Imagine this: Horizons of paddy fields, hills, steep ravines, chilly weather, smiles of the locals, and a jazz festival. You read that right fellas, a jazz festival in the middle of those beauties. If few months ago we had a jazz festival up 3,000 meters high on a mountain (Jazz Gunung 2014), the annual Ubud Village Jazz Festival 2014 offers jazz-lovers-festival-goers another unique experience for the second consecutive year. Ubud is a small town in Bali island, and is regarded as the cultural centre of Bali. This town was even featured in a 2010 movie Eat, Pray, Love starring Julia Roberts for its natural beauty, artsy atmosphere, and spirituality. Now since jazz has been added in it, the area is surrounded by even more magic. It was truly a wonderful experience to feel the spirit of jazz and island of God blend in. It created such feeling that you won’t find elsewhere.
Ubud Village Jazz Festival 2014 came in handy in terms of providing great value of jazzertainment. Plenty of great acts, rainbow-like variety to choose, all packed in nonstop pleasure for 8 hours straight, for two days in a row. The face of Ubud would never be the same again after it got a jazz painted colors which was initiated by the founder of Underground Jazz Movement Yuri Mahatma and the owner of ANTIDA Music Productions, Anom Darsana.
Divided into three stages (Padi, Giri and Subak), the festival started at around 3.30PM at Padi and Subak Stages, simultaneously opened by Underground Jazz Movement 1 and Underground Jazz Movement 2, two local community-based jazz projects. This community has the mission to introduce jazz to young musicians, especially those who reside in Bali. They gather mostly on Sunday afternoon until night and fill it with open discussion, talk and even play jazz. They went swinging in pure delight with tradings and improvisations included in every song . From what we saw, this Underground Jazz Movement already bear fruits, delicious ones. From now on you have to know this: if you are a musician living in Bali and wish to be familiar with jazz, all you have to do is come to their meetings. You can get a lot of information, knowledge, playing tips and many more regarding jazz. Jazz is very much alive in Bali, and there’s a community that you can put yourself into.
Carry on now. Up next at Padi stage, Seiji Endo took his turn. Endo-san is an expert in straight-ahead jazz and bebop, but for this event, his concept is solo piano. Wanna know what was up? A piano recital in nature, that’s what! Heart-capturingly beautiful, mesmerizing, clean and accurate, he immediately caught people’s curiosity and attention, and made them fall in love with the performance. It was romantic, sometimes funny, cool, and intense. Overall, his performance was story-telling. Great experience.
BID Trio consists of Balawan (guitar), Ito Kurdi (bass), and Deva Permana (drums). The funky Ito, the ethnic-rock-fused Balawan, and the ever-versatile Indonesian-born drummer but pursuing his career in the land of Oz, Deva Permana. Their concept was conversational-like performance. A lot of calls and responses, sometimes tempo-free, which formed the performance to seem like they are having conversations on stage: with their instruments. The use of effects from Balawan and his expertise in playing double neck guitar brings strong flavors to the band. They were also rhythmically strong with the combination of metric modulation and polyrhythm based on pure responding. From a composition inspired by the melody of “Gundul Gundul Pacul”, original songs Three huge names in one project, these guys really showed what we wanted to see from them. The unique collaborative performances that appeared as if it was a melting pot of three music wizards. Awesomeness overload. Another interesting fact: eventhough this is some kind of experimental project, they move fast to even has an album already.