The beatiful day of jazz already took place at Ubud yesterday, courtesy of Ubud Village Jazz Festival 2014. (read the report here: http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/ubud-village-jazz-festival-2014-report-day-1/). Now we are going to let you know what’s happening on the second and final day of this second episode of this annual party.
Two bands started exactly at the same time: Openmind Quartet and Gustu Brahmanta Trio. The Openmind Quartet consists of musicians from the Universitas Pelita Harapan Jakarta such as Michael Setiawan (grand piano), Kevin Yosua (Electric Bass), Dion Jana Pria (Electric Guitar) and Joshua Setiawan (Drums). Once again reprised their great role in last year’s edition in pouring this event with cool swingin’ straight ahead. They played the traditional style of jazz, yet felt very fresh, something that we really needed while covering the event under the warm Bali temperature. Not only they cooled us up, but they also gave a beautiful start for the second day. Neat, tight and clean play from these very talented and skillful younger generation. They were playing originals by Michael and also some standards such as Rhythm-a-Ning by Thelonius Monk.
For those who wished to enjoy jazz with authentic Balinese taste, Gustu Brahmanta Trio gave exactly that on Subak Stage. Think of this: a trio with the combination of western and Balinese instruments, you should get something different from it. The group which has Ida Bagus Putu Brahmanta (drums and percussion), Ida Bagus Indra Gupta (contrabass) and I Wayan Suastika (rindik, gamelan) served mystical pentatonic pelog scale with jazz as the foundation. What’s a rindik, you might ask? Well, a rindik is an instrument made from bamboo with 11-13 keyed xylophones tuned to a fairly even tempered scale.
Other than rindik, the trio also modifies the drumset with kelenang to add even more Balinese nuance. What’s unique is that, if the usual Balinese gamelan orchestra could have from 10 to 20 players with varieties of instruments, this three dudes dare to bring the Balinese jazz concept alive with just minimalist formation. From what we heard, they proofed it to work perfectly. This is the kind of jazz that we really want to see from jazz fest in Bali, thanks to Gustu Brahmanta Trio, we could get it very early on Saturday. The attempt of fusing traditional music of Bali with jazz has been done by so many musicians both from our own source and international, yet this trio is able to give something different while still rooting in the same spirit. Mind you, they are all native, so what we got from them was the authentic Balinese music with seamless jazz vibe inside. They showcased true Balinese ethnic music fused with modern jazz grooves, and they kept the rhythm in the pocket with just this formation. The show was simply educational, interactive, entertaining, magical, without having to lose the strong ethnic element. Ubud Village Jazz Festival just got defined.
Then came the time to be entertained by the founder of Underground Jazz Movement also the founder of this very event, Yuri Mahatma. Once again he teamed up with dear wife, lady pianist Astrid Sulaiman. Using his weapon guitar, he led the quintet consists of Helmy Agustian on bass, Steve Bolton on drums, and Pramono Abdi Pamungkas on saxophone. One song that caught our attention is when they played “Hallucinations”. That song is always overlooked by many musicians but Yuri and Astrid nailed the song just right. Anyhow, the crowd seemed very relaxed from the cool grooves this band offered. This team opened up the Giri Stage just a few minutes after 5 o’clock in the very late afternoon.