Proud to inform you that jazz once again landed big at the most happening mall in Bandung, Paris van Java. Javana Jazz Bistro 3rd continues what the previous two editions have left, with another fresh batch consisting two groups that play wide without leaving jazz inside their musical signatures. The collaboration between us, Jazzuality.com and the stylish and delicious Indo-Western eatery Javana Bistro as the venue made jazz accessible in this particular place. And the result is, we loved it! more crowded, more musicians and more colors. All running in the fast lane. The fun factor was above the roof.
Two bands, rooting in blues but actually, like we mentioned earlier, play wide showed that jazz belong to just about anybody. Meaning, jazz can go side by side with other genres and be enjoyed not only by the jazz lovers but also to the common listeners. It can be played by musicians who don’t play jazz in regular basis. The highlight of this third edition were interesting. All male, come from different background, offering different concept but just as fun. We are happy with the result.
The event started exactly at 8pm. It began with a group that has just embarked its new chapter, GFRtrio. First, let’s take a closer look at this band. This group originally formed on October 10, 2012 from frequent jamming at one studio in their highschool. The name GFR was actually taken from its members: Guntur Satria, Farhan Faikar and Raka Rizkyandi. They were doing great, particularly in playing the irresistible naughty blues. Since the leader Guntur Satria later on decided to pursue his solo career, the band was put to rest temporarily. But then the sad news came in: Guntur Satria passed away in such young age, just 21 years old. Losing a leader isn’t easy. Normally it would end the band’s journey. The left members, Farhan and Raka for a while were confused, whether they should continue or not. But then they realized they have to carry on. We are happy with their decision since we know these two boys are good players.
How did they solve the problem? First, they recruited new player to fill guitar’s position left by Guntur named Ijay Irawan. This young man is a fine blues guitarist who can play other instruments too, like bass, drum or even harp. Ijay also grows inside the blues world. He is the son of the legendary bluesman Budi Arab who has been riding his career too inside the same squire circle. Then, another player is featured as the vocalist, Erick Gabe. By the name of GFRtrio ft Erick Gabe, they are looking forward to continue what’s left.
Let’s go back to this event’s report. The first song being played was “Route 66” in swinging blues mode, then they went pop-ish with Ello’s “Gadisku”. They dipped deeper in blues with the signature song of James Brown “I Feel Good” which included Erick’s mouth trumpet attraction and played naughtily in “#2”, a song written by the late Guntur. Erick then left the stage for a while, letting Ijay took over his role. The trio sang “Last Day in My Room”, a song belong to Time Bomb Blues where Ijay’s father rooted in. This song gained huge applause from the audience due to way they nailed it. Erick came back and sang another Guntur’s song “You’re My Only Light” and then Sting’s “Englishman in New York.” Violist Pangestu Hning Bhawana who came was called to join them and gave more color into the pallette.
There were more familiar faces among the audience. One of them was senior guitarist/teacher Johnny Sitompul. He was invited to play along with a lady with unique harajuku style, Caroline. The song titled “Stay With Me”. Then GFRtrio and Erick Gabe sealed their session with “Just the Two of Us”. Farhan who left his bass to play keyboard drawed most of the applauses since he played really well. Pangestu was still there, plus our dear friend, female jazz singer Bawien Lilaning Panggalih trading scat with Erick in front.
Looking at their new format, we are optimist that they could have a bright future. All players are connected and able to perform joyfully in the spirit of jamming. They based the music on blues, but they clearly able to infuse different kinds of elements including jazz which shone bright in this gig. Farhan is getting sharper as a bassist, Raka gives stronger statement with his drumbeat. Ijay is an outstanding traditional blues player and Erick’s soulful voice gives another flavor to the band. From what we saw, eventhough they were just starting the new chapter, they seem to have the new character from the new players, that said without losing the original spirit of the band when Guntur was still alive. We want to keep looking at this band’s progression. If they keep the pace in this track, we know they will make it happen.
The next performer was the amazing guitarist, famous in the blues region but he’s an all rounder that gains popularity in the indie area. His name is Nissan Fortz. You might known him from his successful groups like Trias Akustika/The Trias, with Sarah Saputri as Sarah N Soul, the all-star cast Blues Libre and also with Erwin Saz. Imagine how busy he is. Lucky for us, we manage to get him for this event.
The all rounder but strongly spirited by blues guitarist Nissan Fortz recently feels the urge to build his solo career. Since 4 months ago he started writing songs and began to cook it with his team around 2 months after. Speaking of his team, look at the heavy artillery he brought in: an all-star cast consisting of Dimas Setiawan (bass; ex Sindentosca), Destra Sandjaya (drum; vocalist of Elpucino), Ade Irvan Riswandi (keyboardist; founder of ethnic band Pancasura) and Hadis ‘Hulhul’ Hendarisman (clarinet; playing in Tesla Manaf Quartet). A colorful but strong team as you can see, exactly the team he needs to strike well.
With such team, Nissan Fortz moved fast, pinning Bob Marley’s 1980 song “Get Up, Stand Up” as the first song. Then they went on with a song from the project of Eric Clapton, Marcus Miller, Steve Gadd, David Sanborn and Joe Sample titled “Ruthie”. “Baby Come On” added more flame and then they ended up with a song from Nissan Fortz’s upcoming album Day By Day, “Cantikku”. Again, violist Pangestu Hning Bhawana was featured in this one. Loud round applauses were given to them many, many times, showing how deep the audience were drowned into their act.
The dynamics, the pace, the statement and the joy were all there, built well by them. All songs were brought in the spirit of jam session conducted by Nissan himself. When a very good all-round player team up with an excellent team, the result is sensational. Not too many songs were played since they had to catch another schedule in quite far location, yet they marked a strong note in Javana Jazz Bistro. Jazz can be played in rebelious way, along with other styles, all fit into place creating a different sound and mood. Nissan Fortz is working fast to finish and promoting his album, let’s wish him the best.
Right after the showcase section came the open jam. But wait a minute. In this edition we got a special guest from Tangerang who plays guitar in unique fashion. He is Haara, the founder of Indonesian Fingerstyle Guitar Community (IFGC). From the name you could guess that he is actually focusing in a style which is really difficult to play, fingerstyle. If you haven’t heard it yet, that’s a technique of playing by plucking the strings directly with the fingertips, fingernails or picks as opposed to flatpicking.
This man is really something in terms of guitar playing, unlike what we see normally. He actually started with drums but then switched to guitar, firstly by learning classical. In 2012 he decied to quit classical to more challenging and free style and started the community. He began composing in 2014 and placed them in competitions. He made it to big 10, the only acoustic solo guitarist among other contestants. In 2015 he made his solo concert titled ENIGMA which also stands as the name of his EP that he’s been working on. One of his song “Incarnation of Dark” will be listed in the first fingerstyle album in Indonesia named “Seventh String Sonority”.
He answered our invitation to play two songs. He chose two Erik Mongrain’s songs, “Fearless” and “Equilibrium” . He didn’t necessarily play standard, but instead he utilizes jazz either in rhythm and chord progression. These comes naturally from him, and that’s possible because he’s been into jazz for quite a long time.
The time was already 10:30 pm, but the show was far from over. Jam session started, firstly taken by Widiyanto Sutanto (keyboard), Marissa Wiguna (drums) and Jerry Gates (guitar). They chose bossa classic “Desafinado”. Since they needed a bassist, Farhan came in and together they played “Spain”. Wahyu was next on guitar plus Farhan, Raka and Widiyanto. Joining them was vocalist Agis Kania. This group sang “Sunny”. Agis’ partner Opik Bape then came in for a shot, swinging beautifully with “Satin Doll”. “Just the Two of Us” was the last drop when the clock was getting closer to midnight.
From just a simple dream of Javana Bistro to establish itself as one of the jazz destinations in Bandung, the Javana Jazz Bistro now has reached the third edition. That means, so far there are 6 groups delivered variety of jazz right at the heart of the most happening mall in Bandung, Paris van Java. We are proud to make that dream come true, standing as the organizer to bring only the best groups into this monthly event. And that’s not all, because we always welcome you guys to be a part of the show. Not just as the audience but also as the player. More and more jamming participants came in, enjoying the stage as a happy playground. That’s what we really, really want. In every event that we made, we want jazz to be accessible in any way possible. Jazz has to be friendly and acceptable to everyone, it has to be enjoyable and entertaining. We will do our best for that. Next month we will be back again with another batch. Hint: there will be a dynamic duo consisting of outstanding swingin’ guitarist and a soul sister. Thank you for all the support, see you again in September.
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