35 years in business, 65 produced albums and 45 solo/group albums. Not many artists can have these numbers in their spanning career inside this globe while still being highly productive and fresh at the same time. Look now, we do have one in Indonesia, and that’s the former wonderkid who shocked the music industry in mid 70s and now emerged as one of the most respected names, the source of inspiration, the jazz icon, the one and only, the legendary Indra Lesmana. Since the mid 70s he never stopped placing up his tremendous works of art in every decades. Now in the second decade after the millenium, Indra Lesmana once again makes a surprise. He teams up with two potential young musicians, Barry Likumahuwa and Sandy Winarta. Started from a series of meeting and jamming since the beginning of 2010, they decided to go on further, no longer as three great musicians jamming together but as one solid unit called LLW which is taken from the first letter of their family names, Lesmana, Likumahuwa and Winarta.
They made their first public appearance at the first ever Mostly Jazz in April 21, 2010. At that time they were still using each of their names. It might look like an occasional team up, but we sensed something even from that moment. An iconic legend with two of the most shining young players? That must be something and will lead to something. That’s what we thought back then. This move was relevant to Indra’s decision to lead the Indonesia’s Jazz Movement which began in the early 2010 with a regular jam session at Inline Music every Friday. It was on November 2010 when we met them again, this time they have officially established themselves as LLW. One more appearance at the first Mostly Jazz in January 9, 2011, that’s when we heard of their plan to make an album.
Not long after the tremendous showcase at the Java Jazz Festival 2011 the boys landed on Rock Auditorium (Suntec) Singapore for Jazz Up! Reload joining Boy Katindig from Philippines and Scott Henderson Trio from USA. This triangle performance became the first international journey of LLW.
Two months later, finally we heard the great news of LLW’s album titled Love Life Wisdom that uniquely will form LLW too if we take the first letters for each word. Just like what we’ve seen in some of their previous gigs, the album featured four other great artists who created wider musical territory with their touches. Dira, Indra Aziz, DJ Cream and Kyriz Boogiemen brought the out-of-the-world Modern Jazz pattern a la LLW into the Urban and Soulful side. This magical combination proved to be spectacular. Not only for us, but for the whole world as well. This album was firstly appeared in the shape of digital mp3 format, released in some international online stores such as Itunes, Amazon and Reverbnation. Quickly they gained attention and made a remarkable leap such as being listed as no 1 Jazz Artist in Reverbnation for Indonesia region and no 41 worldwide, reaching the top 18 Jazz Best Sellers on iTunes in just a couple of week. “We were side by side with John Coltrane’s “Love Supreme”, and that was unbelievable!” said Indra Lesmana proudly. This achivement continued on with being chosen as Indonesian representative of 15 World Playlists from LA Times Magazine.
There are so many things to talk about this group and their phenomenal achievement with the first album, but we will talk about it later in the review section. For now, let’s focus on the special event which we all should celebrate, the official launching of LLW – Love Life Wisdom with one special concert as the featured group of Mostly Jazz XXIX edition.
Many medias and fans arrived at Red and White Lounge long before the official press conference started. Widyasena Sumadio as the MC for tonight finally invited the whole artists behind LLW including the co-producer, EQ Puradiredja and music expert Dennie Sakrie. The complete lineup took the seat, except Indra Aziz who had to miss this event due to his father’s health condition. He had to fly to Singapore early in the morning to be with his father. Indra Lesmana led everyone to send prayers to his father and also for Utha Likumahuwa who’s currently not in a good condition too.
At the press conference Indra Lesmana explained that the process of making this album from the beginning has all been natural. “It all started from the jam session at Inline Music.” he said. Barry and Sandy were two of the musicians who often joined the jam session from the beginning.
Indra Lesmana soon found the chemistry with these two young guns and thought they could actually do something further together. “From the jam, soon after we found our own color through a very natural process” Indra added. And the rest is history. The preparation for the album was started at the end of 2010. It was actually planned to be released before the Java Jazz Festival, but due to Indra Lesmana’s health condition back then they had to posponed it. Lucky for us we didn’t have to wait too long. From the mp3 formats which gained praises from all around the world, now came the physical CD. At first Indra actually planned to make it in vinyl, but due to massive request from the fans, he agreed to release the physical version of that mp3 format in the shape of CD. The CD will soon be available at our online store in the next couple of days.
The family connection played an important part for both Barry – Indra connection. No wonder they found the chemistry fast. And Sandy is one of the most ready modern jazz drummer of Indonesia today, as Indra Lesmana stated. So again, it’s a natural choice. What’s also important to talk is the role of EQ Puradiredja in joining the scene. Being a long time friend of Indra Lesmana and a partner in crime, he threw the idea of adding up more surprising elements into the trio. “It’s time for us to make our own taste..it’s time to make something new.” he said. He has worked with DJ Cream, Kyriz Boogiemen and Dira for Urban Jazz Crossover, so he absolutely know the capability of these three artists in creating the whole different game. Again, it was a natural process, as stated by both EQ Puradiredja and Indra Lesmana. So, DJ Cream, Kyriz, and Dira, plus Indra Aziz joined in as the featured artists. The result was sensational. It’s a shocking surprise for us and probably for all the jazz lovers or even music fans in general to see this kind of combination.
What kind of jazz is it? You asked. It’s the kind of explorative and explosive Modern Jazz in the hand of three jazz artistes with urban and soul flavor. It’s the kind of jazz that brings the joy of spontaneity in wide spectrum of colors. In simple words, it’s like a Modern Jazz landed in the ghetto and soulful land. How could this be possible? By the perfect blend of the best ones in their each respectable fields, and of course the brilliant ideas. It’s the kind of dream team we might not even dare to dream, but yes they are real. Now we can listen to them as many times as we want simply by purchasing the CD.
About half an hour after the press conference that revealed everything about the past, present and future of LLW, LLW reappeared on stage and directly played the “Morning Spirit” as the opening. This landscapic fresh morning tune with a little folkish touch was soon filled with Indra Lesmana’s streaming melodies from the keys and lovely touches by Barry and Sandy. The natural and freshness of jazz as the spirit behind LLW was felt right away through this song. It was also great to see how much fun Barry had with the upright bass. Huge applauses were given several times during the song. The boys continued with “Friday Call” which was inspired by their regular Friday meeting (jamming). The first ever song made by Indra Lesmana for LLW called “Back Into Something” followed and again made the crowds popped. A surprise came after that. Barry introduced the song that actually meant a lot to him since his high school days, and it was the monumental song of Indra Lesmana’s JavaJazz entitled “Bulan di Atas Asia”. The crowds were very familiar with this song and they cheered big time when Indra started the well known lovely melody on his piano. The combination of these three musicians managed to bring this song appeared ellegantly just like the JavaJazz version but now in a new, more energetic version. The audiences exploded after the song reached the end.
It was time to bring the Modern Jazz deeper into the ghetto. “Stretch and Pause” was soon carried featuring Kyriz Boogiemen and DJ Cream joined in. This is one of the song that shows how well Indra could adapt with the modern urban sound. It’s amazing to see that Indra, Barry and Sandy can still enjoy themselves with pure jazz while being infused with the underground ghetto atmosphere at the same time. Only one word, amazing!
Dira joined in right after and brought “Blue in Green” for her first presentation. We don’t have to say anything with this teamings, but if we have to, let’s say that they brought it classy, smooth and relaxin. Dira’s golden soulful voice flew beautifully over the pouring melodies of the boys. Then came the moment when all blended in. The hell broke loose when Indra Lesmana, Barry Likumahuwa, Sandy Winarta, DJ Cream and Dira brought the climax with the title track, “Love Life Wisdom”. It was crazy and unbelievable. With this song the special LLW concert reached the end. DJ Cream stood behind his turntable set and carried on his act as the DJ playing so many great Soulful tracks from his collection, while the whole crowds mingled nicely all around the venue. Some fans took the time to meet the artists and had them signed the CD.
There were so many jazz artists and celebrities came to celebrate this very special moment. We spotted Riza Arshad, Beben Jazz, Iwan Hasan, Tompi, Indrawan Tjhin, Indra Dauna, JMono, Dimas Pradipta, Fanny Kuncoro, Dezca, Rio Moreno, Ramadhan Handy of Soulvibe, Monita, Gerald Situmorang, David Karto and Robert Pelenkahu of Demajors, Iwa K, Farhan, Nicholas Saputra and many more. All looked happy and full with smile. Like a big family reunion, they all went here and there chit-chating to one another, or even played pool together. Just as we predicted, Red and White Lounge suddenly became the miniature of jazz city full with the jazzin’ lifestyle and spirit all over. It was a big party for everyone, especially for the LLW with their phenomenal breakthrough.
The experience, the energy, the passion, and the Love, Life and Wisdom, all are the essences that shine inside the stunning LLW trio along with lovely contributions of four special guest stars who have added more tonal colors into the already lively colored modern jazz pallete. For us, this album marks Indra Lesmana’s path into the 2010s and the new dawn for two great young jazz musicians, Barry Likumahuwa and Sandy Winarta to have an awesome journey throughout this decade. Each of them are remarkable musicians, but they become lethal and dangerous when join forces as one rock-solid unit. A perfect combination resulted a spectacular outcome. LLW has successfully broaden up our horizon by flipping us up from one side to another inside the jazz borderline, even daringly bring us across the border if they have to. It’s so challenging and mouthwatering, it’s unpredictable and explosive. Such brilliantly creative jazz group like this will surely bring our jazz scene moves far forward from the current standing place. From Indra Lesmana himself we got the news that they are actually planning for a tour around Asia and Middle East all the way to reach Australia too. We sincerely hope everything will go exactly according to the plan.
What an edition of Mostly Jazz it was. Kudos to LLW, congratulations for the new CD, good luck with the preparation for Asia-Middle East and Australia trip, and we wish you all the best in everything! God bless you all!
See more pictures:
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Reporter: Riandy Kurniawan
Photographer: Agung Hartamurti Wirawan