including “Membisu”. They didn’t win the competition, but they did very well just like a champ.