It was afternoon on Blessed Sunday; even though the weather was not so friendly but It did not restrain the intention of people to come here at Kemayoran and feel the nuance of Java Jazz Festival 2012. Around 4 until 7 pm there were six musicians with quality greet their loyalty lover and entertained them. For instance, In Memoriam of Bubi Chen, KLa Project, Andi Wirianto & the Next Generation, Benny Likumahuwa Like Father Like Son, Swing Out Sister, Monita Tahalea Quartet, Tomorrow People Ensemble.
The piano virtuoso, the Art Tatum of the East, the legendary Bubi Chen had been battling with his health for several years, but still we got shock when we received the news from his son about his passing last February 16, 2012. (Read our obituary article here). We grief, we miss him, and to be honest, we still need him so much. He had given uncountable contributions towards the Indonesian jazz. He was one of the earliest jazz artists and a teacher who had built hundreds of successful talents. He was still passionately active on stage up until his last breath, the kind of spirit that we all should be inspired at.
Another important thing about Bubi Chen was said nicely by Indra Lesmana. “Indonesia has just lost one important figure. Bubi Chen was one of the first men who brought good news about Indonesia to the international scene, showing that Indonesia was already modern at that time. Imagine this, we already had such modern pianist in the 60s like the virtuoso Bubi Chen. Indonesia could already showed it during 1967-1968, thanks to him. I think it’s a big achievement that we should always remember and look up to. Itís something that not many aware of anymore, especially the present generation. Heís a figure that we should always consider as one of the greatest artistes like Affandi for example. I witnessed it myself, so I know for sure how important Bubi Chen is in our history.”
He should have joined this year’s Java Jazz Festival, but unfortunately God has called him before that. Some of his closest fellow musicians, ex-students and friends made a quick move to hold a special tribute to pay him respect at this Java Jazz Festival. They called the show “In Memory of Bubi Chen”. Look at the long list of stars joining in for this show. There were Sri Hanuraga, Sierra Soetedjo, Idang Rasjidi, Dewa Budjana, Oele Pattiselano plus the brain of the Java Jazz Festival himself, Peter F Gontha among the lineups, all were paying their most respect to this legendary artiste.
As the opening, Indra Lesmana, Peter F. Gontha, and Sandy Winarta played “It Had to be You” . Next, Chet Baker’s “There Will Never Be Another You” was played by Donny Sundoyo on bass. It continued into Jeffrey Tahalele as bassist together with Benny Mustafa as drummer, and Bob Tutupoli as vocalist sang “Polkadot&Moonbeans” from Frank Sinatra and it is one of Bubi’s favorite ballad. Next stop, “Soverin Hill”, a song by Budjana in Samsara album where Bubi Chen played the piano in Surabaya in 2001, was brought up today by Dewa Budjana on 1st guitar, Robert on 2nd guitar, Sri Hanuraga on piano, Donny Sundjoyo on bass, and Sandy Winarta on drum. In the end, Bambang Nugroho said that Bubi had taught him piano since his age 0f 10 then a video about Bubi Chen was played which was made by H. Suryo. Andi Wiriantono as one of the closest relative was supposed to join the ensemble too, but due to some circumstances he didn’t make it eventhough he was already there before the show started.
We lost him, we may not see him in person anymore, but his spirit and music will live on forever. We will always have him in our heart. Farewell, Bubi chen, rest in peace, we’ll carry on your legacy. Thank you to all the participating artists, you’ve made one very beautiful tribute.
Meantime at B 1 Hall, KLa Project, our legendary band that known famously by their exploration of progressive pop, was formed in 1988, right when the creative pop became a trend in Indonesian music. KLa, which refers to its personnels : Katon Bagaskara, Lilo (Romulo Radjadin), Adi Adrian, also got famous by their ways to create poetical lyrics and song title, mostly written by Katon. Have won many Indonesian music awards and platinums for album-selling, the band who has given us many everlasting hits from “Tentang Kita” to “Yogyakarta” has had their ups and downs through the new millennium, but then reunited in 2010 after a mini album called KLa Returns and the recent ‘Exellentia’. Jazz, however, from their first performance in JJF 2008, was a challenge for their music exploration. But as KLa’s music still remains as a pop progressive, it also had many influences spread from any genre including jazz, such as “Waktu Tersisa” which has lots of jazz chords, their collaboration with the late Embong Rahardjo in ‘KLakustik’ tours and albums, a young jazz singer, Sierra Sutedjo in their recent album, and mostly, Adi’s style of arranging keys often came with strong jazz felt in it. This year, KLa went back to the festival bringing their taste of jazz.
This time KLa had shown the whole new atmosphere by having thick jazz pattern inside their arrangements. They played with Aryo as saxophonist and Bintang as bassist. This time they had “Gerimis”, “Baiknya”, “Tak Bisa ke Lain Hati”, “Jogjakarta”, and “Tentang Kita” within they songlist. “Semoga” by using “Belahan Jiwa” as intro became the encore within their performance. It is unusual to be said but it is interesting to see them on Java Jazz.
Andi Wiriantono brought 7 of his students and called the group “Andi Wiriantono and The Next Generation”. This show happened at the Java Jazz stage. As an amazing pianist, naturally he should have built his career on stage after graduating from Berklee College of Music which he completed only in two years. But he decided to fulfill his calling for an ever better cause. He took the role as a teacher and created full bags of great talents. Many of his students now have achieved their success in the music business while many are still in the making. At the Java Jazz Festival 2012 this humble and phylosophical teacher brought the magnificent 7 that he believes will become the next jazz generation of the nation. They were Tiza Mafira, Yen Yen Nuansa, Rafael Yefta, Andreas Narwastu, Grace Ng, Boston Gunawan and Allan Maulana. All these young pianists stood bravely on the prestigious stage of Java Jazz Festival to do grand piano – Hammond RT3 duet with their teacher.
We came to see them and there we witnessed the future stars in the making, sharing all the joy with Andi Wiriantono by playing their personal picks. Andi let them chose the song they would like to bring, and he’d join them during their recitals. Alan Maulana with “All Blues”, the Institut Musik Indonesia’s alumnus Rafael chose “Mr PC”, Boston took “Take Five”, ex Bubi Chen’s student and one of the most senior student of Andi, Yen Yen picked “It Could Happen To You” and Andreas selected his favorite, “There’s No Greater Love”. Grace Ng became the only student that did scat plus sing during her part, pinning “Blue Bossa” in perfection and last but not least, Tiza Mafira brought “Beautiful Love” back alive. “She’s so unique…” Andi said to us. Why? “This girl graduated from Harvard Law School and work as a lawyer. But she can’t help her passion and love toward jazz, so she’s willing to spare her busy time happily for playing jazz. That’s so unbelievable!” said Andi in awe.
Speaking of the concept, not only we see the collaboration between students and teacher, but the unique and rare combination of piano and Hammond RT3 in one show brought a distinct color into this year’s Java Jazz Festival.
As lovely as this show was, we feel happy and touched to see the new faces for the future of jazz. They are absolutely ready to enter the industry, based on how good they were on the Java Jazz stage. This is a showcase that should remind us all of how important the education is and as for Andi, this is a strong proof of how great he is as a teacher. “Regeneration is the key if we want to keep Indonesian jazz alive into the future.” said Andi. He mentioned some generation of jazz pianist, from Didi Chia, Nick Mamahit, Bubi chen, then Indra Lesmana, Riza Arshad among the second generation, then we got Ali Akbar, Mery Kasiman, Imelda Rosalin to finally meet Irsa Destiwi and some other young jazz pianist we have from the present generation. “Preparing the next generation is indeed crucial” he said furthermore. That’s what he’ll always work for. Andi also asked us to mention this to the Java Festival Production. “On behalf of Andi Wiriantono, please send my grattitude and respect to EQ Puradiredja and the whole Java Festival Production.. After they learn to play jazz seriously, they need a chance and experience to play on stage. thank you for accomodating these young kids and giving them chance to play at a very prestigious stage like this.” he said.
Andi Wiriantono would probably be more busy in the future since he’s playing much more often on stage too besides teaching, but with God’s help, we are sure he will do both at best. Thank you for all your efforts in shaping up great jazz musicians, thank you for caring of the importance of regeneration, and thank you for giving us such a lovely show. We wish you all the best and will always support you.
Meanwhile at Kementerian Pariwisata & Ekonomi Kreatif, One legend with more than 50 years career and his highly popular rising star, shared the stage in lovely harmony at this year’s festival. Likumahuwa family is notable to many people in all generation. Benny represents the senior while Barry is a representative of the youngsters. Both are famous for their capable music career and a very matching couple in collaboration called Benny Likumahuwa Like Father Like Son. Joining them in this show were Indra Aziz, Dennis Junio (saxes), Fanny Kuncoro and Doni Joesran (pianos). Whether you are the big fan of Benny or Barry, their site was a great scene to feel the good connection of father and son, plus jazz, and felicity from the crowd. In togetherness they offered several nice songs. Hopefully, they still going on and on together.What a strong family bond.
We have seen their collaborations many times, but now they strengthened the bond in a group that clearly states all the love between them. So at this show we witness the harmonious father-son relationship which now appeared beautifully in melodies.
Though currently known as a duo of Andy Connell (keyboards) and Corinne Drewery (vocals), Swing Out Sister began their career as a trio in UK. The name itself came from a 1945 movie called ‘Swing Out, Sister’. This British ‘sophisti-pop’ group and considered by many as contemporary vocal jazz band with the massive hits, “Breakout”, “You On My Mind” and “Am I The Same Girl” has also performed in the 2009ís festival. (see our coverage here).
If at that time they played under the concept of acoustic, this time they’re coming back with a different atmosphere, with a big band. Lucky for their Indonesian fans, this time they didn’t come as the Special Show artist, so everyone who holds the daily ticket would definitely able to see them live on stage. It’s not everyday we see Swing Out Sister performing with big band. It might possibly be the first attempt for them too, but surely it was the first time we saw them in this concept. We were excited from the first time we heard about this, not only because we knew the concept would be interesting but also because we truly believed Corinne’s voice would be strong enough to stand in front of the big band.
For almost 30 years Swing Out Sister has entertained us with their music. We still listen to their classic hits from time to time. That’s why we’re always excited whenever we got the chance to see and cover their gig. Tonight, they greeted the audience by saying “It’s Good to Be Back in Jakarta”. Tonight they entertained the crowd with “La la la Means I love You”, “The Look of Love”, “The Super Hit”, “Breakout” was played medley with “I’ll Be There”, “Forever Blue”, continued with “Now You’re not Here”, “Am I the Same Girl”. Thank you Java Jazz Festival for bringing them again, and thank you Swing Out Sister for presenting another lovely show.
You probably have known Monita since she was competing in Indonesian Idol 2005. Her jazzy voice attracted one of the judges, Indra Lesmana, and long story short, Indra managed to be the producer for her 2010 debut record, Dream, Hope and Faith. (Available at our online store)
At the other time, team up with Jantan Gerhana Surya (drums), Kevin Yosua (contrabass), Andy Gomez (keys) plus Indra Dauna (trumpet), Monita Tahalea Quartet brought an ellegant show just like how they did in the pre-event Java Jazz on the Move weeks ago. Her sensational lushy voice is perfect to serve jazz. From doing jazz in pop dish, it’s great to see her embrace the jazz standards deeper. Having three talented compatriotes would help her in doing it, just like what we saw tonight. She sang “Di Batas Mimpi”, “Kekasih Sejati”, “I Love You”, “God Bless the Child” and “Over the Rainbow” featuring Oele Pattiselano on guitar. Nice one, Monita!
Going on with Tomorrow People Ensemble, a group of four with their famous track, “Wham Bam Thank You Maíam!!!” once again hit Java Jazz festival with complete formation which contains of Nikita Dompas on guitar, Indra Perkasa on contrabass, Azfansadra (Adra) Karim on piano/Fender Rhodes/synthesizer, and Elfa Zulhamsyah on drum. Year 2003 became the starting point of their long musical journey until now where they have had many experiences by appearing in lot of events and those surely help them in amending their talented skill. Eventhough they had apart because of academic thing abroad, somehow they are still able to maintain the harmony and appear occasionaly as a team whenever they got the chance for it. We respect him not only for the harmonious friendship and high individual skills but also for their braveness and creativity in presenting different sound of jazz. For more detail biography please click here).
All of those were proven on stage when they played several cool songs. Great to have a band who can maintance their solidarity as jazz group like them. More shows of Tomorrow People Ensemble to come such as at the Just Jazz Vol 4 in Surabaya. If you reside in this city, don’t miss to see this excellent and brave supergroup while they are united in complete unit.
It is close to the end od Java Jazz Festival 2012 but do not worry, it is not dark yet. Let’s gather around and see another cool jazz musicians only at ji-expo Kemayoran. Stay tune!
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Team on duty:
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Reporter: Riandy Kurniawan, Ata Michaella, Mellysa Anastasya, Ghea Sagita, Bintang S Tania, Fardhani Ramadhana, Daniel Irawan, Vierna Mariska, Muhammad Fadhly
Photographer: Omar Arif Maulana, I Putu Surya KB, Praditya Nova, Dwi Ratri Utomo, Kurnia Bayu Aji