Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Tags Posts tagged with "serambi jazz"

serambi jazz




Jakarta is blessed with the series of amazing two monthly concerts courtesy of Goethe Institut Indonesia called Serambi Jazz. Since 2009 this event has featured so many top-notch bands/musicians both from our own land and also from Germany. Thanks to Serambi Jazz, the mutual friendship between these two great nations has been re-established through music as one of the art forms-jazz to be exact. From Jakarta, Terraz Jazz continued to spread its wings to reach Bandung, the capital of West Java and then stretched further to meet Yogyakarta and Surabaya. Why? Simply because there are many jazz fans too in those cities that are, most probably, hungry for a high quality event that amazingly provided free from any charge by Goethe Institut. Just like in Jakarta and Bandung, we heard many positive responses from the jazz aficionados in these two cities.

We still remember last year Serambi Jazz landed big on Surabaya featuring two amazing musicians from different generations: the curator himself, keys-wiz Riza Arshad and versatile guitarist graduated from Berklee College of Music, Robert Mulyaraharja. Calling the project as R&R Duo, we heard from Riza that it’s still carried on and planned to appear in an album. Also last year in Surabaya, the Duo Project (Johanes Radianto and Dhani Syah) was brought by Goethe Institut for Serambi Jazz.

And now, listen to this. If you live in Surabaya, you must be exicted. Because in its 5th year in service, Serambi Jazz is coming once again to Surabaya. Goethe Institut and Wisma Jerman Surabaya (Goethe-Centre/Goethe-Zentrum Surabaya) proudly present a stunning band with unique concept, the one that we love to mention as one of the most dynamic bands in terms of musicality, variation and formation: SKETSA. This Serambi Jazz event will take place at Ciputra Hall, Performing Arts Centre, Sekolah Ciputra, Puri Widya Kencana, Citraland, Surabaya on September 13, 2014, starting at 7:30 pm local time.


serambi jazz, sketsa, gerald situmorang, andreas arianto, dimas wibisana, jazzuality


Let’s go back in time to see how Sketsa was born. The journey of Sketsa started almost a decade ago in 2005 by the name of Acoustic PL as they made their debut in PL FAIR Village, still with the first formation: Gerald Hiras Situmorang and Adnand Adyasha. A year later the name changed into Sketsa. Adnand had to continue his study to Australia and quitted the project. It wasn’t long until Dimas Budi Satria Wibisana came in and established a rock-solid formation that still makes so many waves in Indonesian jazz scene until now.




As one of the most successful overseas program of Goethe-Institut, Serambi Jazz has been doing great in presenting quality jazz concert every two months since 2009. Riza Arshad who acts as the curator of this program works hard to maintain each edition by featuring skillful bands/musicians who have dedicated their love to jazz both from our local source and Germany. Series of clinics has been made that already bore fruit, meaning that there are successful bands today actually started from attending the Serambi Jazz’s workshop. Two months ago this successful program higlighted a great man that can combine the strong jazzpression with sophisticated and poetic tunes at the same time, Julian Marantika http://jazzuality.com/jazz-events/serambi-jazz-2014-julian-marantika/. Just a month later, a special Serambi Jazz visit to Yogyakarta was held by presenting Duo Project, a guitar-piano session of Ramadhani Syah Warongan (Dhani Syah) and Johanes Radianto http://jazzuality.com/jazz-events/serambi-jazz-2014-duo-project-ramadhani-syah-warongan-johanes-radianto-yogyakarta/. Both received great results from the society.

In this month of August Serambi Jazz is ready to spread its venom again. Unique might be the best keyword to describe this upcoming show. It involved four cross-aged jazz titans where each of them can pour out a deadly one. If a band decides to play without bass is already unique, what if we say that this band utilize just set of keys (piano, synthesizer and Hammond organ) plus drum? How can this formation carry the concept and how will it sound? Tell us if you on’t think it’s unique. We think these four dudes are really daring and brilliant at the same time. Who? Well, it’s TUSLAH. This quartet is the headline for Serambi Jazz August 2014 which will come on August 21, 2014 at GoetheHaus Jakarta, starting 7:30 pm onwards. Just like always, this one’s free concert and open for public.


tuslah, jazzuality, riza arshad, adra karim, sri hanuraga, elfa zulham


We call Tuslah a group of Jazz titans is not without reason. Other than they possess worldclass skills in dealing with their instruments, they know what to do in order to flip you upside down. Maybe you’re wondering what Tuslah refers to. It came from “Toeslag”, which is a shorten word from Toetsen (keyboard) and Slagwerk (drums).

The Serambi Jazz curator Riza Arzhad on synthesizer, Sri Hanuraga on piano, Adra Karim on Hammond and Elfa Zulham on drums are the personnels of this very unique quartet.

This idea came from Riza Arshad first of all, as he thought it would be interesting to form a band with an ‘unusual’ formation since he has some fellow musicians with specialties and distinctive characters. So it was formed some times in October 2013 and had the first gig in Red White Jazz Lounge. “What I wish to make is a home for these ‘non industrial’ fellows. I want us all to maintain our intellectuality as an improvisator, especially in this non industrial segment of music scene.” Riza explains. He also said that this becomes more relevant today since there are so many musicians that actually dare to take this path. So now four them is living harmoniously together, sharing and throwing the ideas to one another in order to make this work. “This band doesn’t have a leader, but rather is a collective band.” he says furthermore.

We heard this band for the first time when they were featured in Gedung Kesenian Jakarta’s event Festival Musik 2013  and then saw them again at the Java Jazz Festival 2014 .  Based on the uniqueness, masterclass skill, brilliant concept and fine execution, Serambi Jazz is exactly one of the perfect playground for this group.

Tuslah’s music is served as a creative impulse of the musician whose background is rich with musical experiences in Indonesia, also in Europe and America. What’s also interesting is, this group is like a combination of two groups. Riza Arshad and Sri Hanuraga are from W/H/A/T while Elfa Zulham and Adra Karim are two of the four players found in Tomorrow People Ensemble (TPE). From what we’ve seen, Tuslah creates a ‘new color’. They combine the element of classic, jazz, blues, funk and rock which are going to appear through original compositions and new arrangements.


tuslah, jazzuality, riza arshad, adra karim, sri hanuraga, elfa zulham


Just like we said before, each of them can make a difference when asked to play, now imagine what would happen when they join forces. Think of how the combination of piano, synthesizer and Hammond in one shot along with drum without bass would sound. What kind of ‘jazz hybrid’ does they create? The key-wiz Riza Arshad, the magic fingers Sri Hanuraga, the strong funky-punchlines of Adra Karim and the rich beat from Elfa Zulham will surprise you. Just don’t miss the Serambi Jazz August 2014 Edition on Thursday, August 21, 2014 at GoetheHaus Jakarta, and prepare yourself to see a concept totally different than what you’ve seen so far.


Date: Thursday, August 21, 2014
Time: 06:30 pm – onwards
Location: GoetheHaus, Jl. Sam Ratulangi 9-15, Menteng, Jakarta


Photos of Tuslah were taken by Mia Damayanti Sjahir




The guitar-piano connection isn’t new anymore in jazz. Many duos have done it throughout decades. They create different musical atmosphere with minimalist concept, showing and proofing that there are still so many beautiful things can be created even by using just two instruments. Bill Evans/Jim Hall did it twice, ‘Undercurrent’ in 1963 and ‘Intermodulation’ in 1966. Then there were Bill Mays/Ed Bickert and Pat martino/Gil Goldstein, more recently two artistic impressionist jazz musicians Hristo Vitchev/Weber Iago visited this corner with their distinctive approach. How about Indonesia? There was Riza Arshad and Oele Pattiselano who delivered it a decade ago through an album called “Talks”, however we don’t find the connection between guitar and keyboard in duo performance often on Indonesian soil.

Two talented musicians from the new generation landed their feet in this exact spot about two years ago. This duo concept isn’t that easy to bring since the players have to be connected smoothly in strong chemistry. They have to establish some kind of ‘talks’ to each other, serving up dialogues with sets of notes that can be enjoyed (and felt) by the audience. No worries, these two musicians have known and been friends with each other for long. Not only that, they have been playing together for many years too. So no worries, they do have strong chemistry, more than enough to establish a high quality recital. They are Johanes Radianto (guitar) and Ramadhani Syah Warongan (piano). They established themselves as Duo Project. We have seen this tandem a couple of times since the first establishment in 2012, now they are going to land on Yogyakarta on July 12, 2014 at Langgeng Art Foundation, brought to you by Goethe Institut as a segment of Serambi Jazz.


As you probably have noticed, Serambi Jazz since 2009 has provided quality shows mostly based in Jakarta as a two-monthly event. But other than Jakarta, it has spread its wings to reach other cities such as Bandung, Yogyakarta and Surabaya. At least in 2011 and 2012 the jazz fans in Yogyakarta and Surabaya have gotten the chance to taste the program where Riza Arshad stands as the curator. This year Goethe Institut plans to present two concerts in each city. For Yogyakarta, this Duo Project is the first to run, the second concert will be Tuslah in Ngayogjazz 2014.

Let’s go back to these two talented musicians. The two created this project in mid 2012 due to a request from a local Bandung promoter (Saung Jazz by CCF) to make a concert with a simple group format. (Read the report here: http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/saung-jazz-piano-guitar-duo-the-report/). Many people came to the concert liked it very much that it inspired both Ramadhani and Johanes to carry on.

dhanisyah-jazzualityRamadhani Syah Warongan (Dhani Syah)  is a stylish pianist who returned to Indonesia last year after finishing his degree at Prins Claus Conservatorium in Holland. While in the conservatorium, he was featured on several groups/projects such as “Gipsy Nature”, saxophonist Kestutis Veiginis Quartet, Tour to Birtonas, Vinus and Palanga, Lithuania. He is also a proud member of the Re-Bop Unit, a quintet who was awarded by being selected for the project “The Artistry of Dick Oatts and Young Jazz Musicians”. Also tour in Bucuresti, Timisoara, Bacau, Arad, Cluj, Rumania, and The Hague, Assen, Amsterdam, and Groningen, The Netherlands.

Dhani has studied music, piano and composition with the following masters: Jasper Soffers, Marc Van Roon, David Berkman, Indra Lesmana, Tjut Nyak Deviana Daudsjah, Aksan Sjuman, Michael Moore, Elena Malinova, Steve Altenberg, Joris Teee, Ralph Peterson, Alex Sipiagin, Freddie Bryant, Daena DeRose, Kurt Weiss, Brian Lynch, Don Braden, Mark Gross, and the faculty of Prins Claus Conservatorium.

Since his return to his homeland, he writes for his jazz group The Jongens Quartet along with Elfa Zulham and Doni Sundjoyo, and also his partner in this duo, Johanes Radianto.




What criteria does a band/musician have to meet to be featured in Serambi Jazz? We asked that question to the curator, Riza Arshad in 2009, a couple of months after the Serambi Jazz series has just begun. According to Riza Arshad, this event has to be filled by someone who has high dedication to Indonesian jazz development. In other words, still according to him, it has to be someone who has decided to live their life as jazz players. Furthermore he explained that there are so many musicians in Indonesia who are very talented and fully dedicated, but they haven’t got the credit that they deserve. At that time, Riza wished to introduce these talents so they could get more appreciation from the society.

That was 5 years ago. Since then Serambi Jazz has been growing very well and now stands as one of the most awaited regular jazz events in Jakarta. It has featured so many amazing musicians with their own distinctive jazz styles and tastes. So far this successful overseas program of Goethe Institut has become a showcase/gallery of great talents, a place for jazz aficionados to go whenever they want to see quality shows from artists that know how to cook their meals in perfect.

Speaking of the criteria, there’s a pianist who has his own color and more than deserves to be featured in front. He was already played in the first year of Serambi Jazz, but it was with his group, the Sarimanouk Quartet (Read the report here: http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/serambi-jazz-iv-tao-kombo-collective-messkeepers-and-the-sarimanouk-quartet-at-goethehaus-jakarta-the-report/). . We have been waiting to see him get the spotlight because we know he has good things to offer. Now finally he’s the featured artist for Serambi Jazz. That’s about time, that’s what we think. He is Julian Abraham Marantika, also known as Joy Marantika.


julian marantika, serambi jazz 2014


Let’s point our attention more towards him. Julian started by learning classical piano when he was 14 years old by studied from Getih Indra Sunaryo, but then got his encounter with jazz when he learned it from Benny Likumahuwa for Music Theory and Saxophone. He then took his number one Jazz Piano lesson from Riza Arshad and Krishna Balagita.

In 2004 he enrolled to the Institut Musik Daya Degree program under Tjut Njak Deviana Daudsjah, Ivonne Atmojo, Aksan Sjuman, Masako Hamamura, Mark Isaac, and Jelia Megawati Heru. Julian graduated in 2007 holding Bachelor of Music in Performance.

Speaking of the stages he’s conquered, he already tasted many prestigious events such as Java Jazz Festival 2007 and 2008, Pasar Jazz 2006 with New Conservative Trio (his first jazz trio), Serambi Jazz as the pianist of Sarimanouk Quartet in 2009 and Jazz Speak 2012 in Bandung just to mention a few. Some of his shining project are the compilation album “Jazz Masa Kini” by Aksara Records, joining Ricki Lionardi Big band for a recording session for Ruth Sahanaya Christmas Album 2006, “Dunia Mereka” OST in 2005 and “Sarimanouk Quartet” album alongside Talafaral Ramiandriosa, Sandy Winarta and Doni Sundjoyo.

Another thing that you have to know is that beside performing, he is also an active educator. He’s been the Head of Contemporary Piano Department at Pelita Harapan Music Faculty from 2008. He teaches Jazz Piano, Improvisation Concept, History of Broadway Musical, Jazz Ear Training, Jazz Ensemble Class, also contributes as one of the educators at Ponpin Music where he teaches Jazz Theory, Rhytmic & Ear Training and Major Class. Now Julian has working on his latest trio for recording project.


julian marantika, serambi jazz 2014


At Serambi Jazz he will bring a strong team consists of Indra Perkasa (doublebass), Elfa Zulham (drums), Gerald Situmorang (guitar) and Cassia Agata (vocal). We have seen the exact line 2 years ago at Jazz Speak where they gave something unique, either his own standout compositions (including one song which the lyrics’ written by wife Mery Kasiman) and Miles Davis’ “Milestones” with lyrics (http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/jazzspeak-festival-2012-the-report/). We still remember Julian Marantika’s performance at that time clearly. Julian has two contrast music assets: the structured play style learned when he was into classical and jazz with good phrasings, both glued with great improvisations. This is the project that he’s been working on for several years, a project that involves a singer, different than any previous ones he’s done before.




How many of us the youngsters realize that the jazz connection between Indonesia and Germany has been created for almost 50 years? It all started in 1967, according to the history when a German jazz journalist, producer, and book author, Joachim-Ernst Berendt visited Indonesia and met “the singing commodore” Suyoso Karsono, the owner of Irama records. Then he was introduced to Bubi Chen and Jack Lesmana, and interested in their skill. Berendt suggested them to play at Berlin Jazz Festival 1967. This invitation was answered by the birth of Indonesian All Stars who stunned the German audiences by their performance. That was the moment when these two nations’ connections was first established. (read the full article here: http://www.goethe.de/ins/id/lp/kul/mag/mus/en10879313.htm). Serambi Jazz has been great in rejuvenating this mutual friendship in jazz since 2009 up to this day.

Jazz wasn’t originated from Germany nor Indonesia. But as the time goes by, jazz has become a universal music that could gather both different nations in one mutual purpose. “At the begining, jazz was a race music, but then it transformed into a global music, and it was good”, said Denny Sakrie who have stood as the MC of Serambi Jazz from the very first edition. Serambi Jazz is a regular yet successful program of Goethe Institut Jakarta. This 2 monthly program has entered its 6th consecutive year since it’s first event in 2009. Until now, this event is still free of charge and never fails to gain praises from jazz aficionados in Indonesia. It also stands as the most successful overseas programs of Goethe Institut.




Indonesia has many talented musicians, spread all over ages, circles, genres and places. The same thing also happens in jazz music. Not a few talented jazz musicians in Indonesia claim their position internationally, some settle abroad, In fact they could be better known abroad than in their own country. Let’s call one of Indonesia’s proud son, a pianist who resides in New York, Nial Radhitia Djuliarso, better known as Nial Djuliarso. He is a jazz pianist who has proved his existence abroad. He has played in many international jazz events, including the highly prestigious North Sea Jazz. This one of a kind must has his own loyal fans in his own land. His homecoming to Indonesia should became a long-waited moment for his fans. Serambi Jazz took this opportunity to feature him in April edition under a quartet formation with Robert Mulyarahardja (guitar), Othman Djuliarso (drums) and Kevin Yosua (bass). This was the first performance of Nial in Serambi Jazz.

It was a great Thursday night on April 17th when people came to GoetheHaus, Jakarta. Eventhough it was a little bit rainy out there, they were still ready to get a high quality jazz performance. The gate opened at 08.30 pm and people filled the auditorium immediately.  After everyone was seated, Denny Sakrie came out and greet the audience. “Good evening everybody, how’s your day? Is your finger still purple?”, said Denny Sakrie as he began the night with his joke. Well, Indonesia has just had an election on April 9th to pick their own legislatives. It’s a rule that after the vote, one must dipped his small finger into a purple ink showing that they have done it. That’s what the joke’s about. Before he called the main star of the night , first he called the host of GoetheHaus, Mrs. Catherine, to greet and appreciate the coming audience. She said that she was happy to have Nial and his quartet at Serambi Jazz in this April edition.




Indonesia’s proud son, pianist Nial Djuliarso has been staying in his own homeland for many months. He resides in New York and builds his career there. Soon he will go back again to New York, but since he’s still here at least until May, he still has time to  be featured at the successful overseas program of Goethe Institut, the Serambi Jazz. As Serambi Jazz presents musicians whose significant contributions have helped to enrich jazz with their own distinctive style, a special talent like Nial Djuliarso is definitely a must. Hey, we even think from years ago it’s just a matter of time for Nial to be featured in this two monthly jazz event which already has its own loyal fans. Nial is scheduled to perform on Thursday, April 17, 2014 at the GoetheHaus, Jakarta. Three young but skillful musicians are going accompany him: his younger brother Othman Djuliarso (drums), Kevin Yosua (contrabass) and Robert Mulyarahardja (guitar). The concert will start at 7:30 pm, it’s free of charge so don’t be late.

Before we let you know about his shiny achievements and remarkable experience, let’s see his brief biography first. Nial was born on February 5th, 1981. He already showed his music talent since he was still a toddler. His parents Tripudjo and Vera Djuliarso noticed it and gave him piano lessons when he was just 2.5 years old. That’s why in many occasions he always gives credits to God and his parents for all his accomplishments and for bestowing an appreciation for music since childhood. If you wonder how he got interested in jazz, it was after seeing Pat Metheny live in Jakarta at the age of 15. That become one of the milestones in his life story.


nial djuliarso, jazzuaity


Then Nial went to Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, USA to study and received his Bachelor of Music degree in performance, While he was in Berklee, he was able to study with Danilo Perez, Joe Lovano, Joanne Brackeen, Hal Crook, Ed Tomassy, among many other giants. It was also there when he met his mentors Sonny Watson, whom Nial played with for 5 years, and Bo and Bill Winiker.




2009 is the year when Serambi Jazz began its service. This is the program of Goethe Institut was made to invigorate jazz events in Jakarta and some other cities, also to strengthen the mutual friendship between two great nation, Germany and Indonesia. It’s been held every two months (except some special editions/occasions) presenting the highly talented artists/musicians who have contributed big deal towards the regional or even worldwide jazz development. Most of the performers were taken from our own soil, but in each year, at least two German jazz musicians or groups be included not only for playing in live concert but also to share their knowledge to young talents. This program quickly gained attention from the jazz aficionados in Jakarta and beyond. Not long after it was launched, this regular event became one of the most awaited concerts in Jakarta. The jazz lovers can expect a good quality show, presenting variety of jazz played by great musicians in every edition. Surprisingly, all free or charge. The success story doesn’t happen only in Indonesia, this program also becomes one of the most successful overseas program of Goethe Institut. Riza Arshad has been in charge as the curator from the beginning and proved to be a perfect choice. He knows how to keep the program running in excellence, rich in colors, variations and artists’ selections.

In 2013 Serambi Jazz made a new breakthrough by creating two projects which involved artists from two nations. The first one is the curator himself with his team (Endang Ramdan, Erlan Suwardana and Cucu Kurnia on kendangs and metal toys) in collaboration with German guitarist Kai Brückner and bassist Paul Philipp Kleber http://jazzuality.com/jazz-events/serambi-jazz-2013-kai-bruckner-and-riza-arshad-project/, then the last one is the project of Aksan Sjuman and the Committee of the Fest with contrabassist Henning Sieverts and saxophonist Christian Weidner http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/serambi-jazz-2013-henning-sieverts-and-aksan-sjuman-project-report/). As we already entered 2014, some of our readers asked about the continuation of Serambi Jazz. We’ve been asked whether the program be continued or not, will they visit Bandung again like before, will there be collaborations to come, involving who and so on. We still don’t know how exactly their plan for this year yet, but one thing’s sure: Serambi Jazz is still running. It’s confirmed that they will launch the first edition of 2014 on February 6, 2014, presenting the iconic Indra Lesmana with his Group tributing one of the most important men in jazz history, Chick Corea.

indra lesmana group, jazzuality


indra lesmana group, jazzualityThe Indra Lesmana Group Tribute to Chick Corea is actually started last year on May, 2013 as one of the program of Indra and Honhon Lesmana’s Red White Jazz Lounge. It went very successful not only beause it gave tribute to the living jazz giant but also since Indra Lesmana created a very strong team consisting guitar virtuoso Tohpati and amazing young guns such as Shadu Rasjidi (bass), Ricad Hutapea (saxophone) and Demas Narawangsa (drums). It looks very promising, but Demas decided to continue his study to USA. Somebody has to take over his position behind drums. But who? Indra Lesmana asked Shadu to look around, then they found three candidates. Indra carefully examined each one through their performing videos on Youtube and finally made his decision. He found a new drummer to replace Demas, his name is Dion Subiakto. He’s a rising star we’ve been keeping our eyes on, at least since he stands as one of Balawan Bifan Trio and later joined Indro Hardjodikoro and the Fingers. So now, the Indra Lesmana Group is complete, filled with the combination of senior/iconic musicians and amazing younger talents.

Speaking of Chick Corea, most of his compositions (or maybe even all) have high degree of difficulties. Not everyone can play them in the way they were made. If we take a look at Chick Corea’s monumental group, the Chick Corea’s Elektric Band, this band also consisted of players who are capable to create magic in every line despite of their ages. We see the same spirit brought by Indra Lesmana in building up this group. Corea is not only a jazz musician but he is also into classical, enjoying the musics of Bartok and other contemporary classical music. Chick Corea once took up drums, something that later influence his piano playing style especially when he improvises. No wonder his compositions always rich in harmony, often appear in complex notations, and the best way to play it is by full discipline and accurate precision tempo.

indra lesmana group, jazzuality


The idea of this tribute came when Indra felt the need to go back to the influential things in his career. Chick Corea gave strong influence to Indra’s journey in 1981 to 1988. The idea of making this tribute was supported by Tohpati, a guitar maestro and music producer who also grew in that era. Indra Lesmana has listened to Chick Corea’s songs since he was still a 12 year-old boy. When he moved to Australia he got the chance to watch Corea’s live show in Sydney, and even better, he met Corea in person on backstage. He’s impressed by Corea’s humbleness. Then they met again in 1983 when Indra went to Los Angeles. He recorded one album in Chick Corea’s studio, The Mad Hatter and released it under the title of “For Earth and Heaven”. Indra had also joined Chick Corea Elektric Band during the 80’s, for example when they visited Indonesia during the Asian Tour in 1986.

indra lesmana group, jazzualityAs someone who know Corea in person, Indra should have known how to bring his masterpieces alive in perfect way. Plus, he has four amazing compatriotes with special abilities. So all’s set, all’s perfect. According to Indra, this project is not simply to play Chick Corea’s songbook, but more importantly to convey the information to the young musicians.

From what we’ve seen, the group could really make this concept alive. You will see everything you wish from jazz in this show. The showdown of skills, the magic of improvisations, the tight chemistry, the fine work as one unit, the joy of playing, cool adaptation and so on. If you miss their previous appearances, it’s time for you to catch them. If you have already watched them but wish to get another turn, this is your golden ticket. Thanks to Serambi Jazz and Goethe Institut, this show is provided FREE from any charge.

indra lesmana, jazzuality


If Indra Lesmana appeared in Serambi Jazz with LLW two years ago, this time he’s back with a fine new team to honor Chick Corea and his amazing compositions. So what are you waiting for? Make sure to clear your agenda on February 6, 2014. Ask your friends and family to come along and get ready to experience the madness. Since it’s quite difficult to bring Mr Corea and his team to Indonesia, this show will answer that wish, because they can really play it just as good. Look forward to a special evening concert. Even if you are not yet familiar with the name Chick Corea, it’s your chance to get deep with his mindblowing compositions presented by ‘the ‘A’ Team’ who understands the best way to bring it all alive.

-Indra Lesmana (keys)
– Tohpati (guitar)
– Shadu Rasjidi (bass)
– Ricad Hutapea (saxophone)
– Dion Subiakto (drums)

SERAMBI JAZZ 2014 February Edition: Indra Lesmana Group – Tribute to Chick Corea

Date: Thursday, February 6, 2014
Time: 7:30 pm – onward
Location: GoetheHaus, Jl. Sam Ratulangi 9-15, Menteng, Jakarta





Collaboration is nothing new. However, the importance of it is becoming more and more important in the modern world, as we become more connected around the globe. Through collaboration one can upgrade their knowledge, skill, then grow with more possibilities. It can also be used as a refreshment since it offers new things to do. The same case happens in jazz. Imagine when the artists who live in different part of the world join hands in doing something together. The result may vary, it can even create a whole new musical (jazz) dimension that no one has ever thought before. Even if it doesn’t go that far, the collaboration always brings something interesting and gives benefit both to the players and the audience.

The successful overseas program of Goethe Institut, Serambi Jazz knows it. Therefore in its 5th consecutive year Serambi Jazz moves on with new approach by combining artists from Germany and Indonesia. They planned two collaboration for this year, the first one was launched last April with Riza Arshad and Kai Brückner ((read the report here: http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/serambi-jazz-kai-bruckner-and-riza-arshad-project-the-report/). Now in October 2013 another collaboration took place, this time between the ensemble of renowned drummer Aksan Sjuman, the Aksan Sjuman and the Committee of  the Fest and two artistic German artists, bassist Henning Sieverts and saxophonist Christian Weidner. We already heard about this project since last April, finally now we saw it. And it was absolutely amazing.

Before we move on with the report from the concert in Bandung, let’s check the brief stats of both corners. Henning Sieverts is a musician who looks like a wizard putting the magic spell by using contrabass as his magic wand. It’s always stunning to see the way his fingers fly all over the fret with the facial expression that shows how much he enjoys it. He started with cello and piano in his early age but then moved to electric bass and contrabass in his 17 years of age. Soon after he began working in various bands in different cities in Germany while also studied journalism at the same time. His shining track record filled with a lot of awards and achievements, he was once the member of Peter Herbolzheimer’s famous ensemble, the “Bundesjazzorchester (The National Youth Jazz Orchestra)”. This wasn’t his first time having a gig in Indonesia, because he has come twice before. The first one was when he brought his very attractive and artistic concept of interpreting the painting collections made by a union of artists from 100 years ago named “Der Blaue Reiter” in October 2009 (read our report here:http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/jazz-break-revival-xv-with-henning-sieverts-quartett-and-imam-pras-quartet-the-report/). You can also read more about Der Blaue Reiter concept from Sieverts’ own words by reading our interview with him : http://jazzuality.com/interview/exclusive-interview-with-henning-sieverts/. The second one was two years later when he joined Max.bab in Serambi Jazz 2011 (http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/serambi-jazz-max-bab-the-report/). Henning is a busy man. Not only he actively plays in concert, he’s also involved in numerous radio and television productions. He’s listed in more than 100 CDs, 12 of them as the band leader. Looking at his activity, we are happy that he can still manage to spend some time here in Indonesia. We can never get enough of seeing him as he never stops to bring new ideas by utilizing his genius creativity.

Along with him came Christian Weidner. This man studied saxophone at different music universities both in Germany and Sweden. He already played with Gunter Hampel’s bands and Albert Mangelsdorff’s German-French Jazz ensemble during his early years which shows how talented he’s been from the beginning. He’s all over the Berlin jazz scene since 1999 and has worked together with many other famous names. Finally in 2004 he moved on to be a bandleader which released two albums “Choral” and “The Inward Song”. In 2012 he released a highly acclaimed album “Dream Boogie” with his Christian Weidner Quartett, in which Henning Sieverts is also listed as a member.

From the Indonesian soil came Aksan Sjuman and the Committee of the Fest. The son of legendary Indonesian director Sjuman Djaya, Aksan Sjuman isn’t new to the German jazz scene since he studied at Folkwang Hochschule in Eseen, Germany between 1989 and 1994. When he came home in 1995, it didn’t take long for him to establish his name. He joined the milestone Dewa 19 and became famous instantly. He resigned 3 years later but the success story continued on. He made commercially successful band, Potret with Anto Hoed and Melly Goeslaw in 2000, became a part of Humania, Indra Lesmana’s Reborn and the Riza3scapes (previously known as Trioscapes). Other than the bands, he also composed and co-directed many movie scoring projects such as “The Photograph”, “Laskar Pelangi”, “Garuda Di Dadaku”, “King, “Minggu Pagi di Victoria Park”, “Tanah Air Beta”, “Mereka Bilang Saya Monyet”, and “Sang Pemimpi”.


Now let’s talk about the Aksan Sjuman and the Committee of the Fest. This unique, highly interesting project was established in 2007, combines a truly talented famous drummer Aksan Sjuman with younger but amazing young jazz musicians such as Mery Kasiman (rhodes, keyboards, sequencer), Indra Perkasa (contrabass), Nikita Dompas and Dionysus Janapria (electric guitars) and Kartika Jahja (vocals). The Aksan Sjuman and the Committe of the Fest cooks their musical meal by taking the element of rock, fusion, country/folk, rap and new wave into their main ingredient, jazz. The combination created something dynamic, full of spontaneous improvisation that are made possible by the amazing talent inside this ensemble. They even dare to cross the lines, boldly breaking through existing boundaries. This team can go totally wild by taking the freedom into a new perspective but at other times can also go soft and smooth. The band loves to bring the kind of atmosphere that people need after work. Usually at these hours peoplelook for something free from daily routines or rules, and in the musical form it can appear as free-minded music, so free that this project even involves some Indonesian ethnic elements. Aksan Sjuman likes to call his project as the “21st Century Music” , a musical concept that’s surely able to bring a new experience.

We met Mery Kasiman just a while before the concert started. She expressed how happy she was in doing this project. “It’s very cool and fun! We met just a day before the concert and then cooked it up right away.” She also told us that each one has their own role in this project. “There will be no dominant player, because each of us has our part”, said Mery. They even created some songs directly when they met.




You’ve probably have heard the new big step of Goethe Institut’s successful overseas program, the Serambi Jazz in 2013. If before they separated the show between dedicated local jazz musicians and German players in different edition, in its 5th consecutive year the program moves on by presenting very special and interesting collaboration between artists from both sides of the sphere. The first one was held last April where Kai Brückner and Riza Arshad plus their respectable team mates gave an unforgettable coalition (read the report here: http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/serambi-jazz-kai-bruckner-and-riza-arshad-project-the-report/). As one of the goals of Serambi Jazz is to provide space for sharing knowledge and experience, the collaboration between German and Indonesian musician should be carried on for more, especially if we realize how many outstanding players both countries have today. You can only imagine what could happen when two different backgrounds collide in the name of jazz, especially when the word creativity is attached to it. Riza Arshad and Kai Brückner has done it, now here comes the next collaboration, ready to hit two cities: Jakarta (October 10, 2013 at GoetheHaus) and Bandung (October 11, 2013 at Aula Barat ITB). This time to collaboration will involve big number of players. It’s going to be Henning Sieverts and Aksan Sjuman Project. While bassist Henning Sieverts has saxophonist Christian Weidner on his side, the famous drummer Aksan Sjuman is bringing his Aksan Sjuman & the Committee of the Fest.

First, let’s take a look at Henning Sieverts. Born in Berlin in 1966, Henning has shown his talent since the early age during his early music education, amongst others in cello and piano. He earned a scholarship at the Berlin Conservatory and soon won the firt prize at the National Competition “Schüler komponieren” (“Students Compose”) in Germany.  In 1983 he started studying electric bass and contrabass on his own and soon after he began working in various bands in different cities in Germany. He also studied journalism while still keeping his track in playing and composing music. He even became one of the members of the famous Peter Herbolzheimer’s “Bundesjazzorchester”.  Other outstanding scholarship and awards he’s received including the scholarship of the City of Munich in 1990, 1st Prize of the jazz competition “International Society of Bassists” in 1991, the Bavarian Music Award (1994), the New German Jazz Award and New German Best Soloist Jazz Award (2007) and the “Echo Jazz Award” as best bass player for the CD “Henning Sieverts: Blackbird” (2010).

He’s not a new name in Serambi Jazz’s program since he’s been here supporting the program twice. The first one was when he brought Henning Sieverts Quartett to play the musical interpretation of painting collections from more than 100 years ago called Der Blaue Reiter in October 2009 (read our report here: http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/jazz-break-revival-xv-with-henning-sieverts-quartett-and-imam-pras-quartet-the-report/). You can also read more about Der Blaue Reiter concept from Sieverts’ own words by reading our interview with him : http://jazzuality.com/interview/exclusive-interview-with-henning-sieverts/. The second one was two years later when he joined Max.bab (http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/serambi-jazz-max-bab-the-report/). We have seen and known his way to appear like a wizard to put the magic spell by using his contrabass. His activity includes live performance, producing and composing. He’s involved in numerous radio and television productions, all for jazz. Today he’s taken part in more than 100 CDs; 12 of them as the band leader.

Next, Christian Weidner. He studied saxophone at different music universities in Hamburg, Berlin and Stockholm, Sweden. In his early years he’s already played in Gunter Hampel’s bands and in the legendary Albert Mangelsdorff´s German-French Jazz ensemble. Christian has been active painting up the Berlin’s jazz scene since 1999. Some of the names he’s worked together with are Hayden Chisholm, Nils Wogram, John Schröder, Frank Gratkowski, Jim Black, Eric Schäfer, Kalle Kalima, Ronny Graupe, Christian Lillinger, just to mention a few. In 2004 he gave his debut as a bandleader and composer resulting a CD “Choral”, followed by the highly acclaimed release “The Inward Song” (2010). Since 2011 he plays in “Der Rote Bereich” with Frank Möbus and Oli Steidle. He also established a trio with Kathrin Pechlof (Harp) and Robert Landfermann (Bass). In 2012 he released another highly acclaimed album “Dream Boogie” with his new quartet, the Christian Weidner Quartett where Henning Sieverts is listed as one of his team mates.

aksan sjuman, henning sieverts, christian weidner


Now here’s the Indonesian representatives, Aksan Sjuman and the Committee of the Fest. This unique, highly interesting project was established in 2007, combines a truly talented famous drummer Aksan Sjuman with younger but amazing young jazz musicians such as Mery Kasiman (rhodes, keyboards, sequencer), Indra Perkasa (contrabass), Nikita Dompas and Dionysus Janapria (electric guitars) and Kartika Jahja (vocals). The Aksan Sjuman and the Committe of the Fest cooks their musical meal by taking the element of rock, fusion, country/folk, rap all the way to reach new wave into their main ingredient, jazz. The combination resulted something dynamic, full of improvisation and spontaneity, even dare to cross the lines, boldly breaking through existing boundaries. This gang can go totally wide by taking the freedom into a new perspective but at other times can also go soft and smooth. It’s said to bring the kind of atmosphere that people need after work. At these hours people usually look for something free from daily routines or rules, and in the musical form it can appear as free-minded music, so free that this project even involves some Indonesian ethnic elements. Aksan Sjuman likes to call his project as the “21st Century Music” and promises to bring you such experience you’ve never had before.




Indonesia is blessed with so many music talents, spread over so many genres, including jazz. Jazz isn’t originated from this country but in USA, yet we never run out of talent. Throughout generation we have seen many players with amazing skills, some even miraculously appeared and hatched early. The most recent miracle is a little boy, age 10, named Josiah Alexander Sila, better known as just Joey Alexander.

Who could imagine a 10 year old Indonesian boy being the headline in the international jazz scene? It’s difficult to imagine, but yes, that has happened. Several month ago he won the Master-Jam Fest competition in the beautiful city of Odessa, Ukraine. There he stunned the panel of judges which consisted of world’s finest jazz connoisseurs. He won over hundreds of contestants from around the world, many of them were the jazz experts who have already played for many decades. Two years ago at the age of 8 he has got a tremendous and rare honor to play solo in front of jazz living legend Herbie Hancock when this iconic man came to Indonesia as a goodwill ambassador of UNESCO. He has played with much senior jazz cats and legends, he’s performed in many prestigious world-class festivals. With all these unbelievable achievement bagged by a player as young as Joey, one must wonder, how could it happen? When did he started? This seems to be a question that can only be answered by connecting it to God. That’s also exactly what Joey said when the MC of Serambi Jazz, Mr Denny Sakrie asked him the same question. “It’s a blessing from God,” said Joey.



If you’re still curious of him, let us share some of his profile. Joey was born in Denpasar, Bali on June 25, 2003. His parents bought him a mini keyboard when he was 6 years old. To their surprise, Joey played the melody line of Thelonious Monk’s classic, “Well You Needn’t” out of nowhere. His parents directly gave him piano lesson. This little boy chewed everything up in no time. In just a year or so, he could already play difficult jazz renditions, mastering the improvisation with perfect skill that enabled him to play alongside big names in spontaneous jam sessions.

All these wonderful stories attracted Serambi Jazz, a successful 2 monthly program of Goethe Institut Jakarta to feature him in the August edition of its 5th consecutive year in 2013 which directly placed Joey as the youngest musicians ever played for Serambi Jazz especially as the featured star.


Last Thursday on August 29th 2013 all seats were full inside the GoetheHaus. As usual it was presented free, yet once again the audience got high quality jazz performance.  After throwing some jokes, Denny Sakrie called the wonder boy to meet him on stage. “Good evening, thanks for coming to our show”, said Joey. Then he introduced Doni Sundjoyo on doublebass, Elfa Zulham on drums and Indra Dauna on trumpet. These amazing musicians have performed in Serambi Jazz many times, this time they were set to accompany Joey.