Sunday, May 24, 2015
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serambi jazz




The previous edition of Serambi Jazz presented a collaboration between Benny Lackner Trio and Indonesian Azfansadara Karim and Johanes Radianto held twice: in Bandung (October 15,2014, and Jakarta (October 16, 2014). Since Serambi Jazz is a two monthly program, another episode is ready to launch in the first week of December. As the last edition was very special, one may wonder who will be placed under the spotlight and what concept will he bring. The answer is here. To close the 5th consecutive year of Serambi Jazz, the final show will feature a brilliant musician. He is a pianist, composer, arranger, music director, lecturer, producer and orchestrator (you may add a ‘creator’ too). Jazz is clearly his thing, but interestingly he always go extra miles by inventing unique and distinctive concept. He’s none other than Boby Limijaya, presenting his newest concept called BOBY LIMIJAYA QUINTCHESTRA. This concert will be held on December 4, 2014 starting 7:30 pm at GoetheHaus, Jakarta. As usual it’s presented free by Goethe Institut Jakarta.

boby limijaya, jazzuality, boby limijaya quintchestra, quintchestra


Before we take you deeper into his new Quintchestra, let us introduce you to Boby Limijaya first and his previous creations. Let’s begin with a little historical background. Boby Limijaya was born in Tangerang 34 years ago. He already showed interest not long after he was born and already played when he was still 6 years old. He graduated from Pelita Harapan University, majoring piano classical and then continued his formal education to Berklee College of Music in Boston USA with the scholarship. He took dual major in Berklee: Jazz Piano Performance and Jazz Composition.

Being a great student he grabbed Herb Pomeroy Award in 2009 for excellence in jazz composition by Berklee. His experiences gained by performing in many prestigious events such as Java Jazz Festival (2005, 2006 and 2012), JakJazz Festival (2006) besides appearances in smaller scenes. He was once the keyboardist of Andien (2004-2006), worked as the arranger for Christmas Album (2007) and the creator/music director of “Give Thanks” concert in 2006. Known as an active participant in jazz communities in Jakarta and Tangerang, nowadays he has his own orchestra, also works as an arranger and orchestrator, a lecturer and pianist plus band leader of the famous trio, B3.

From what we see, he plays jazz in wide covering area, meaning he doesn’t stuck in one particular style. He’s expressive when placed behind the piano, he conducts his orchestra like a pro. And like we said earlier, he has many ideas and knows how to cook it. His latest CD received critical acclaims, both for his unique concept and his efforts to record it. If normally a band utilizes 4 to 6 brasses, he expanded it into 8 with 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, one alto and tenor saxophones plus clarinet and flute. Calling it Boby Limijaya 8 Horns, it was neccessary for him to go all the way to Budapest. He played with Budapest Jazz Orchestra and recorded the album in there. Not a normal path to take, but the CD’s released as a beautiful package where the bop and staightahead eras all the way to 70’s jazz-rock fusion live in, plus the addition of rich multi-layered sounds created by these 8 horn players. We have written an comprehensive article about it. You can read it here: “Boby Limijaya 8 Horns with Budapest Jazz Orchestra: A Fine Jazzchestra’s Journey” ( The album’s titled “Journey”. If you haven’t got it yet, you can order it to us via this link :


boby limijaya, jazzuality, boby limijaya 8 horns, boby limijaya quintchestra, quintchestra


Now, let’s move on to the main subject, his new Quintchestra. What he means by Quintchestra is the combination of jazz quintet with orchestra, plus the flute and clarinet that he has used in the 8 Horns concept. “Basically I got reference from Michael Brecker Quindectet. I just want to try combining the jazz quintet concept with string orchestra and clarinet and flute.” he said. But this Michael Brecker’s 15-piece brainchild which was established in 2003 is not the only source of inspiration for Boby in giving birth to his Quintchestra. He expands his reference by listening to Metropole Orchestra and todays popular New York-based fusion band, Snarky Puppy.




Serambi Jazz hasn’t visited Bandung for quite some times. So now that the program landed again in the Parahyangan soil, the jazz aficionados should be excited. It was a 5 star quality concert with very interesting collaboration between a group who’s been placing its feet on Berlin and New York, and two of the best Indonesian musicians from younger generation. Representing Europe is a group formed more than a decade ago in New York, Benny Lackner Trio. This trio is led by the German-American pianist Benny Lackner, who’s been known as one of the most successful students of Brad Mehldau.

The trio came for an Asia, Australia and New Zealand tour in order to promote their 5th album, “Sisikiyou” which was recorded at the famous Jazzanova Studio in Berlin. For this tour Benny Lackner is accompanied by drummer Matthieu Chazarenc and bassist Paul Philipp Kleber. Speaking of Paul, we have been wowed by his mastery play last year when he came with Kai Brückner for a mind-bending encounter with Riza Arshad Project on April 2013. If this trio is already stunning, the collaboration with two of considerably young but highly skilled musicians got their master degrees in Netherlands: Johanes Radianto (guitar) and Adra Karim (keyboard/B3 organ).



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We attended the Bandung gig on October 15, 2014 which took place at the historical hall of ITB, the Aula Barat (West Hall). There were lots of things going down in this particular spot in the 70’s when it comes to the history of jazz in Bandung. So placing such classy concert like this in this building created some kind of different atmosphere to the already fully spirited one.

The concert started right after the welcome speech from ITB, Mrs Sulastri and Riza Arshad. Lackner began with glittery solo piano as the opening of soft, smooth with David Bowie’s “Cygnet Committe.” Adra Karim joined them shortly after to play “Pianohaus”, a song listed in their 2012 album, “Chacuma”. The beauty of free jazz shone from them where both piano and keyboard collided yet they went on harmoniously.



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Let’s get a little bit deeper with Benny Lackner Trio. This group was build under a standard jazz trio formation, but their concept is anything but typical. Their music is like the combination of hard grooving beats, slow, atmospheric sounds and modern jazz. The balance of the composed music and improvisation contains a deep respect for the Jazz tradition but at the same time bringing out contemporary elements of modern music which can be inspired by Radiohead as well as harmonic language inspired by composers such as Brahms and Chopin and Keith Jarrett. You can only imagine the wideness of their coverage musical area.

In a way, you can say that their music resonances the expressive jazz. They decorate their music with slight electronic that spiced the acoustic sound with subtle electronics by utilizing organ like  the Nord that’s being used in this concert. The team marched on playing totally collective with each member plays an equal role inside. Modern, groovy beating rhythm, artistic and in their veins, you can find the fine electrocoustic feel.



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So far they had formed a quartet at the West Hall of ITB.  Johanes Radianto expanded the formation to quintet. “Name Dropper” arrived in fair fusion style. They went dreamy in the next song, not too long but enough to share a lot of feelings. Benny and Paul left the stage and a new organ trio was formed between Adra, Johanes and Matthieu. A warm swingin’ straightahead became a base for them to play around. That include, a cool 8-bar trading.

Lackner and Kleber came back again to play a song from their new album titled “Heartracer”. Heartbeating, heartpounding, and certainly, heartracing that was kept intense and sharp.

“A Park” brought them back to the beautifully build melodical structure. Next they played Adra’s composition titled “It Hurts A Bit” that created the wonderland atmosphere.


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The unconventional interpretation of some diverse contemporary works of artists ranging from Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Björk, Feast to David Bowie has won more and more crowds everywhere they landed. But that’s not all, since they can fly their wings to reach wider lands by making surprisingly insightful arrangements of Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk and the Gershwins. and of course Benny’s former private mentor Brad Mehldau who openly stated his compliment to Benny.

The variation and combination between interesting covers and originals can be found in their collections like “Not the Same” (2003), “Sign of the Times” (2006), “Pilgrim” (2007) and “Cachuma” (2012). In the brand-new 5th album “Sisikiyou” they continue to feature a modern, groove-oriented sound with electronic embellishments. Funky, but full with twisting techniques that can only be done by highly skilled players like these lads.




It’s certainly good to see Goethe Institut‘s successful program Serambi Jazz‘ is being busy in the Indonesian jazz scene recently. The last show in Jakarta was two months ago, on August with Tuslah (the unique quartet of Riza Arzhad, Sri Hanuraga on piano, Adra Karim and Elfa Zulham) ( Normally we would wait until the next program in November since Serambi Jazz is a two monthly event, but for this year this program landed on two different cities: Yogyakarta and Surabaya in between the regular schedule. The Duo Project (Dhani Syah and Johanes Radianto) was in Yogyakarta in July ( and then Sketsa (in trio format with Gerald Situmorang, Dimas Wibisana and Andreas Arianto) visited Surabaya ( So not only Serambi Jazz’s wings spread wider, they have been flapping more too. So talk about penetrating Indonesia with good quality of jazz concert, this program has been doing remarkably well.

As we have entered the month of October, that means it’s about time to have the next regular schedule of Serambi Jazz. We have received the official announcement from Goethe Institut Jakarta, and it turns out to be special. For the November 2014 edition, Serambi Jazz is presenting a trio who place their feet on two cities, Berlin and New York. Led by the German-American pianist Benny Lackner, here comes a group of three formed about a decade ago in New York City, Benny Lackner Trio.


benny lackner, serambi jazz, jazzuality


Yes, it’s true that Benny Lackner’s group was build under a standard jazz trio formation, but their concept is anything but typical. The music is a combination of hard grooving beats, slow, atmospheric sounds and modern jazz. The balance of the composed music and improvisation holds a deep respect for the Jazz tradition and at the same time bringing out contemporary elements of modern music inspired by Radiohead as well as harmonic language inspired by composers such as Brahms and Chopin and Keith Jarrett. They refer their music to expressive jazz, that might be the good way to describe this multi-dimensional band. They decorate their music with slight electronic augmentation and drum programming, playing totally collective with each member plays an equal role inside. Together with drummer Matthieu Chazarenc and bassist Jerôme Regard, the trio establishes a new horizon of jazz unlike we have seen or heard before. Modern, groovy beating rhythm, artistic and utilizes both electronic and acoustic instruments can be found in their veins, something that they have started since 2002.

The unconventional interpretation of some diverse contemporary works of artists ranging from Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Björk, Feast to David Bowie has won more and more crowds everywhere they landed. But that’s not all, since they can fly their wings to reach wider lands by making surprisingly insightful arrangements of Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk and the Gershwins. Hey, we should add Brad Mehldau too, since Mehldau is actually, once, the private mentor of Lackner. By looking at these names you could get a slight hint of how diverse this group is in their play. But of course they have their own original songs which all can stand as their masterpiece. All of these stuffs are documented in their recordings such as “Sign of the Times” (2006), “Pilgrim” (2007), “Cachuma” (2012) and their brand-new 5th album, “Sisikiyou” (2014) that they are currently promoting by being on tour to Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The album Sisikiyou was recorded at the famous Jazzanova Studio in Berlin and features a modern, groove-oriented sound with electronic embellishments.

Jazz Times stated that their sound “is a direct result of the influence of the trios of Keith Jarrett, Ahmad Jamal, Brad Mehldau and Bill Evans.” From what we have seen in Benny Lackner Trio’s live recordings on Youtube, their repertoires are quite indescribable. We got something different from each videos, where highlight can be found in every tune. They could play bluesy, sophisticated like Norah Jones, but on the other hand they can go wild and challenging by performing the progressive jazz/rock even reaching out to touch the experimental. No matter what or how they play, the manouvers are stunning, as if they want to catch you off-guard through each played material.

Benny Lackner Trio was here in 2011 brought by @America and Beyond Production. For this 5th album promo Asia-Australia-New Zealand tour, the bass position is given to Paul Kleber. Special for the trip to Indonesia, two Indonesian musicians are featured too. They are keyboardist Azfansadra (Adra) Karim and guitarist Johanes Radianto. Both of these considerably young but highly skilled musicians got their master degrees in Netherlands. It’s going to be interesting to see how these lads would reinforce the Benny Lackner Trio and create even richer tones and possibilities than ever.

Now let’s see the profile of each member.


benny lackner, serambi jazz, jazzuality


Benny Lackner (piano)
He’s said to be the incarnation of Bill Evans or the younger Brad Mehldau. Benny Lackner was born in Berlin. He moved to California at the age of 13. He received BFA from the California Institute of the Arts under the direction of big names such as Charlie Haden and David Roitstein. Then he continued by studying privately with pianist Brad Mehldau. He’s seen in various jazz festivals including North Sea, Monterey and Montreux Jazz Festivals. This once called young lions has played alongside big names including Billy Higgins, Brad Shepik, Marc Ribot, Pheeroan akLaff and many more. Today he lives in New York City and Berlin. Other than working on the trio, he’s also active as a sideman and composer.




From 2009 Serambi Jazz has been providing series of quality concerts in Jakarta that involve both great local talents and European artists, mostly from Germany. This event belongs to Goethe-Institut Indonesien with Riza Arshad stands as the curator got so many loyal fans in no time, and said to be one of the most successful overseas programs of Goethe. Riza once said that this event was made as an alternative and complement the already existed events. But what this program brings is more than just that. For example, 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. The artists who show high commitment to jazz got a good spot to perform in front of the jazz aficionados in Jakarta. Later Serambi Jazz extended its service to reach other cities like Bandung, the capital of West Java and then stretched further to meet Yogyakarta and Surabaya. And that’s a good move, since those cities have many jazz fans too that are thirsty for a high quality event. Serambi Jazz definitely can quench that thirst.

Yogyakarta just got their wish two last July with Duo Project representing Serambi Jazz. Then two months later Surabaya got the chance. The Goethe Institut and Wisma Jerman Surabaya (Goethe-Centre/Goethe-Zentrum Surabaya) proudly presented 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 took place at Ciputra Hall, Performing Arts Centre, Sekolah Ciputra, Puri Widya Kencana, Citraland, Surabaya with good amount of crowds.

Good amount of crowds? Yes. Let’s see some facts. The location of the venue is quite far from central Surabaya, and there were many events ran at the same time. But still, many jazz lovers spent time to be there watching the cool acoustic group from Jakarta.


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Serving the opening act was a jazz fusion band from Surabaya named Deny and the Add. Under quintet formation the band released the joy of funky jazz fusion into the atmosphere. After that, madame Birgit Steffan, the Director of Wisma Jerman Surabaya gave the opening speech. And then the main show started right after.

Gerald Hiras Situmorang and Dimas Wibisana, the dynamic duo of Sketsa took their position on stage. Without further ado, they began sailing with the title track of their second album, “Different Seasons”.


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Sketsa was originally formed as a duo almost a decade ago (in 2005). That’s the core formation. Just like the name says, the way they play music is like two painters painting as one. What they ‘paint’ on their ‘canvas’ is an connected discussion or heartfelt dialogue that can be enjoyed by anyone. Both have their own role in creating a masterpiece on the same canvas. Two should already be enough, that’s what we might think. But along the journey Gerald and Dimas have been enjoying the dynamic soundscapes through variety of extensions. Gerald once told us that he always needs varieties to avoid stagnation. Moreover, both of them always love to have richer tones by adding up other instruments than guitar. Who could predict that they would stretch the band from just guitar to ‘crowdier’ sounds involving contrabass, violin, percussion, clarinet, accordion and some vocals in adding up some more aestethic taste? But they have done it. Another important thing to note is that in any formations, Sketsa happily flies higher than genre. They serve rich varieties of sound, from jazz, bossanova, folk, pop and ethnics, not separately but in harmony to create enjoyable sounds that fits the ear of anyone who loves music.

For the second song, they called in one more player, Andreas Arianto Yanuar. From duo to trio, that’s right, but hey, Andreas didn’t play the usual instrument found in normal trio, he played accordion and clarinet. Andreas is not a newcomer in Sketsa at all. He’s been playing with the band since 2010 and participated in “Different Seasons”. Other than being a multi-instrumentalist, Andreas Arianto Yanuar is a well-established music producer, arranger and songwriter. You will find him in other successful bands too such as Andre Harihandoyo and Sonic People for example. As a trio, they played the fast-paced country-ish tune, “Horse Race”.


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For the third song they played “Try Anything”, a composition that told a story of a man who’d do and try anything to win the heart of someone he truly loves. It started with clarinet that soon filled with the harmony of two guitars. This attempt created a sweet, soft nuance yet dynamic. During the concert they loved to throw jokes or making up funny gestures. Talk about the effort of making everyone felt at ease, they did it really, really well. Or maybe, it wasn’t even an effort since everything flew naturally from them.

In the fourth song, Dimas led the audience to clap their hands and used it as the beat. Andreas took his accordion and played “Cousins.” Not only accordion, Andreas also played clarinet in this one. Meanwhile, Dimas kept reminding the audience to provide the beat with their hands. The 5th song “Up and Down” kind of took the audience into a jolly joyride. Sketsa got a huge applause in this one.

What’s interesting is that Gerald took the chance to introduce his newer group called Gerald Situmorang Trio. With this group he recently released an album entitled “Time is the Answer”. More songs came in such as “Kita Tidak Bisa Mengulang Masa Lalu/Namun Ada Masa Depan”, “Anak Bungsu” (the album version is featuring Tohpati), the title track of the first album “Childhood’s Dream”, “Hop Hop” all the way to reach the end with one of their most popular tracks, “Into the Light”.


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Taking Sketsa to Surabaya as the representative of Serambi Jazz was indeed a brilliant decision. This group is filled with experienced young lads that can give warm concert tone. They are explorative and love to spread the wings wide in creating music, yet somehow all pieces are friendly even to common ears. Under the trio formation Sketsa served a very intimate atmosphere. Some songs were melancholy but beautiful, creating the impression of sweet sorrow. “Did you try to close your eyes? I did, and somehow I felt like I was in Paris in the spring time” said one of the audience to us. While the harmonious sounds from two guitars took us into a journey around the globe, accoustically, in crossovers, Andreas’ accordion gave a strong scent of European accoustic scene/scent, just like the musicians you found while streaming along the streets of Paris.

Based on the great, appreciative response given by the crowds, we hope Serambi Jazz to keep Surabaya in the schedule. The good quality concert and players will stimulate and motivate the local musicians to reach their best state. Thank you Sketsa, Serambi Jazz, Goethe Institut and Wisma Jerman Surabaya for a beautiful concert. We loved it! May there be more to come.

See more pictures:

Reporter: Destina Kawanti
Photographer: I Putu Surya KB, Pramadi Wardhana
Editor: Riandy Kurniawan




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 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 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: 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: . 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 ( 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: 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.