Saturday, December 20, 2014
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java jazz

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How often could we see Stevie Wonder in a live show? We could see him as much as we want through DVDs, listen to him through his recordings, but unless you live in the other part of the globe or willing to go far to watch his gig, it’d all be impossible. The Java Festival Production had tried to invite him for many years, from one edition to another. Finally it happened. Many people were shocked when Peter Gontha announced the final confirmation of Stevie Wonder for the first time through his twitter account.

When the ticket for Stevie Wonder started to open exactly at midnight (January 20, 2012), the tickets with opening early bird price of IDR 350.000 were sold out in just minutes. The ticket price went up slowly, but they all still got sold out quickly. Well, there’s no surprise at all, it’s the one and only Mr Stevie Wonder.

 

Born by the name Stevland Hardaway Morris, this multitalented American singer-songwriter, multiinstrumentalist and record producer is one of the most legendary musician. Stevie Wonder, his stage-name has became a wonder-phenomena behind his physical disability. He got signed by Motown Records since the age of eleven, and still continuing his career until now with 22 Grammy Awards winning including Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards, and over 30 US Top 10 Hits.

It’s true that this soul man with a very unique vocal and singing style has been singing all kinds of songs in wide variety. But interestingly he actually began with jazz. His first record, “The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie”, Stevie Wonder showed his capability in singing jazz when he was still twelve years old. In the age of 13 he already had a major hit, “Fingertips (Pt.2)” and collaborated with famous artists such as Marvin Gaye. Continued with another huge hits in the late 70s, from “For Once In My Life” to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I”m Yours”. The success went on from the 70s to late 80s with another classic albums such as “Talking Book”, “Songs In The Key Of Life” and singles/hits such as “Superstition”, “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life”, “Sir Duke”, “I Wish”, “For Once in My Life”, “Higher Ground”, “Living for the City”, “Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing (popularized again big time by Incognito), “Pastime Paradise” (used by Coolio for his “Gangsta’s Paradise), “Isn”t She Lovely”, “You And I”, “Lately”, and “Overjoyed”. Again, time to time we find his jazzy touch over the Motown’s soul.

 

Many unforgettable hits, but perhaps the most famous hit of him is “I Just Called To Say I Love You” from the romcom The Woman In Red OST, which not only became #1 hit on charts all over the world, but also won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1985. Almost all of those hits are still covered over and over by many musicians from various genres until now. His other soundtrack works including “Stay Gold” from the Francis Ford Coppola”s “The Outsiders”, “These Three Words” from the Spike Lee’s “Jungle Fever” and the song “It”s You” which sang in a duet with Dionne Warwick (also from “The Woman In Red”). The song “Happy Birthday”, which’s still used in many birthday”s anthem until now, originally written for Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday campaign as a national day in 1980, and “Ebony and Ivory” (duet with Paul McCartney) was also marked his spirit as an human and peace activist.

Later on, Stevie Wonder was also collaborated with many great artist such as Michael Jackson, Julio Iglesias, USA For Africa”s “We Are The World” and the AIDS-inspired charity song, “That”s What Friends Are For”. It”s been over 20 years since his 1989’s show in Indonesia, but now here he’s again.

 

So many people queued long before the gate was opened. All of those patience are paid off when he stole the audience’s attention with the compilation of the track such as “How Sweet It Is”, “You and I”, “Overjoyed”, “I Just Called To Say I Love You”, “The Way You Make Me Feel” , “I’m Every Woman”, “For Once in My Life”,  “Don’t You Worry Bout A Thing”, “My Cherie Amour” and “Superstition”. Stevie looked as always, trying to cheer everybody’s mind up with sing along together with all his masterpiece and follow him scatting some words accompanied by his piano playing. One thing that we should note, Stevie Wonder’s daughter Aisha Morris was spotted within the backing vocals and they did a duet nicely.

Stevie Wonder is simply the biggest highlight of this year”s festival, and could be the greatest ever. There were too many moments to remember during the show, but for us it’s truly a blessing to be able to cover his very special show. Imagine watching Stevie live on stage for almost 3 hours. What a joy! One interesting fact: he didn’t even sip any drink at all during the show. How could he do that, we don’t know, but we do know he’s a wonder. Thank you Java Jazz Festival for inviting him here, and thank you Stevie for giving us such an unforgettable concert. May you be back again in the near future.

See more pictures:

[flickrset id=”72157629510458679″ thumbnail=”square” photos=”” overlay=”false” size=”medium”]

Team on duty:

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, Febrian Dirga, Bayu P Warjiyo

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Tjut Njak Deviana Daudsjah is one of the most famous names when we talk about the importance of music education, particularly jazz in this country. She spent her life for many decades in Germany, but then she came back home and established the Institut Musik Daya Indonesia together with the late jazz legend Nick Mamahit. This school adopts international curriculum in their education system but still holding tight to keep our own cultures and all its values.

Back then when she was still in Germany, she once established her own group Deviana Daudsjah Trio with Karoline Höfler  (Double Bass) and Béatrice Graf (Drums) playing all over Europe during 1990 to 1993, they became one of the best-known outstanding Female Jazz Trio in European Jazz scene. Now they are having a wonderful reunion in the name of Deviana und Freunde, and how fortunate it was for us to taste this special moment of reunion by watching such a beautiful show on stage.

From learning classical before he reached his teenage years then changed the course to jazz by studying with Indra Lesmana, then shortly after won the Jazz Goes to Campus Competition and arrived at the first ever Java Jazz Festival in 2005 was just some of the highlight you’ll find if you trace an amazing young pianist named Sri Hanuraga‘s history.

This young man has the complete skill like a pros who have done it for decades. His fingers can float amazingly fast when needed, so fast that your eyes won’t able to see the them anymore. That’s what he got after pursuing more education in Conservatorium van Amsterdam. While learning in there he already bagged many achievements including winning the soloist prize at the East of Eastern Jazz Festival in Nijmegen, one of the famous oldest cities located in the east of Netherlands (2006), runner up at the YPF Jazz Piano Competition, The Indonesian Young Talent Award by Java Jazz Festival and The European Keep an Eye Jazz Award 2011 for “Best Band” category. Staying in Netherlands enables him to go playing all over Europe as well as enriching himself with loads of experiences to become a world class piano player.

Speaking of recording, we have heard Aga’s tremendous playing with Riza Arshad, Indrawan Tjhin and Sandy Winarta in a group called “W/H/A/T”. (The album is available at our online store here:). Now Aga (that’s how his friends call him) steps higher by releasing his brand new album “Just Braggin'” as the debut album of his group named The Brag Pack this month. Other than himself on piano, for the festival Aga brings Slovenian drummer Kristijan Kranjcan and German bassist Theo Balbig. Just Braggin’ features lots of stunning free improvisations with mixtures of genres from Bebop, Post Bop to 20th Century Classical Music, pop and to rock. Other than the original compositions, the album contains original arrangements of Polish and also Indonesian traditional songs/anthems such as “Cublak Cublak Suweng” and “Bangun Pemuda Pemudi” in the style you’ve never heard before. (The album will be available at Jazzuality Online Store soon). Since the album’s still fresh from the oven, Aga and his trio used the album as their repertoires for this occasion.

Sri Hanuraga Trio‘s show was a sheer extacy for ‘hardcore’ jazz lovers who always expect a manic improvisations over varied rhythms, melodious compositions in tight harmony. What Aga showed tonight was amazing, just as his new album that we’ve listened eariler. We admire his worldclass skill and braveness in presenting jazz in such challenging, jaw-dropping way like this. Way to go, Aga!

Manna, a harmonious quartet which has fusion as their indirect power in music, consists of a marvelous bassist A.S Mates, multi-colored guitarist with delightful touch Achmad Ananda (Nanda), a superb drummer Jessilardus (Jessi) Mates, and an additional vocalist/rapper Fajri Rusani. After watching their performance several times in some other stages and listening to their debut album produced independently (the album is available at our online store: http://store.jazzuality.com/products/cd/manna/), it’s about time for us to see them again gracing the prestigious event like this.

After several years in business, this cross-generation band becomes more solid in harmony. One of the secret ingredients of this band is the way they keep each of their technique without making their music sounds difficult to the common listeners. About the vocal, Fajri stated that in this band vocal is functioned as the filler for the music which comes out from the instruments held by the rest of the band. “Guitar, bass and drums are not used just as the instruments to back the singer up, but they all go hand in hand with the vocal. We fill in each other, wrapped as one. That’s what Manna’s is about.” said Fajri.

From Nanda we got more insight info about the concept of Manna for Java Jazz Festival 2012. “We are trying to build a new concept of blending acoustic and groove sound with electronic music.” He gave an example of that with one of his composition called “Cross Culture” which they combined Asian melody, modern harmony and electronic groove with the ellegant touch of contrabass.

It is a contentment to had them on stage, a great group who creatively fuses jazz, rock, blues, funk, and other kinds of tune into one epic performance. Other than the song mentioned above, they played the light progressive song “Whatever”, “Something Different” which played with a little “odd meter” and rock touch, “Blues for Yan” and their winning song from Monk’s repertioire “In Walked Bud”, a cool tropicalistic song with some Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” and GnR’s surprising twist in the middle. If you are a big fan of jazz, rock and blues, if you love to see the combination of acoustic and electronic, these people are really into you. Java Jazz Festival 2012 is one of a promising event for Manna to show their musical characters, and we are happy to see them landing on this event. Keep up the good creation guys!

 

Do you still want to dive in jazz and feel ambience of this event? Some tributes highlighted this year’s Java Jazz Festival 2012. One of the special them was served grant at Kementrian Pariwisata (Ministry of Tourism) Stage 1 in paying the respect to a legendary Batavian artiste, Benyamin S. Born as Benyamin Sueb at Kampung Utan Panjang, Kemayoran, he pursued his career in many fields, from movie/television actor, comedian, singer and song writer. Benyamin often wrote funny lyrics, but make no mistake, he could give more than just entertainment with that. He could bring some reflections, critics or inspiring things along with the content. He’s made/involved in more than 75 albums (the last one was Al-Haj with Keenan Nasution), played in 53 movies and some populer soap opera for television. When we talk about his song style, he always stayed true in having his own culture exposed. He sang and wrote some songs dipped in gambang kromong style, some keroncong and dangdut were included, but amazingly he also infused wide arrays of western genres like soul, blues, funk, rock, latins, seriosa and even rap. His openness was supported with his love of improvisation, and there we see the connection between him and jazz.

Is that the only connection between Benyamin and jazz? Actually not. There was a time when he got encountered with jazz during the 50s and 60s. In his Melody Boys era in 1950s he did jazz with legend Jack Lemmers (the real name of Jack Lesmana) and Bill Saragih at Hotel Des Indes Jakarta. He passed away of heart attack in 1995, but his contributions, works and legacy will live forever.

To honor Benyamin S, some musicians joined hands together in paying him a special tribute. This idea is also appear in the shape of album through collaboration project consists of Indra Aryadi and Friends and as a surprise the CD launched today. Benyamin on Jazz – Tribute to the Legend was the name where they brought full respect to Benyamin S. The personnels are Indra on music director and accoustic guitar, Demas Narawangsa on drums, Zoltan Renaldi on electric bass, Yoseph Sitompul on keyboard, Reno Cast. They did several massive collaborations on stage. They greet the audience with a collaboration with Didiet on violin in “Sang Bangau”, next featuring Subway Heat they played “Nonton Bioskop”, then Indra Aryadi and Brinets Idol nicely served medley “Perkutut” and “Hujan Gerimis”, together with Indro Hardjodikoro they played “Nangke Lande”. Next stop was with Yessi Kristianto on “Superman”, then in harmony with Kristian Dharma Kriskruise on “Keluarga Gila”,  “Badminton” was brought by Krishna Balagita, Brinets ft IYR’s Albert Fakdawer sang on “Janda Kembang”, Soundshine ft. R2Rythm and all artists prominently closed their performance together on medley “Yang Paling Enak” and the most famous song of Benyamin S, “Kompor Meledug”. Many flavors, many vibrant colors, musical exploration in full variation of styles were performed by these talents. Thank you for an amazing show, guys! Rest in peace, Benyamin S, we will carry on your legacy.

In Bromo Serambi Jazz Room, another part of European – German jazz was ready to serve. Franck Amsallem is a French singer, conductor, composer, but well-known as jazz pianist who has already been in this environment for more than 35 years. No doubt for many famous artists he has colaborated including Maria Schneider, Charles Lloyd, Bobby Watson, Joe Chambers, Tim Ries, Gerry Muligan, Jerry Bergonzi, Harry Belafonte and Blood Sweat and Tears, but on the top of it, he always loves more to play by his own. His own way, his own composition, and his own concept. but on the top of it, playing alone in jazzy playground is more excited for him because of the deliberacy in exploring, creating, and having fun. Eventhough he gave up on classical piano at the first time, but afterwards he has proven that his decision now is the right one.

Franck who is on behalf of Serambi Jazz has performed in many major festivals and got a lot of experiences with other musicians. As the result, he earned many commendations and has released eight CDs under his name until now. We could clearly see how important the role of composition is for him by watching his show. Franck Amsallem on stage delivered the beauty correlation between him and the piano under lovely compositions, resulted one intimate moment for the people coming to his show. Perhaps music is never enough for him to explore and it is a positive profit for Franck’s lover to see his existency more and more.

For many years we’ve hooked into Chante Moore‘s mesmerizing soulful voice through some songs in our playlist directly from C2 Hall. Her seductive vocal touch in “Wey U” from Waiting to Exhale OST, the lovely collaboration with Kenny G in “One More Time” or her debut single in 1992, “Love Taken Over”, these songs have accompanied us for many years. She’s best known as a soul and RnB singer, but we’ll easily find some jazz splashes in her songs. It’s really a privilege for us to finally able to see her performing live right in front of our eyes.

Chante has been doing it for no less than 15 years. She grew up singing chruch, filled with lots of gospel music plus jazz albums from the likes of George Duke to Lee Ritenour. Being havily involved musically made her come to an important decision in her teens, that is to be a singer, especially after her peformance in the high school rendition of The Wiz. Outside the music career, she was also a successful beauty pageant contestant.

She joined El DeBarge in “In the Storm” before she made her debut album. More album came up after that such as “Precious, Love Supreme”, “This Moment Is Mine” all the way to her glorious duet album with husband Kenny Lattimore in “Uncovered/Covered”. After that she still released more albums such as “Love the Woman” and the upcoming “Changed”.

With the sparkling vocal quality that can easily be distinguished from other singers plus the over a decade career, Chante brings back the beauty of soulful RnB the way it was before this genre got ‘contaminated’ by far less melodious and profane lyrics. Moreover, her simple and natural jazzy touch is always a winner. For Java Jazz Festival she surprisingly brought Everette Harp along, so not only we got the chance to hear her wonderful voice, we also got the tasty sax lines from Everette as well. Thank you Java Jazz Festival for bringing this soulful songstress to Indonesia!

Those all for this section and do not forget to keep your mind updated in this last day of Java Jazz Festival 2012.

See more pictures:

[flickrset id=”72157629144353738″ thumbnail=”square” photos=”” overlay=”false” size=”medium”]

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, Febrian Dirga, Bayu P Warjiyo

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Here we are at the last day of Java Jazz festival 2012. Even though it’s a final day of the festival, but it doesn’t mean the lineup become less interesting. We actually have some legends and popular international stars that scheduled to appear in this very special day such as Stevie Wonder and Swing Out Sister. Not to mention that some other illuminate artists will also reprise their performances. Dave Koz, Al Jarrerau and George Duke Trio, Frank McComb, Phil Perry, David Sanborn, Pat Metheny, Bobby McFerrin are just some of the names. Other than that there are several important tributes to the late giants who have contributed big deal in Indonesia’s music history, most importantly jazz.

Four men united in a group called Streamline Quartet came with a mission of representing Solo’s SoJazz Society in this ocassion. Gave the chance for Aryo Ardityo (contrabass), Daniel Hibriyanto (guitar), Aditya Ong Permadi (piano) and Daniel Nugros (drum) plus three vocalists Cati Rahayu Wulandari, Monica Dyah P and Guruh Susilo ‘Sudavid’. to warmed up the stage and introduce another variant of music in different taste from the city in Central Java. The shade of Indonesian folksong appeared from the tracklist tonight. Their appearance at a festival as big as this is very important, because through them we can see that Solo actually is a city with huge jazz potential.

What’s interesting is they still carry on their culture in their peformance. Look at the song selections which included “Solo Di Waktu Malam.” After performing at jazz festivals such as Ngayogjazz and Solo City Jazz and regularly joined the local Solo event Parkiran Jazz, Streamline Quartet has taken another huge step by playing at the Java Jazz. Now they can aim much higher, not only because they were selected to join this year’s lineup but also for all the talent, passion and energy they have within. Keep jazzin’ Solo city!

From Solo we flew to Semeru Garuda Indonesia Hall where Sujiwo Tejo performed. We see him lots of times in television as someone who dares to express his opinion fearlessly. He’s one of the most famous artistes/humanists today in Indonesia where his activities range in many subjects and known as the ‘insane puppeteer’, painter, poet and of course a music artist who always care about the preservation of our cultures. Excentric, brilliantly smart and full blessedly gifted.

Speaking of music, he has released 4 albums, from the first one “Pada Suatu Ketika” (1999) until the latest one Yaiyo (2007). “Yaiyo is an idiom used by sindens (Javanese traditional singers) when they are already speechless over psychological pressings” he once said. What’s interesting about this album is that it was arranged jazzy by the senior bassist Bintang Indrianto. So, jazz is not something strange for him. One of the song from Yaiyo entitled “Ole Olang Wanita” was also adapted in Bintang Indrianto’s group “Akordeon” in a new bossa nova outfit. Other than this, Sujiwo Tejo has also performed in Java Jazz 2005 so he’s already familiar with the environment the least. For this year he brought a concept of combining singing and reading poems. Bintang Indrianto and Sruti joined him in this show.

As far as we know, this is the first time in Indonesia a symphony orchestra perform jazz repertoire in a segment. Twilite Orchestra, a group that established in 1991 by Addie MS, Indra U Bakrie and Oddie Agam, initially only with 20 musicians but later grew to hit the number of 70 musicians in it, did a brilliant job for that at this year’s Java Jazz Festival.

Of course, Addie MS is indubitable famous as maestro of orchestra in Indonesia, as we can see from his track record in having collaboration with numerous international musician such as David Foster, Maksim, Richard Clayderman, Il Divo, Robin Gibb of Bee Gees and Natalie Cole, just to name a few. Lots of achievement had been delivered to Twilite Orchestra in both regional and global level.

What a moment to remember in this show. The amazing Twilite Orchestra went totally out in bringing their jazzy side. They played jazz standards taken from American songbook and some bossanova classics. Some guest stars were featured in this magical show, including Japanese pianist Dr Kazuha Nakahara who wore traditional balinese outfit that gave us more traditional ambience on the stage. What a beauty when Dr Kazuha Nakahara, a versatile pianist/teacher and also the head of piano program of UPH Conservatory of Music played Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” with the orchestra. Addie MS told a little story about the legendary arranger before playing. It was magical, glorious and unforgettable. The orchestra was also brought The Beatles’ all time classic “A Hard Days Night” with Addie MS’ wife Memes, “What a Wonderful World” with Raisa, “Aquarela do Brasil” with The Brothers, “Cheek to Cheek” with Andien, “The Big Spender” with Dira Sugandi and “My Way” with Sandy Sondoro.  The 14 year old Rega Dauna and pianist Hector Infanzon from Mexico were also participated in this interesting show.

It’s rare to see a symphony orchestra plays full jazz like this, but thanks to Java Jazz and of course Addie MS’ Twilite Orchestra, now a new experience of jazz is added to our memory. Salute to this team for giving such a cutting-edge in this live performance industry.

It is not strange to see this man wandering Java Jazz Festival area year by year. Jopie Item along with his big family are well-known for their musical heritage. Three generations of musical greatness, from the big contribution of Lodi Item in the early Indonesian jazz years to his son, Jopie Item, and three children of Jopie, including Audi. Lodi famous as guitarist who played melodic with three fingers with enormous speed and Jopie is surely heired this musical talent in another way. Once again he has the opportunity to meet his loyal lover on B2 Hall Kementerian Perdagangan. Age will never be the right measurement of everything, including the ability in playing music. Jopie showed the yougster that he still got it all among the newcomer after many years did so many experiences in showbiz. No matter what the genre is, jazz, blues, rock, pop and whatever, this man can always pin them all perfectly with his exceptional, personal touch. Experiments in life tell everything, his skill and stage-act are no need to doubt. Together with his son, they entertained us on jazzy Sunday at B1 Hall. This reminded us of spontaneus stage-act on 2008 and was followed in 2009 when he performed with Audi, his daughter. Keep jazzin’ Jopie Item, hope to see you again next year!

Moved into Lawu Medco Accoustic Hall, Heaven on Earth (HOE), a bold, energetic dynamic and explorative Progressive Fusion Jazz group finally has landed on Java Jazz Festival’s soil. This is the group to watch if you are a jazz lover that enjoys challenging compositions got perfectly executed. This group was first formed by the playing keyboardist Tedjo Bhayu Adjie in 2003. After releasing one album, he and another personnel Ossa Sungkar (drums/percussions) felt the neccessity to bring this band into a new height. They wanted to create more daring and more experimental group, something that could become a home for their artistic ideas without thinking much of the major trends in music industry. Having that in mind, they brought a skillful bassist Franky Sadikin in. They needed two years to form a solid concept. Hence, in 2007 they made their first appearance at the JGTC and a year later at the JakJazz 2008.

From there this group of three worked on their first album, which finally launched last year. Giving it the title of Metamorphosis, Heaven on Earth intended to show their growing process. Just like a butterfly that has to go trhough some phases: from egg to catepillar, pupa and finally transformed as a beautiful and ellegant butterfly. Now that they are ready to fly, nothing better for them to arrive big at the biggest jazz bash on earth.

Speaking of Java Jazz Festival, this group is not a stranger at all. They have performed three times before at the 2005, 2007 and 2008 edition. For their 4th appearance HOE specifically brought songs from their Metamorphosis album. “Camel Rider” became the first song where they pictured the intense heat burning a camel rider in a hot Sahara desert. They kept going with “Drum Overture”, “Cheer, Tear and Fear”, “Song For Revina” and “Buenos Dias Mi Cielo” which appeared in unique rhythm format, challenging and dynamic.

Speaking of a trio who dares to explore fusion in progressive pattern in full freedom, this group gave another different atmosphere in this festival. Happy to see them again for the fourth time, best of luck to Heaven on Earth. After the metamorphosis phases are done, go fly high, butterflies!

Ask your parents, they would surely know the song called “Widuri”. Most of the youngsters would still know this song too. This song belong to a legendary male singer with more than half a century career, Bob Tutupoly. He’s been called Indonesia’s Harry Belafonte by many, not just because his vocal style and ability match with Harry, but also since Bob used to sing his songs too in the old days, especially when he joined the Jazz Riders with Didi Chia, Oele and Perry Pattiselano and others back in the 60s. Beside singing Harry Belafonte’s songs, Bob also sang a lot of standards during that time, before he switched to pop and sang a lot of evergreen hits that are still well remembered until now.

Last November Bob Tutupoly announced his comeback into the music industry by having Maia Estiyanti as his producer. As a result, a new album titled “Melodi Cinta” was made, and of course that marked his return to live stage performance as well, including a big landing on the Java Jazz Festival 2012. For this event, Bob Tutupoly prepared a very special theme of tributing two of Indonesia’s biggest artistes ever, Bing Slamet and Sam Saimun. What’s even better is that he brought two other legends on stage, Titiek Puspa and Grace Simon.

Bob is now 73 years old, but he’s still healthy and passionate as ever. This wasn’t his first appearance at the Java Jazz Festival though, because he was already did that several times, such as in 2006 (together with Bubi Chen) and also in 2009 as a part of Amboina Jazz. We’re happy to see him again though for this year’s installment.

Bing Slamet was very well known as a comedian and movie actor especially in his period with Ateng, Iskak and Eddy Soed in the early 70s, but only a few still remember that he was once a famous singer too and also capable to write songs. He sang pop, traditional, keroncong and also jazz. His tender smooth vocal was often compared to Nat King Cole or Bing Crosby, his idol, the star that he took his first stage-name from. In the 50’s he often played with some earliest jazz legends of Indonesia such as Nick Mamahit, Max Van Dalm, Van Der Capellen and Dick Abel. He also sang often with another jazz legend Eddy Karamoy during that period. Another group he was involved that we have to mention is Eka Sapta, joining Ireng Maulana, Benny Mustafa, Itje Kumaunang and Idris Sardi in the early 60s.

Sam Saimun was a pop/keroncong singer with thick and soft vocal too, similiar to Bing Slamet. The name might not be familiar to the modern generation, but you would remember some of his ageless songs such as Ismail Marzuki’s “Juwita Malam”, “Di Sudut Bibirmu” or Mochtar Embut’s classic “Di Wajahmu Kulihat Bulan”. Just like his long time friend Bing Slamet, his vocal tone was often compared to Nat King cole too. He also performed a lot with Eddy Karamoy in his hey-day.

In this very very touching show they brought several evergreens from the legends. Bob Tutupoly sang “Nurlaila”, “Nonton Bioskop”, “Esok Malam kan Kujelang” (with Grace Simon), “Di Wajahmu Kulihat Bulan” (with Titik Puspa). For the last presentation, the three of them sang a song which Titiek Puspa wrote in full sadness when she heard about Bing Slamet’s passing titled “Bing”. This show also feature band which consisted of legendary musicians including Oele Pattiselano (guitar), Jeffrey Tahalele (bass), Benny Mustafa Van Diest (drums).

What could be better than having this very special tribute served by their own friends? Bob Tutupoly, Titiek Puspa and Grace Simon were all their close friends when they were still alive. For Titiek Puspa, Bing Slamet and Sam Saimun were both dear friends and teachers. It was such a very special show that could bring tears to the senior audience’s eyes. Legends tributing Legends, that’s what we call it. It was memorable, it was touching and full of respect. Four thumbs up to Java Jazz Festival for having this show!

Jumped in to the B2 Kementerian Perdagangan Hall. This trio is bunch of Indonesia’s well-known singers, we can tell. We mean, if there are Tompi, Glenn Fredly and Sandhy Sondoro collaborated in a one hell of a group, that’s the words you are going to use. Crowds expectations will rise above the bar for those guys gather altogether on stage.
We give you a peek about what to expect when you see Trio Lestari perform: they bring out a whole new concept in music staging. They are not only collaborating in singing but also in both idea and concept sharing. Tompi said “I’ve been waiting for singing with them from the start.” Thus, related to those idea and concept sharing, he added “and that’s why we love to share to the public.”

They mean the words “we love to share to the public” because based on what we watched, they gave out the best they can. In this stage they also brought a band that included Nicky Manuputy (saxophone) and Jordy Waelauruw  (Trumpet) along. The venue was packed up because as you know, the three of them has a lot of fans. So you can imagine when they establish a group together. We wish Trio Lestari a tons of luck in the future!

All the very best of Java Jazz Festival 2012 Sunday lineup is yet to come, so stay tune for our reports at Jazzuality.com!

See more pictures:

[flickrset id=”72157629143398866″ thumbnail=”square” photos=”” overlay=”false” size=”medium”]

Team on duty:

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, Febrian Dirga

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Here comes our last report for the second day by reporting some of the last stages which played late. Enough said about this band. We mean, if you talking about Indonesiaís blues band, who else are you looking for? Gugun Blues Shelter always comes up in our mind first. A band that consists of Muhammad ‘Gugun’ Gunawan (vocal/guitar), John Armstrong (bass), and Aditya ‘Bowie’ Wibowo (drummer). have played internationally in few festivals such as in England, Skegness Rock and Blues Festival, in Timbre Rock and Roots Festival in Singapore also Shanghai World Expo in China.

In 2011, they even won a band competition which brought them to London, England and played on stage along with world notable rock band, Bon Jovi.

Representing the blasting rockin’ high blues line with unstoppable funk, Gugun Blues Shelter burned their stage in this festival as always. If hearing them play is already great, this time they brought the game higher by featuring rhodes player Tony Monaco and the funk/soul man Robert Randolph. Marvelous and fire burning show it was, where we got more vibrant colors by still listening to the soul of Gugun Blues Shelter.

Having a band who has reached the international scale like them will always be a pride for us, and certainly they should perform in the world-class festival like this, especially when it’s held in our own soil.

Talked about the late Barry White, this legend of romantic soul has enchanted us with the sexy image from his unique bass voice during his long career as singer-composer and a songwriter. Many 70’s audience considered White as a disco-singer in that era, with the massive hits such as “You”re The First, The Last, My Everything” and “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love” among so many other hits.

He won 2 Grammys and lines of gold to platinum album and singles, Barry White also formed Motown-like girl groups “The Love Unlimited” and later in 1972 with some hits including “I’m So Glad That I’m a Woman” and “I Belong to You”. Then we also have to mention his classic “The Love Unlimited Orchestra” with the everlasting instrumental composition” Love”s Theme”, which set a record as a first instrumental recording reached the #1 on Billboard Pop Charts. The way he used the orchestra in bringing ‘feel-good’, sexy, seductive melodies to fit the disco/funk music which was in at that time. He still carried on many years later until his last day in 2003. He’s truly a legend, and absolutely one of the legends to be remembered. In this year’s festival, we might not have Barry White himself as he already left us his music legacy. But other performers will sing his hits in a full-length performances, The Barry White show courtesy of Pleasure Unlimited Orchestra.

Let’s take a look at the Pleasure Unlimited Orchestra. The multi instrumentalist/talent (drummer, keyboardist, vocalist, producer, director and composer) James Simpson is the founder of it. He’s been in the business for over 25 years and built the orchestra in 2008. What he and the whole gang intended to do is to reproduce the sound and high standard of live Soul, R&B, Funk, Pop and Jazz music as it was in the 60s, 70s and 80s, or if you want to put it simple, to bring back great musicians playing ‘real music’ just like the old times. One of the famous products of this orchestra is Barry White Show, where they brought the silky smooth voice vocalist Sire interprets and pays tribute to Barry White.

Anyone who was born between 1970 to 1980 would remember Barry White’s hits. So this show brought all those memories when Barry’s romantic, soulful and fully melodious songs ruled the music scene. Right after “Never Gonna Give You Up”, they continued on with many other hits such as “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe”, “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” and Just the Way You Are”. “There were many people sang along and even dance in the disco-fashioned way during this show. James Simpson’s Pleasure Unlimited Orchestra and Sire were really great in bringing Mr White back alive. “It’s like as if I’m watching Barry White himself on stage..right guys?” one of the audience said to his friends which got approved instantly. Tribute to Barry White can’t be better than this. James Simpson and his orchestra did a marvelous job tonight. Again, a very lovely show that we will remember for a long time.

Six Japanese musicians gather at A1 BNI Hall stage in an outfit with a mission presenting pulse live act in Soil & “Pimp” Sessions that includes Shacho (spirit, agitator), Tabu Zombie (trumpet), Motoharu (sax), Josel (piano), Akita Goldman (bass) and Midoryn (drums). It is a pleasure to see their second shot to play in Java Jazz Festival 2012 after their first strike to Indonesia on the previous year of 2009.  As a matter of fact that they are electro jazz players but they define themselves as deathjazz possesor due to the detail that their music always anesthetizes the crowd. They carry out jazz with bebop and hardbop inside, with lively trumpet sound, free exploration in the spirit of punk that also attached. Furthermore, they are rebellious as their attitude. As you can see an agitator added in the group by catching sight to Shacho’s role in doing the primary mantle as the spectator stimulator by messing around both part of emotion.

Moved to Outdoor stage 2. “No other bassist in Indonesia can present funk music in the groovy way Yance Manusama does.” This line was written in the official Java Jazz Festival’s magazine “Music”, 2010 edition. The writer wasn’t exaggerating at all, because this man can make you get into the groove in no time once he touches his bass. For this edition of Java Jazz Festival Yance was quite busy. Not only playing as Trioscapes with Riza Arshad and Aksan Sjuman, he also played under his own group, the Funky Thumb.

This is the group where he can unleash his tasty and strong flavor of funk freely. If you are a long time jazz fans in Indonesia, you should remember when this group appeared often around 2004 to 2007 with quite large formation. They played at the first ever Java Jazz Festival in 2005 and a charity show for the Aceh tsunami victims called “Jazz Untuk Aceh” (Jazz For Aceh). At this special show, Yance Manusama brought a full lineup including Glen Dauna (piano), Rayendra Sunito (drums), Lian Panggabean (guitar) plus the brass section featuring Arief Setiadi (tenor sax), Dony Koeswinarno (alto sax) and Kevin Walsh (trumpet) plus Tompi on vocal. After being on hiatus for some years, suddenly we got them back again on March 2011 as the featured star of Mostly Jazz XII. Again the group appeared at the newest form of Mostly Jazz, the Red White Jazz Lounge as one of the artists for November 2011 program.

It’s about time for Yance Manusama’s Funky Thumb to reappeared on the stage of Java Jazz Festival where Yance delivered a cool funkylines over his bass with his thumb. Joining him on stage were the complete team including Tompi and Simon also featuring Najwa Mahiaddin (usually called just by Najwa), a strong soulful singer from Malaysia. Najwa is one of the shining young female vocalists in Malaysia. Once in our interview with Atilia four years ago, she mentioned Najwa together with Kokokaina and Noryn Aziz as young talents who have developed a style all their own. (Read the interview here). Najwa’s appearance as a featuring artist in this session continued their fruitful collaboration after Yance’s involvement in Najwa’s album “Innocent Soul” produced by Widi Puradiredja. It was a delightful show where we could taste the funky beat brought by the man with the magic thumb, Yance Manusama.

Now let’s have some groove with Soulvibe, a groove pop jazz band from Indonesia which formed oficially in 2003 after having several personnel changes. They released debut album in 2008 by pouring message of love, mainly for young listeners. Seven guys who really delivered the energy and vitality into their musical instruments, already have number of lovers, particularly since their second album “Antartika” that has a very popular single with the same name. Fresh electro jazz is more prominent in the second one.

If you love the catchy melodious groove, this group is one of those that you have to listen to. This popular band consists of Bayu Adi and Rizqi Ranadireksa (Abenk) (vocal), Ramadhan Handyanto Jiwatama (bass), Adhika Satya Winasis (guitar), Mohamad Caesar Rizal (drums/percussions), Adrianto Ario Seto (synth) and Frans Martatko Filman (keys). They love to bring the dancing tune from the stage but other than that they can also bring some unique concept, just like the way they did in last year’s Soulnation when they collaborated with DYZTRK in adding up some 8bit ‘chiptunes’ under the name of VIBETRONIK. It was really unique, as if we were listening to Soulvibe inside the Gameboy. (Read our coverage from that moment here). So musically speaking, they are not just great in making people dance but they are also smart in ideas.

For their landing on this year’s Java Jazz Festival’s soil, they brought their well known songs taken from the whole three albums  such as” Masih”, “Tiada Kusangka”, “Adinda”, “Berlian”, “Dan Bila”, “Dilema”, “At Least Today”, “Sya La La”, “Arti Hadirmu”, “Your Smile”, “Biarlah” and one encore, “Antartika”.

This is the end of our report from day 2 of the Java Jazz Festival 2012. So far this year’s edition has brought so many highlights until we lost count. Stay tuned for our last day report from stage to stage here at Jazzuality.com!

See more pictures:

[flickrset id=”72157629139968206″ thumbnail=”square” photos=”” overlay=”false” size=”medium”]

Team on duty:

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, Febrian Dirga

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Sister Duke was initially formed as a duo consisted of Nengah Krisnarini and her friend in university years in Sydney. Then it left Nengah alone but she still moved on. What does not kill you makes you strong, this words happened to her. After the separation, she became the main producer, singer, vocal arranger, and songwriter of Sister Duke. “Kreyzie” was a big hit several years ago and the album “Highlights of the Day” still runs nicely in our store until today. Recently Nengah a.k.a Sister Duke released the brand new single entitled “MYOB” as a free download song (download it here) and again received good comments from the fans. If you haven’t heard her yet, Nengah will make you simply fall in love with her right from the first note.

“The concept for this year is full of surprises”, said Nengah before the show. That was proven when the intro “Senandung Untukmu” had “Take Five” played by the musicians while the backing vocals sang “Let the experience be the highlight of the day” or when “Symphony of Apology” with the famous bassline of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”. “Terbang Tinggi” with Katy Perry’s “Fireworks”, “Wanna Make You Mind” with Rihanna’s “We Found Love” and “Kreyzie” were also taken from her previous album released several years ago. Other than these songs, Sister Duke a.k.a Nengah also sang some of the songs from the upcoming album incuding the hit single “M.Y.O.B” and the unreleased “Been Thru.”

The full band accompanying her in this festival were Zulfadli ‘Joel’ (bass/music director), Haris Pranowo (keys), Adrian ‘Kitut’ Purwanto (synth), Rencong (DJ/turntablist), Krystal ‘Itchel’ Tahalele and Izqie Fidian (backing vocals). In the end she sang “We Are One” where everyone sang “People of the world, it’s time for us to reunite” to speak out the spirit of the song. Another energetic and lively show from Sister Duke stage. It’s great to see them again at this year’s Java Jazz Festival and let’s hope for the best for their upcoming new album.

Now let’s grab some ethnical ambience at another stage. A great talent and high creativity never come to an end, that is why this group is defined as a seamless art of jazz. The guitar master Tohpati does the ensemble together with Indro Hardjodikoro (bass), Diki Suwarjiki on (traditional sundanese flute), Endang Ramdan on rebana, gong, kenong and Demas Narawangsa on drums, rebana, and kempluk, together they formed a brilliant ensemble named Tohpati Ethnomission. A complete package of fusion jazz and ethnic that gives a total difference compare to another ethno group and it is proven by their album, Save The Planet (available at our online store) which is distributed internationally under Moonjune Records and locally under Demajors Independent Music Industry got good critics worldwide.

With Tohpati Ethnomission, this guitar virtuoso has all the chance to explore his true capability in fusing the ethnical terms into a progressive modern jazz fusion. He does loads of experiments in creating his signature over the music dimension which not many dare to go into. “He is brilliant..he can make it (the combination between east and west) so seamless. The composition blends them all perfectly into one.” said partner Indro Harjdodikoro once to us about this group. Since the album goes internationally, Tohpati Ethnomission has  performed in many other sides of the world, including Netherlands, Berlin and also at Sao Paulo, Brazil under the flag of Virada Cultural Festivalwith the crazy hype from the audience as the result.

Other than his Tohpati Bertiga, Supersonic and other solo projects, Tohpati Ethnomission stands as one of the most brilliant project of Tohpati. We can taste his excellence in composition especially in having the ethnical pattern blended seamlessly with the always progressive modern jazz. What a joy to have them here tonight!

It was a privilage to see Tony Monaco year after year. He first joined the Java Jazz Festival’s ensemble in 2006 and from that moment we regularly seen him around the fest. He’s one of the world’s best Hammond B3 players. He plays organ like a wizard. Fierceful, wild with all the body gestures plus facial expressions included. In his hand, Hammond B3 is a lethal axe that is always ready to chop all the stunned audience.

As a leader in the modest revival of Hammond in jazz he loves to bring more flexibility into his compositions and playing. His interest with organ was has many stories. One of the unique one was when he got called by Jimmy Smith as his 16th birthday present. From there he was asked to play at Jimmy Smith’s club, and the rest is history.

Being here every year since 2006 makes him familiar enough with Indonesia and its jazz musicians. He has performed with the Pattiselano brothers (Oele and Jacky) among other Indonesian artists, including a memorable collaboration with Slank at Java Jazz Festival 2009. So here we are again having a blast over the vintage sound of Hammond organ, courtesy of its own master, Tony Monaco.

We checked in at Bromo Serambi Jazz Room. Boby Limijaya 8 Horns Band is something that we should pay attention for; they are also under Serambi Jazz banner. After performing in several jazz festivals in Indonesia, now in JJF 2012 he differently brought a formation consist of his self as conductor/composer, Irsa Destiwi as pianist, Bonar Abraham as electric bassist, Robert Mulyarahardja as electric guitarist, Wahyu Prastya as drummer, Revie Pongoh as percussion player, Harry Winanto as flutist, Bayu Anggoro as clarinetist, Oktavianus Syendy Untoro and Harmoniadi as trumpeter, Leonardus J Mulyanto as alto saxophonist, Donna Koeswinarso as tenor saxophonist, Eka Febru as baritone saxophonist, and Widiyekso Supramono as trombone player. What a big skillful band to shake the folks.

One uniqueness of Boby is his mimic that shows the seriousness when he plays piano; like there is no other things except the melody he played. Boby also has his own special reason why he brought 8 horns band along. It is because of the instrumentations, he said, “The sounds is very modern. I really inspired by what I saw when I was at Berklee for having 8 horns jazz band”. Boby promised some special compositions for this event and as we can hear he really prepared the richness of tunes for the stage; it is also shown the inspiration and passion he has towards several artists who have inspired him, such as Maria Schneider, Duke Ellington, Frank Macchia, Ted Jones, Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Lyle Mays, Herbie Hancock, George Russell, Billy Childs, Dave Holland, Charles Mingus and so on.

It might be easy for us to think that Boby would bring mostly swing by having the 8 horns in, but he never intended it that way. He promised from the beginning to bring varied compositions with many styles, not only swing style. What he always wants to show is how he’s trying to explore his musicality based on what he hear, feel and see around him. And all of these things were shown clearly on his performance.

As the opening, they greeted the crowds with the ‘perfect’ “10’s” and going forward to “Mr. M”. All tracks were wonderfully composed by Boby Limijaya. The third song was “E.L.I.C.” then continued with “A.TS (Across the Street)”,”Journey” and “White Windy and Me”. Watch out for this man, because you’ll hear much more of him in the near future.

This is what all Mayer Hawthorne‘s hype was coming from. Got famous with the stage name, Cohen is an American multitalented musician and producer. Together with The County, a name he proposed to call anyone who contribute in his album, either to sing or play musical instruments. Plenty of songs he made and produced got popularity after released, some of them are featured in movie or series. Another talent of him is ability to doing rap, so that is one of the reason why his first musical experience was in hiphop and is also currently recognized as a DJ, besides his role as producer, songwriter, arranger and studio engineer. Covering a very wide genres, Mayer Hawthorne brought one highly interesting and entertaining show at this year’s festival.

Jumped off to the Semeru Garuda Indonesia Stage. In the world of pop drums and bass mostly work side by side in guiding the rhythm and providing the base, but it works differently in jazz. In jazz, in many cases the drums and bass can act more than just holding the pulse of the band. There are many iconic pairs doing their thing in this field such as Jymie Merritt and Art Blakey, Ron Carter and Tony Williams and Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones. Here’s another partner who can highlight the pleasuring connection between drums and bass in such excellent, the band of brothers, Carl Allen on drums and Rodney Whitaker on bass.

Both of them are the master in each field. This partner has been working side by side for many years, even released their album entitled “Get Ready” in 2007 then followed by the most recent album, “Work to Do”. They play the delightful combination between pop, soul, RnB, gospel and everything else, including pleasuring straight ahead and other jazz spins. They still give challenging improvisation in their show, but at the same time they care of responding to the audience’s reaction. “What’s important is that everybody is having a good time”, said Whitaker once, that’s what they are focusing on but at the same time we heard the tremendous connection between bass and drums in such a style we rarely heard. Great!

Stay tune for more reports about Java Jazz Festival 2012!

 

See more pictures: [flickrset id=”72157629138519120″ thumbnail=”square” photos=”” overlay=”false” size=”medium”]

Team on duty:

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, Febrian Dirga

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There are so many brief biography of Pat Metheny that you can find out there, but for us he is a legendary guitarist that can always open up the labyrinthine progression of a jazz tune and knows how to find a way out from it. Metheny has seen and done it all. you name it. Grammy winner? Record Sales? Solid fanbase all around the world? Inspiring many guitarists? All check. Being a great guitarist with the ability to compose, he has painted the jazz industry with so many creations. Fluid improvised lines in high picking technique, never play the same thing at all no matter how, what, when or where he’s at.

Ask any guitarist around, they will certainly name Metheny as one of their source of inspiration. He’s a guitarist who loves challenges. He might be best known for his part with Pat Metheny Group which has ranged in side from 4 up to 7 players since the group was established in 1977. Many of his fans also remember his work in Gary Burton Quartet, the group where he started to join since he was still 19 years old. Then let’s not forget his Pat Metheny Trio with two albums in hand just right at the new millenium.

A few of us know that he actually started with trumpet when he was still 8 years old. After 4 years with this instrument, he decided to go with guitar for good. Just 3 years later he already played regularly with jazz musicians around Kansas City and then got his chance to go international in 1974 with Gary Burton. His first album “Bright Size Life” (released in 1975) was believed by many as an album where he reinvented the traditional jazz guitar sound for a new generation of players. He’s never against technology. He has even continued to re-define the style by utilizing the new technology. He has performed with who’s who of music industry, as diverse as Ornette Coleman, Herbie Hancock, Jim Hall, Milton Nascimento and David Bowie. His partnership with Lyle Mays in writing/composing has been established for more than 20 years. He’s played in so many sizes of bands, from solo guitar, small ensembles, combo to large sized orchestras with genres ranging from modern jazz, rock to even classical.

Two years ago he surpirsed the music listeners especially his fans by making an unpredictable breakthrough by making up an innovation called the Orchestrion. Here Metheny stepped much more further than a guitar player by commanding the orchestra. If it wasn’t strange enough, it’s Metheny who’s in charge as the dirigent. His Orchestrion Project has a very unique concept has the word innovations on multiple technical levels. It’s not static, being something that had been pre-programmed earlier, but this Orchestrion has the ability to swing and surprise. It allows him to improvise as much as he likes, change tempos, change keys and so on. Basically, he can do anything he want.

It was a brilliant invention that actually based on the history of recording from the late 19th to early 20th. At that time the piano was played mechanically by moving rolls of paper through a mechanism that physically moved the keys, which once known as piano rolls. This method was used by many famous piano player during that time from Claude deBussy, Scott Joplin to George Gershwin. Then the next logical step was to apply the some principle to accomodate other orchestral instruments including percussions and mallets. These large instrument arrays were called orchestrions. He once built a recording upon the idea of using studio as the instrument by layering several guitars on top of each other to create an ensemble sound in 1978 in “New Chautauqua”. But since everything was still limited at that time, only 32 years later he could do something like this by using the modern technology.

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The second day of Java Jazz Festival has started! Some of the stages had already rest their cases since 5:00 pm such as Smart Reborn and Farah Di. Not that many crowds yet, but some people who wanted to have the jazzin’ party at max stood around the stages watching their selected performers.

Smart Reborn, another jazz pop group from North Sulawesi formed of Dwight as vocalist, Kiki as pianist, Jack as guitarist, Jonly as saxophonist, Benny as bassist, and Valent as drummer warmed up the Brava Esquire Stage. Eventhough the members have diverge background but they able to unite the diversity and produce such sophisticated and elegant music. Every personal experience of the members gives good and fresh contributions for the band. As the result, their creation can fit into listeners ears and enyoyable. They brought up folk songs from Manado for some special purposes; after adding some jazzy nuance here and there they nicely served it to the audience and uniquely sung in their native language. Proud to have such a band who concerns to our folk songs.

In this lovely Saturday, we enjoyed another perspective of jazz. Yes, it came out from a wonderful kid named Farah Di who had released her own album in 2008 titled Merah Biru. She is one of a kind, it is rare to find a young singer who sings child songs, but Farah did it beatifully. Having such powerful, clear and bright vocal, she could already able to sing in front of the big band in her tender age, and for sure she has the breath of jazz in her vocal tone. It is clearly shown from her strong and pure voice. On the stage, Farah Di performed along with JZ-One which consists of Muhammad Reyhan Akil as pianist, Muhammad Rizky Abdullah as bassist, Dio Rizky Perdana as drummer, Muhammad Rashid Habibi as saxophonist, Muhammad Topan Iskandar as guitarist, Harley Miximiliaan Davy as trumpeter, Fairuz Iftikhari as trombone player, Nastiti Frawitasari, and Fellyygha Eddryla as backing vocalists. The lively stage gave us such an enthusiasm to sing along with a sense of modern music. The former experiments they had done absolutely sharpened their skills as they offered us in their song list. The journey for Farah Di is still opened widely since her teen age. Hoping the best for her persistence and consistency.

A very interesting ensembles are on duty to bring the Java Jazz Festival’s hype into the region. Indonesian Youth Regeneration (IYR), started as a band consisted of potential young guns under 20 years old, including Dennis Junio (sax), David Manuhutu (piano), Albert Fakdawer (vocal), Demas Narawangsa (drums), Reno Castello (guitar), Timothy Luntungan (synth) and Enos Martyn (bass) warmed up Outdoor Stage 2. These fire-up boys claimed a prestigious achievement when they won the Gold Medal and the Grand Champion of the Great Eastern International Kids Performing Festival in Singapore. Now the core member consists of Albert Fakdawer (vocal), Demas Narawangsa (drums), Dennis Junio (sax), Reno Castello (guitar) and Ankadiov Subran (bass) still carries on the mission to spread the love over their ear-catchy, soulful and groovy jazz tunes. This is the kind of band that we don’t really need to wait until they go mature, because even now they already have it all. Fly high, IYR, keep showing the world that young boys can do great things too.

More sweet voices and faces are going to color Java Jazz 2012 in B2 Kementrian Perdagangan Hall. Sierra Soetedjo is one of them. The lady who got her Bachelor Degree of Music in Jazz Performance at Edith Cowan University, Australia has truly bright and smooth voice which mesmerize everyone and ready to take over Indonesiaís jazz music spotlight.

Her affection of music started since she was a little kid. “From that moment I became more realized that music is my energy!” (you may want to recall her exclusive interview on Jazzuality here). As her affection and talent in music developing, she has loads of experience in collaborating with some of great jazz musicians like Idang Rasjidi, Ireng Maulana, and of course, who could forget the moments when she joined Bubi Chen for many occasions until he passed away just two weeks ago. If we go back several years ago, in 2008, Sierraís sweet voice captivated Tompi, and she was trusted to play an important role thereafter on a duet project in a song called “Love Letter.”

Her debut album is titled “The Only One”, taken from the title track which covered Adi Bing Slamet’s classic song. Other than bringing this forgotten song back alive, she serves a sweet bossa party in this album. “Taking on genre of jazz, I mostly include the sense of bossanova here. All is recycled songs, but this is such a very easy listening album which is worth to listen,” she said with smile to us. So here’s the stunningly beautiful girl gifted with lovely sweet voice making her way through the Java Jazz Festival 2012. “Save The Last Dance For Me”

Let us take a look atLawu Medco Acoustic Hall tonight. If you ever watched “Pintu Terlarang” movie, this band is the music creator, Notturno. In April 2010 while preparing the third album (Volume 2: Lyrikal Adventure), they released an independent digital album by playing live recording for 40 minutes. Started by friendship between three guys (Joshua, Cak Hend, and Masmo) eventually decided to unite in a trio ensamble. Since 2005, they’ve been collaborating with Beben Jazz’s ensamble and other artists. During almost seven years in gracing the stages, they participated many musical shows both local and international. Such as Java Jazz Festival 2005-2006 ith BQ, Jakarta International Jazz Festival 2006-2008, played as host band in a talk show tv program “City View” at JakTV, KJK’s special event, Malacca Strait Jazz Festival 2008, Ngayogjazz 2008, ASEAN Jazz Festival 2009, Jazz Goes To Campus 2009, Solo City Jazz Festival 2009, and again in Java Jazz Festival 2010, and more.

With a new drummer (Dimas Pradipta) who replaced Cak Hend, this team got new flavor that enriched their music in beat and rhythm. The three of them still active in Komunitas Jazz Kemayoran, a jazz lovers community, not only for players but also for the enthusiasts.

Keep your spirit on fire with jazz for this whole night. What to say about Barry Likumahuwa Project (BLP)? young, fresh, and groovy. Yes, they are such a “spearheads” for the young side and they still manage to be the youngsters’ favorite preference in every jazz events as we speak. And that makes us wonder, Will they bring something edgy or different in this year’s Java Jazz Festival or just stand on their comfort zone?

Well here is the answer. They definitely brought something edgy to the stage. Musicians may regularly play at Java Jazz Festival every year but they will bring something that pointed out their performance. So do BLP. Unlike what you think, in this edition of Java Jazz, BLP raised up the game by performing with Ricky Lionardi Big Band. It was ais nice combination between groove and big band in creating a new face of BLP and Ricky Lionardi Big Band.

Ricky Lionardi is a senior composer who is passionate about big band, therefore he is accustomed to work with it. He is also active as music producer, arranger, and film composer. Some of his works which you can recognize are in Original Soundtrack of “Simfoni Luar Biasa Movie” where he conducted as music scoring, songs arranger and music producer and as producer yet arranger of Christian Bautista. Ricky is not a stranger to Java Jazz Festival as well. He has performed before, for example at 2006 edition with Edo Kondologit.

Having BLP along with big band presented a new way to enjoy BLP. Still with the funky ingredients that have captured the hearts of the youngsters, now the sound became even richer by the help of Ricky Lionardi Big Band. It was proven by the crowd’s enthusiasm when they closed their act by singing “Generasi Synergy” featuring Aji Idol and others. Very interesting twist indeed!

“I have been brought up by my parents with jazz, with latin, with Brazilian music, with French.. so actually I knew all these songs. So you know, when you get the chance to make a recording with actually your favorite music, jazzy, crooners, Sinatra, you feel happy and you grab that chance.” That was said by the lady with really exceptional artistic vocal quality, Laura Fygi 3 years ago when we met her before she performed at the Java Jazz 2009. These two sentences came from her to explain how she turned herself to be a jazz singer after her “Centerfold” era, her former sexy girls group that actually played pop with rock touch. plus she also refered to her latest album at that time, “Rendez-Vouz”. (read the complete interview here). “Rendez-Vouz” is the album where she took some evergreens from Great American Songbook but sang them all in French. This album was very popular. Some of the fans even believed that her sensual voice is really made for French songs.

It was 20 years ago when she made an u-turn to sing jazz and successfully proved that it was a perfect choice. She kept on making more jazz singing album from that moment. She keep on receiving good compliments from the fans and critics and gained success in the market as well. 3 years have passed after our last meeting and 4 years after the Rendez-Vouz’ release, now Laura has released a new album entitled “The Best Is Yet to Come”. This time Laura served her album grand by involving the full big band for the first time to back her up. This beautiful album marks her 20th anniversary in solo career, the first time to have a big band in full album as well as the 12th jazz albums of her, respectively.

So here we are again looking at her show at the Java Jazz Festival 2012. Her One thing certain about Laura, she knows how to turn her every show as a party. Sylvia van den Akker from her management told us of how excited she feels for being in Indonesia again two weeks ago. “She is very much looking forward to this as you can imagine.” she said. It was clearly showed on her stage, as she spread all the love to her audiene accompanied by Ron King Big Band. A little history fact, Laura met Ron the last time she was at the Java Jazz Festival 2009 and here they are once again continuing their fruitful and beautiful collaboration.

“The Old Devil Moon” was came into air as the start then continued with “Smile”, Michel LeGrand’s “C’est Si Bon”, “Fly Me To The Moon” (French version) and “My Foolish Heart”. Appearing nicely with a stunning batik dress, this very friendly lady did repertoire from the latest “The Best is Yet to Come”. She made the show as something special. It was a grand, majestic concert yet felt very personal. As we saw the crowds clapped  hands and sang together in “Quizzas, Quizzas, Quizzas” or means Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps in English, and of course the title track from the new album, “The Best is Yet to Come”.  Laura wasn’t just performing, she actually involved the audience to be a part of her show with all of her familiar approach. We never forget her performance 3 years ago, and now she added another unforgettable show to stay in our memory for many years to come. As we could catch her statement during the show “I missed you all!” Laura, we missed you too.

By using the title “The Best is Yet to Come” for the album which was taken from a song popularized by Frank Sinatra in 1964, Laura is clearly sending us a statement that she’s not done yet. Plenty of great things will still come from her, and we believe she will return to Indonesia again with another great thing. This is her third visit to Java Jazz Festival after the 2005 and 2009 editions, and we really hope she will make her way again in the near future. Welcome ‘home’ to Indonesia, Laura, it’s always sweet to see you and thank you for such a beautiful presentation! We are really happy to have you again this year!

Keep your eyes updated on our website for the upcoming shows in Java Jazz Festival 2012 Day 2!

See more pictures:

[flickrset id=”72157629136605598″ thumbnail=”square” photos=”” overlay=”false” size=”medium”]

Team on duty:

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, Febrian Dirga

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Do you know who is inside Indonesian youngster’s mind if we talk about favorite jazz female singer? Let us give the stage to our Indonesian darling, Andien, a petite girl with big heart who often sing in various jazz festival in both local and international base. Started her career from her age of 15, she went in becoming mature without losing cuteness. It was fantastic seeing her comeback within last 4 years by the album titled Kirana which produced a lot of hits and interesting recycles of some Indonesian classics.  With the soft silk voice, she is really hold thick vibration of jazz, no matter what genre in the songs she sings, the tone of jazz always be comprised.

Whatever song she sings and genre she dives, Andien will always be Andien with her tricky voice, which is known soft and tender but still able to pin so many songs across genres with the jazz-breath she possesses in her voice. That’s such the case of what she brought as the theme for this year. After introducing her side of maturity last year by highlighting songs from the album Kirana, this year she presented a special tribute to rock songs in the 90s. As one of the top choices to perform in any festivals or events, we are sure that we’re going to meet her again soon. What’s interesting is that this time together with her team (including Nikita Dompas on guitar, Didi Violin and Bonar Abraham on bass) made a different concept. Instead of playing her famous songs just like in the recording versions, Andien added a little blues and rock nuances into the selected ones.

Other than The Manhattan Transfer, this year we got another vocal harmony group with even bigger number of personnels named Duwende. This is an a capella group of  based out of New York. They still have the quartet vocal harmony consists of Derrick L Hicks (tenor), Neal Mortimer and Aaron Boykin (baritones) and Abbey Janes (soprano), but they have two more person in rising up their game, Ari Picker (bass) and Edward Chung (beatboxing). You can listen to their amazing work in tributing the late Michael Jackson in their most recent album, “The Music of Michael Jackson” or their giveaway “Little Drummer Boy” which can be downloaded free at their official facebook page.

From at least the 19th century the acapella can already be traced in the music history range from the Gregorian chant and other religious/church music. In the modern music scene, the a capella appeared in various forms such as doo wop, R&B, soul and also jazz. We enjoy the way The Manhattan Transfer, New York Voices doing it in jazz, Take 6, Boys II Men and the likes in R&B world, Philippines’ The Company and Indonesia’s Elfa’s Singers taking it nicely for more than a decades, now thanks to Duwende we can enjoy another spin in the modern a capella through their concept. Really nice one.

At the other stage of Java Jazz Festival 2012, we thought singer can be as unique as this lady. Sruti Respati is a proud, full-blooded Javanese sinden (Javanese traditional singer) who contributes a lot and has experience in both keroncong traditional and contemporary music field. It is said that she is predicted to be the next Waljinah, a legend of Indonesian keroncong singer, but that’s just one of her playing fields, because she’s also a teacher, presenter and multi-genre singer.

With Sruti,  the music boundary has definitely gone. She breaks the walls and proves all can actually join in harmony, and of course showing how well she can do all at once. She often surprised people by wearing the traditional dress kebaya in jazz stage. She can sing in sinden style while pinning jazz songs in excellence. She can improvise like a pro, but yet she never leaves her culture. And for us, most importantly, she is one of today’s most important ambassador when we talk about preserving the traditional Indonesian cultures towards the future and of course, introducing the richness of our archipelago internationally.

“My family has been holding a strong tradition of our Javanese culture, and I’m living in it.” she said. So while she grew up with pop, jazz, rock and other current music trend, the Javanese culture is and will always live within her. This solo pride let the East and West collided inside her, but instead of being confused with it, she chose to merge them all in her unique way. So here, we have one lovely lady with magical vocal quality who does the uncommon concept. Watch her and you’ll be stunned. That’s what we always say about Sruti’s gig. It’s normal for us to see the shocking faces among the audience when she’s on stage.

After her debut album released in 2010 and several participation in many jazz festivals such as JGTC and North Sumatra Jazz Festival, we now saw her at this year’s jazz bash with Denny Chasmala (electric guitar), Bintang Indrianto (electric fretted & fretless bass), Moh.Iqbal (drums), Ady Prasodjo (all-latin percussions), Imam Garmansyah (synthesizer), Rita Silalahi (electric piano), Kiki Dunung (traditional-percussion) and Saat Syah (suling), she created a combination of traditional and modern with the touch of wider genre such as pop, jazz and even rock inside. “Very interesting and different… I’m happily surprised with this show.” said one of the foreign lady we caught among the audience. If Forrest Gump said “life is like a box of chocolate, you’ll never know what you’re gonna get”, Sruti brings one big box of assorted chocolate. Many flavors, all tasty, all delicious.

Frank Sinatra was alive again in this 8th edition of Java Jazz Festival! It was made possible by the glamorous and glorious performance of Gary Anthony, a famous Frank Sinatra impersonator based in Las Vegas. There he perform regularly with other impersonator such as Andi DiMino (Dean Martin) and Louie Velez (Sammy Davis Jr) in bringing The Rat Pack back again. This team had also appeared several times at the Java Jazz Festival and got huge appreciation from the audience. Fully crowded hall became a normal scene whenever they were in action. As we know Gary has played several times in Java Jazz, for instance in 2008 and 2009 and once again this year Gary Anthony stood alone accompanied once again by Ron King Big Band. The quest was to bring Frank Sinatra live again, and he successfully did that along with the complete Frank Sinatra suit (including the famous fedora hat), dance/movement and also singing style. It also has been proven when he was chosen for echoing Frank Sinatra on a promotional ads of Delta Airlines and the National Basketball Association (NBA) which had “I’ve Got You under My Skin” as the theme song.

Famous Frank Sinatra’s classics were delivered in style on the  stage such as “Come Fly With Me”, “I Got You Under My Skin”, “My Way”, “New York, New York” and an encore “Mack the Knife”.  “It feels like watching the real Frank Sinatra… what a show!” said someone stood just beside us during the show. Long standing applause were given to him, making him one of the highlight of the 1st day of Java Jazz Festival 2012. With many years experience as Frank Sinatra’s impersonator plus the long way back career as a stage singer (he’s been doing that since his teenage years), Gary Anthony mesmerized the crowds again just like the previous editions. For the classic and authentic swing fans, Gary Anthony’s show was a bomb. It won’t be perfect if it ain’t got the swing, and thanks to Gary Anthony, swing was paid in full at the Java Jazz Festival 2012.

“He’s such a nice man.. he said that I didn’t have to think of how to sing..just sing it out, and the big band will follow.” That’s the impression of the legendary Indonesian jazz female vocalist Margie Segers about Ron King and his Big Band during their rehearsal for Java Jazz Festival 2008. At that time Margie and Renee Olstead was set to perform with Ron King Big Band, and both were told that way by this man. That shows how great he leads his big band to be ready for just about any artists with all kinds of songs and style.

Grammy Award nominee Ron King is an accomplished trumpeter who also works as composer, arranger and often featured in other musicians albums. With a shining career, we are fortunate to have him performing in every Java Jazz Festival since 2008. Other than Margie Segers and Renee Olstead, he has served many other artists for Java Jazz Festival. Let’s mention some names such as Manhattan Transfer, New York Voices and also two very popular Indonesian rock band, GIGI and Slank, except also playing in his own show.

Having such an experienced trumpeter and leader like Ron King along with his sensational Big Band is indeed a blessing. With his support we can expect so many more colors being added into any performers’ show. May Ron King keep giving up his service for this annual festival, we certainly hope so.

Now let’s move along to see Medeski Martin & Wood (MMW)! Whenever you hear their music, you will surely loose your grip and start getting hypnotized or even tranced right away. These three bodacious, fearless humanbeing behind the band: John Medeski (keyboard/organ/piano), Billy Martin (drummer/percussionist), and Chris Wood (contrabass) have been establishing their natural connection to one another for 21 years and still counting. Coming from the neighbrohood of Brooklyn, New York, they boldly go exploring jazz in full freedom like nobody else. They are the thugs of jazz, we say, would be able to descibe them a bit, simply by their wild explorations that can go beyond imagination. They played 3 different keys on stage: Clavinet, Organ and Wulitzer. They brought songs mostly from “Radiolarian” and “25th Anniversary” such as “Big Time”, “Partido Alto” and “Nutty Professor”

Call their music whatever you like, but for us, even when we say that they play infectious avant-funk jazz with the retro nuance by using the organ, that can’t still be enough to describe the tremendous amount of venom they happily release in any song they play. Listen to their song “Chubb Subb” for example, then you’ll know what we’re talking about.

The journey of Medeski, Martin and Wood basically can be differed into some eras. In the beginning they still played lots of jazz standard in thick new orleans funk style. Medeski was still on piano at that time. Then they expanded the horizon by bringing retro funk with “Shack-Man” (1996) followed by the mad EP “BubbleHouse” a year later. In “Farmer’s Reverse” they showed the supercool avant garde, then the medias started mentioning them as an avant funk group. The splashes of funk in retro nuance and  a bit experimental style was carried on all the way up to the “Univisible” album. Then they toured back to their earlier style in the “Radiolarian” series, but still with lots of twists. Here they played some of John Zorn’s compositions too. Simply say, this group is the godfather of avant funk.

We have met many jazz artists in Indonesia that are happy to mention this group as one of their strongest inspirations. If it’s not the style of music, at least the musical ‘baddass’ attitude. Notturno, Mr Funkenstein and Tomorrow People Ensemble might be the coolest examples about this. Yes they are only a trio, but the nuance they create is very wide. Hypnotizing and high dose of infectious funk, that’s what we’re going to get whenever they are playing, and such case happened for real at this year’s Java Jazz Festival. This is one of the bands that’s important to watch, not only because the way they hypnotized people with their funk magic but also because they can inspire many young musicians to follow their footsteps. That’s something beneficial for our jazz development in Indonesia. Thanks to Java Jazz Festival for bringing them here. For 20 years we’ve been listening to their recordings or watching their live videos, but now we got something better by watching them live right in front of our eyes. It’s the kind of heat that you can’t stand. We’re still tapping our feet right now while writing this. What a great show it was.

High dose of venomous funk in big blasting performances has been known as things that make any of Robert Randolph and the Family Band‘s gigs valuable to see. Randolph’s musical sense grew in his church where he was trained as a guitarist. Before this band formed in 2002, Randolph got the chance to join John Medeski in his project, “The Word” along with other North Mississippi Allstars. The first album was released shortly after they were formed, recorded live entitled “Live at the Wetlands”, followed by their first studio debut a year later, “Unclassified”. These albums attracted Eric Clapton that soon had them to go on his tour, also appeared as a guest star on their 2006 album “Colorblind”. Such a nice success story that’s worthly earned by a group that can always bring a blast with their appearance.

It’s really important for them to know that the audience got fully entertained during their act. They love to have the audience to be involved totally in any way. Robert Randolph and the Family Band is also known for their improvisation lines which usually appear often in sufficient space. By this move, Randolph allows his band mates to show off their musical proficiencies. All of these qualities were shown on A2 BNI Hall, and yes, the crowds had lots of fun. Way to go, Robert Randolph and the Family Band! Thank you for funkin’ us up totally!

See more pictures:

[flickrset id=”72157629133029276″ thumbnail=”square” photos=”” overlay=”false” size=”medium”]

Team on duty:

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, Febrian Dirga

Special thanks to CakHend and Masmo for sharing interesting facts of MMW and songlist.

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Think about all the beauty of smooth/adult contemporary jazz in accordance with guitar, some names would definitely pop out in your mind. One of the name that should be mention is of course is Chris Standring. He’s one of the contemporary urban jazz’ most popular artists since the late 90s who came from Buckinghamshire, England. His sounds are mostly based on simple things but full with the beauty essence, something that can always put you into the best of relaxing hours at ease. Some of his albums got good results such as Soul Express, Love and Paragraph and Blue Bolero in 2010, with the single “Bossa Blue” spent 8 weeks at no 1 on Billboard Contemporary Jazz Radio Chart. This song was declared the no 1 Contemporary Jazz Track of the Year as well. Before that, he achieved his big success as the co-writer of “RnR” together with Rick Braun and Richard Elliot as the initial on the title stated.

From time to time the Java Jazz Festival brought wonderful smooth jazz guitarists in each edition. We still remember when Steve Oliver and Peter White shared their love through this relaxing side of jazz in the previous editions, now it was Standring’s turn to place his signature in 2012. By the way, Brian Simpson was the man behind the keyboard.

Three brilliant musician in each ability playing musical instrument gather in one smashing group which stands differently with their unique flavor. Yes, they are Trioscapes. Riza Arshad, Yance Manusama and Aksan Sjuman are running in this group and they strive to serve jazz listeners with their works in great quality of jazz. Subtle funk is their main dish but they also receive another lines to enlarge their improvisation. Their crowds must be surprised and enjoy the epic ambience they created in enjoying jazz tonight. A lovely scene of the past, when jazz and rock had just fall in love with each other was captured perfectly to seduce present-day jazz fanatics at max.

Tonight under the flag of Serambi Jazz, a very successful international program of Goethe Institute which is running together with the curator, Riza Arshad, they beat the stage of Java Jazz Festifal 2012 in style. The trio played “The Three” and “Knowing Me” (taken from their first album) plus “Minor Importance”, “Beyond Doubtness” and “Early Xpectations” from the second album (Buy the album here)

As the brainchild of Riza Arshad and Arie Ayunir, this group stands out as one of the gems in Indonesian jazz scene today. Just three personnels behind this group, but together they create a whole new musical dimension which we don’t come to visit often. It was a dope as always, we just can’t get enough of them!

Margo Jazz Community must be proud because its “delegation” rocked some stages at this year’s Java Jazz gig. One of its representative is the project involving gifted young talents of the community named Margo Rising Star that once again performed after a nice one last year. A special theme for special occasion, that’s what they have planned from the beginning, as the coordinator/founder Albertus Tri Budi Waskito said to us while ago, and that’s “The Rolling Stones Project”. In this show, Margo Rising Star delivered several Rolling Stones’ hits. People were entertained with well-known tracks such as “Satisfaction”, “Brown Sugar”, “Wild Horses”, “Honky Tonk Woman”, “Jumping Jack Flash”, “Start Me Up”, and “Under My Thumb”. They gave good vibes so the audience enjoyed their performance.

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What’s in your mind when you hear Balawan‘s name? Most of us would think of someone who can create magic with guitar. His demonic fast finger with sharp precision, his tremendous finger explorations over the fret, the unpredictable batch of melodies and full action-packed show. Technically speaking, Balawan is the master of ‘touch tapping style’, a style where eight fingers work to tap the fretboard, covering all the melody, bass and chords all at once. His left hand handles chord and bass, while the right hand tapped the melody, which resembles piano playing. If this is already remarkable, wait until you feel the atmosphere when he bring some Balinese flavor into the songs, the way he does with his Balawan Batuan Ethnic Fusion. While he’s able to mesmerize common listeners with sweet and sentimental songs, he can also stun everyone by playing challenging compositions. Give him any jazz standards, you’ll get something fresh and new, unlike what you’ve heard before.

On the stage of B2 Hall Kementrian Perdagangan in the first day of Java Jazz Festival 2012 Balawan gave a highly entertaining collaboration with a very special young bassist Fajar Adi Nugroho. They called this collaboration as Balawan Bifan Duo, presenting something which was technically entertaining, harmonically challenging, and fun to watch. This group became Fajar’s new playground after many other bands he’s involved including with Jemima and her Orgasmic Brothers, Indro Hardjodikoro & The Fingers as well as supporting many artists as sessionist. Joining this magical collaboration was Dion Wardoyono on drums.

It felt like watching two wizards on their musical journey. The concept might seem simple, but it was highly entertaining to watch. It turned out to be a breathtaking showcase of skill and endurance. Should they carry on with this collaboration? We say definitely. Thank you Balawan and Fajar for presenting something fresh and new in our jazz scene.

Meanwhile at another stage, it was time to take a look at Donny Koeswinarno Quartert. Dony Koeswinarno is a superb saxophonist, composer, and one of the founders of Pitoelas band. He graduated from Faculty of Arts, ISI Yogyakarta and already has many involvements in playing on stages inside and outside Indonesia. We will easily see him in several routinely Jazz festivals within this country and played with a lot of artists. As a musicians, Dony is well-versed in doing other things. He also can play other instruments like flute, arranges the songs, conducts, and manages the band. Can’t wait to see other experiments from him? Here, in Lawu Medco Acoustic Hall Dony together with other three personnels fiddled their own instruments including contrabassist Indrawan Tjhin, drummer Elfa Zulham and keyboardist Andy Gomez. Sax still be one of the most attractive instrument and very happy to have Dony Koeswinarno Quartet with us. Long live the quartet!

Let’s see what was happening at Javajazz Stage. Unlike the meaning of ABG in Indonesia as the slang of a newly grown teens, this band is not related in anyway with that term. On the contrary, this band consists of some of the Indonesian jazz giants who are fully experienced in their field. Phylosophy ABG parted into Arief Setiadi on saxophone, flute, and EWI, Bintang Indrianto on fretted and fretless bass, and Gerry Herb S on drums and limited percussion. The name itself was formed from their initial names and the band was formed in the mid 2000. It is never easy to unite more than one ideas into some works but this band breaks the rules. Without forgetting the ethics in teamwork, they freely yet responsible play their own instruments. Phylosophy had done they promises that they would play as fun as they want on stage. We were really entertained and could feel the positive energy by their all songs brought by them. 12 years as one unit plus a long spanning years of career has turned this show into something seriously tight. Next time you see their name in the list, take some times to watch them, because this group is a dope.