Braga Jazz Night #58 : The Report

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Indonesia has just done with the election. Most of us wished it to be peaceful, but with the hoax and negative campaigns that filled up the atmosphere for months, some problems seems to be unavoidable. Thank God the law enforcements are able to have the situation in control, so we all can keep on doing our jobs, tasks and callings during this kind of season.

We always believe that. That’s why we decided to keep the event running normally as scheduled. And it went on smooth without any problem. For the BRAGA JAZZ NIGHT #58 we featured young musicians from kids to young adults. One band representing an educational institute that has music as one of its fortes, one is a union of alumnus and students of a music school in Bandung and a considerably new band with quite achievements.

BragaJazzNight-58-GitaBawana (1)After a short opening speech by the founder of Jazzuality also the initiator of this event, the team from GITA BAWANA. Gita Bawana is an educational institution in Bandung with variety of classes including Music Course, Music Production, Traditional and Modern Dance Course and Modelling. Jazz is an integrated and important part of the music course in its curriculum, which for us is no wonder since there are quite many skilled jazz musicians working there as the teachers.

Some of you may notice that their logo appears in every poster and promotional materials of this event. That’s because they have been generously supporting us by providing the acoustic drum and keyboard, something that are essential or even vital for us. Without their support, this event would probably stop running at least since 2 years ago. For us, this shows Gita Bawana’s commitment to community event which can be a part of educational system.

This time we got the chance to see some of the talented students of Gita Bawana recommended by the teachers, consisting of kids and teenagers. And their appearance was fully supported by their teachers, who proudly performed alongside them. FYI, this is not the first time for them to participate, because they were here last year in #44 edition.

A set of teachers acted as the anchor. They are Zahar Mustilaq (drum), Dede SP (bass) and Yopi D Nafis (keyboard). As you may already know, they are all the pillars of a mind-bending cross Sundanese Jazz Fusion band West Java Syndicate. Before the event started, they played one song taken from their album just as a warming up, which for us taken as a special treat. After the event was officially opened, the trio of teachers played Jaco Pastorius’ “Chicken” that quickly gained applauses from the audience.

Speaking of the audience, we are grateful that once again this edition got many jazz lovers gathered around the stage. This kind of support will definitely boost the spirit of these young musicians to perform at their best and certainly will help them to grow. For that, we thank you. Really, we appreciate it.

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Zahar then called Anita to come on stage. Anita is still 5 years old, currently studies singing and piano at Gita Bawana. She already appeared last year, so we were excited to see how she is now.

She surprised us with her song choice. Not wanting to take it easy, she sang Mariah Carey’s “Through The Rain”, a song that would be so difficult for a little girl like her. But she did very, very well accompanied by her teachers. She surprised us more with the fact that they had no rehearsal beforehand. Imagine a 5 year-old girl came on stage taking this kind of wide-range song, for us that’s remarkable.

BragaJazzNight-58-GitaBawana (5)The guitar student who’s also learning drum, Vira was next. She is also young, still in 7th grade. The song she chose was “Can’t Help Fallin’ In Love”. Apparently she didn’t want to do it like usual, because she added more groove in faster tempo. “Next time you should choose drum on this stage”, said Zahar to her. Hey, we agree. We’d love to see Vira doing it.

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A young lady took the last segment. Who could guess that this lady is not a student but working there as an admin. She is Sylvia Ramadhanty. The song she selected was a classic from Chaka Khan written by ‘The Hitman’ David Foster, “Through the Fire”. As the song is familiar, many of the audience sang along with her. With Sylvia, Gita Bawana sealed their show.

After a year passed, we think it’s time for us to have the people from this art insitution again. The music division has done great work on its students, no doubt about it. Why not, they have great teachers who are friendly and humble supporting them. The good connection between teachers and students is noted too. We are happy to have them again and look forward to meet them again in the near future.

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The second session featured a considerably new band in town, PUDING LAVA. Established 2 years ago, they chose pop jazz to express their love towards jazz. It’s built upon 6 players: Mukti Bawono (keys), Muhammad Mauli Rahman (guitar), Ochika Widiaritami (vocal), Muhamad Agustio (drum), Alwi Hidayat Harahap (bass) and Arul Ramadhan (saxophone).

The band is still in their second year running, but they have made some breakthroughs. They competed in the annual competition Jazzphoria earlier this year, that’s for a start. But that’s not the only one, because they were also attended the Maranatha Competition and Mahakarya Competition which they won first prize. It’s only a matter of time for them to be a part of this regular event, and the time came in this edition.

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The band kicked off with interesting stuff. They gave a different version of Potret’s famous hit from 1997, “Salah”. Their version still carry the fast, upbeat style but appear more jazzy both in music and groove, making the song sounds fresh and current. For the second song they pinned a single from a new sensation Reality Club, “Is It The Answer”.

BragaJazzNight-58-PudingLava (9)A blast from the past came next, the late Dian Pramana Poetra and Deddy Dhukun (together as 2D)’s classic, “Masih Ada”. If the original was made as a ballad, this band took it differently, redressing it into power, toe-tapping disco. Just like their first song, this attempt gives a fresh new look on this gem from the late 80’s. The recent hit of Rizky Febian “Kesempurnaan Cinta” came right after.

They gave two more songs. Daniel Caesar’s song (feat H.E.R) “Best Part” was delivered nice and clean. And then for the last song, once again Puding Lava made a manouver by serving Dewa 19’s “Kangen” in totally different way, not as a ballad but in a groovy upbeat.

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Puding Lava is the kind of cake that’s sweet, delicious taste with yummy look that would make anyone who eat it feels happy. It’s clear why they use the name, because under pop jazz that they chose as their platform, they intend to give it to their audience. This band give something simple but fun and current. A pop jazz band is important to reach wider listeners and expose them to jazz, and Puding Lava band could do it. Puding Lava has been running for 3 years, may there be many, many more fruitful years to come.

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The last act featured a band called DEAN’S KOLEGA KATOB. Just like the name says, this band is built as a project by guitarist Dean Muliawan, better known as Dean Bach. He told us that the first intention of making it is for fun, mainly set to fulfill his regular gigs. But since he’s clicked with the players he brought in, soon after the project is ready to take just about any stage.

In case you wonder what the word “Katob” means, it’s a reversal of ‘botak’ (bald), the head style Dean the way he wants it to be. Speaking of music style, they are into jazz fusion. We know how good this band is because they are not a first-timer for this event. They already landed here two months ago in #56 edition to support their friend Yohan Davita (read it here: http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/braga-jazz-night-56-the-report/). Other than that, they all come from a top music college in Bandung, Sekolah Tinggi Musik Bandung (STiMB). Dean has graduated from it, but the rest are still studying in there.

For this event, the formation consists of Dean Bach (guitar), Fransiscus Firman (flute) and Arif Andrian (drum), Badai Keke (bass), Arbiyasa Witha Pramara Adhi (guitar) and Sheira (keyboard).

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The first one was the song Dean played in his recital. It was Mike Stern’s “Play”. Right from the start we could clearly see that this Dean and his colleague is one class act. They gave strong statement with neat execution, where plenty of goodies were found along the way. Dean and Badai showcased eye-catchy action on the right side of the stage. Arif’s sharp drum banging, Sheira’s wicked keyboard playing were fabulous, and Fransiscus’ flute and Arbiyasa’s extra guitar sound added more vibrant colors into their musical pallette. It was intense.

They kept the fire on with Dean’s own composition, “Exploration”. Just like the title, this song allowed each of them to explore the music wild, just like a group of surfers riding multiple big waves merrily. A triumphant composition executed efortlessly great.

BragaJazzNight-58-DeansKolegaKatob (7)Then came the song that Dean said familiar to every student in his college. “Everybody got to be able to play it”, he said. The song is Lee Ritenour’s “Night Rhythm”. While rooting on with the basic, they created plenty of room to have fun and filled it with jolly-flowing improvisation. With Dean led the party, their version goes more rocking than Lee’s original. It’s also interesting to hear flute sound on this one, which we don’t get to hear often. This song has been brought many times on this event, but Dean’s version is still able to offer something fresh that make us feel like listening to it for the very first time. For the last song, they took a famous pop song from Reza, “Berharap Tak Berpisah” and made a cool jazz fusion version of it.

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Dean’s Kolega Katob has really good students and alumnus of a famous music college that are driven by passion. They play everything right on point with lively dynamics that could entertain the audience more than just through music. The band knows what to do when having a jazz-rock guitarist as a leader, and the leader knows how to let his colleagues have their moment. This band also shows that sometimes it’s not about the complexity of arrangement but more about having fun together under the spirit of jamming. Surely we will invite them again to explore what they have inside.

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Since we still got a little extra time, we quickly opened up the jam session. This time the session was taken by Yopi Navis (keyboard) and Zahar Mustilaq (drum) from Gita Bawana, Dean Bach from Dean’s Kolega Katob, Joe Bastian (bass) and bluesman Eki Johan (guitar). They picked Herbie Hancock’s masterpiece “Cantaloupe Island” to send the joy to everyone who were still watching. We would love to continue, but unfortunately the closing time of the mall has come, so we had to seal this edition right here.

BragaJazzNight-58-Tidbits

Three acts with different portion of jazz, different jazz style and different approach. As you can see, jazz can appear in so many different form, but this is still a very few of the countless but united world of jazz.

We thank you all performers for giving their best on our stage. We thank all supporters, and certainly the audience, for without you none of this would happen.

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We will be back again next month with another set of bands. But that’s not all, because as we are marching in to the fasting month of Ramadhan, we are going to make it a special edition, Ramadhan Jazz. Thank you once again, see you in a month!

See more pictures:

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Reporter/photographer: Riandy Kurniawan .

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