Jazzuality @ TP 08 : The Report (Final Episode)

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Our jazz community event at the TP Stage of the Papandayan Hotel called JAZZUALIY @ TP hits the final chapter after being paused by the management due to the holy month of Ramadhan and re-evaluation process. For this last edition we featured all young musicians/singer who has stepped forward in their career by having their own original songs. Each of them has something special to offer, and we are proud to feature them.

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Performing first was a project of a young bassist Joe Bastian simply called JOE PROJECT. Joe is no stranger since he has participated in our events for more than 3 years. We saw a strong will, passion and good skill in him, therefore we suggested him to establish his own band so he could strengthen his position as a musician. Since last year he has been showing progress as shown in each of his appearance on our stage.

Joe is quite an all rounder. While he is into fusion, we have seen him playing pop, RnB, soul just as good. He can do Bossa nova really well too, using both bass and guitar. Just a couple of days after this, Joe is going to dig Blues in our other event. That shows how wide his musical pallette really is. We wonder what he would bring to this gig, it turned out to be the genre that represents him the most: Jazz Fusion.

Joe is surrounded by friends who also share the same passion as him. This time he brought three of them, including his long time friend M Rizqi Pratama (guitar), Erchy Tarnanto (drum) and the keyboardist of Chakraborty and Owcindful, Nicodemus Horisson.

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Joe and his friends started with smooth jazz composition of Agung Munthe titled “Afternoon Stroll”, giving everyone a warm, pleasuring and relaxing vibe just like the feeling when we go on a short leisurely walk in a beautiful afternoon. After that, Joe led his mates to play Fusion Stuff’s song written by its founder Krishna Siregar titled “Little Briescha”. This song was made by Krishna for his baby daughter, Briescha. It was made sweet, unfortunately Briescha sadly passed away too soon. Because of that, we mourn everytime we hear the song. Joe Project took the song and kept all the sweet essence, we could feel them sending the prayers by playing it but at the same time they let us go through a sweet memories Krishna and family have from the time when Briescha was still around.

After that, Joe took Barry Likumahuwa’s “Walking With The Bass”. As Barry is a bassist who successfully stands as a band leader, this song gave Joe to be more in front, walking and grooving his bass. This toe tapping, funky track suits Joe Project really well. While Joe showcased his funky side, Rizqi got his best moment through sharp rockin’ solo run.

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Then Joe called her friend to join the crowds. She is the Big 7 of the singing contest reality television show Mamamia: Agnes Olivia Gunawan, who’s existed as a regular singer in several places after the competition. Her heavy, smokey vocal fitted on covering another Barry Likumahuwa and his BLP song, “Cinta Abadi”. With this song, Joe Project sealed their TP Stage moment.

After playing for us quite many times, we believe that it’s time for him to taste the atmosphere of the jazz club The Papandayan Hotel provided. It turns out we are right, Joe and his band gave a strong, solid performance that clearly shows how much they enjoyed the moment. A really nice start for this edition, thanks to Joe Project.

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For the second session we featured a young girl with amazing talent who is making a big step when she just turned 18. She started her career not long ago, but she rose fast as she began to appear not only in community events but also big festivals. She plays guitar like a pro, working her fingers like magic the way Joe Pass did. But that’s not all, because she often sings at the same time. She’s charming and glowing on stage. She is NAYRA DHARMA.

This girl is indeed one of a kind. If you wonder how she could be ready that fast, we can tell you some of the reason. First, she is talented, inheriting the DNA from her daddy, co-founder of Krakatau, Pra Budidharma. But that’s not all, because she is really dilligent, or militant could be a better way to describe her seriousness. If usually girl her age would go hang out with friends to malls, theatres, cafes and so, she chose more to practice, which could take around 8 hours a day. We often found that her hands injured, but she never surrender. She still practice and perform under any circumstances. She doesn’t just play and sing, she can also write songs, and speaking of singing, she can do other language than English and Indonesia. So it’s a no brainer for us to see her grow so fast.

After sailing as solo, duo and then trio (using drum and then switched to kendang to explore more ethnic Sundanese sounds), just last month Nayra released her first single titled “In A Blur”. This classy and heartfelt Bossa Nova song speaks (represents) one of the problems faced by teenagers everywhere. That’s when you are facing a crossroad, unsure and confuse which road to take next. Wondering restless not knowing where and why. Even when all seems lost, the song speaks her soul that knows that there’s always hope at the end of the line. You can read more details about the song here: http://jazzuality.com/jazz-events/jazzuality-tp-08/.

For tonight Nayra got an essential support from her buddy, a genius keyboardist Jason Limanjaya who has been supporting her since the early stage of her career. Before playing, Nayra told us that other than promoting her newest single, she also brought a special theme for this gig, and that’s “Broken Heart”.

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As we said before, any song she plays is outstanding, but when she plays/sings bossa, it’s magic. She directly put a spell on everyone by single handedly crying her heart out with Rosa Passos’ “Juras”. She already bagged loud applause right from the first verse, and that’s no wonder since not only her charm took the whole room by storm and the way she played authentic bossa on guitar along with ‘telling the story’ with her satin-smooth voice like a real Brazilian, but she also sang it with full emotion. Not just the music, her facial expression told it all.

Nayra invited Jason to take his position behind the grand piano. From solo to duo, they took on “Você Vai Ver”, again by placing deep emotion into the song. Jason did an awesome job by exploring jazz freely over the keys, but amazingly kept it all in bossa mood. According to him, he’s just trying his best to match Nayra’s chord progressions, but for us he did it spectacularly.

Nayra then introduced her single “In A Blur”, telling the story of the moment when one doesn’t know where to go for the next chapter of her life, feeling insecure in a blurry future. The combination of really beautiful, bitter-sweet melody and the poetic lyrics made the song a gold as if it was written by Jobim and sang by Astrud Gilberto. Jason contributed big time in building the drama with his amazing bossa-jazz touch, matching Nayra’s heartfelt works. The single speaks something relevant to teenagers based on her own experience when she was in the same situation. Emotional, poetically sad but Nayra doesn’t want to spread the negative vibe by telling us that despite all the blur, there’s always hope waiting in front of us.

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For the last song Nayra and Jason took us visiting another Bossa Nova classic by Djavan, “Flor de Lis”. This song has been sung by so many artists throughout decades including one of the most memorable ones at present time by Gretchen Parlato. Eventhough she still chose to present it in darker tone, the beautiful sight of watching ‘Lily Flower’ and the fragrance were clearly felt through their play. Just like the first two songs, Nayra demonstrated how fluent she could sing in Portuguese as if she was born and grew in Brazil.

Watching Nayra’s transformation is certainly fascinating, from the day she started up to this moment when she is already a well established musician with one single available in every major online outlets. An album is to come, and then we will wait to see where she will go next. One thing for sure, success for her is not in a blur. It’s something certain if she keeps going straight on track.

While she swings and bops real good, we always believe she is a natural born Bossa Nova artist. She sparks magic whenever she sings Bossa, it feels authentic and classy when her smooth breezy soft voice complimenting her dancing fingers above the fret. And the way she connects with her heart, mind and soul in singing Bossa is truly amazing. There are many singers sing Bossa from time to time, but it’s rare to find someone does it as authentic and pure as Nayra. Jason is a perfect companion that could make the audience forget about the need of a band in order to get the best of jazz-tertainment. Congrats and good luck Nayra, stay true to your calling and go dance among the stars.

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The final act featured a 14 year-old boy who rose to fame after becoming one of the finalists of Indonesian Idol Junior in 2017. He finished in top 10, that’s not bad at all, since to go there he has had beating thousands of other kids. We met him in Jazzphoria, a jazz competition created by MLD. There he finished second, proving that jazz, something that he’s been into since the beginning is actually a perfect habitat for him to live in. For us, having met and known someone talented like him actually wishes to take the jazz road is a pleasant surprise. We offered him to use our community as a start, he gladly accepted it. After series of performances and jam sessions in our yard, finally he’s landed here inside the TP Stage. Oops we forget to mention his name. He is Akbar Herliansyah, better known as AKBAR IDOL JUNIOR.

This boy is a natural born artist. He enjoys being on stage and great in spreading good vibes to his audience. While usually boys his age struggle with all the effects of puberty, including or especially the changing of vocal tone for singers, Akbar knows how to deal with it. Other great things about this boy is good song choice, ranging from the jazz standards to today’s groovy/jazzy hits both from his own nation and abroad. He also sings by connecting his heart which makes any song he sings become heartfelt.

Two months ago he took a higher step. From his father we were informed that he made his first ever jazzy song titled “Cinta Membuatku Bahagia” (in English: “Love Makes Me Happy”). The combination of ear-catchy melody and simple, universal lyrics make this single powerful that it could become an instant hit in the ideal music industry whenever it has the chance to be aired.

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TP Stage is not a new place for him since he was featured in Mat Bitel’s gig a while back, also when he joined the jam sessions in one of our previous editions. For this time he performed by having a solid band backing him, consisting of Rizal Zachri (keys), Rimba (bass), Rommy Hendrawan (guitar) and Rivandi (drums).

After a brief introduction from Akbar himself about how he came to use jazz to (re)build his career, he directly took a familiar song from Michael Jackson and dipped it in lively, groovy jazz. It’s none other than “Man In the Mirror”. Eventhough the song was a hit far before Akbar was even born, he managed to own the song as if it was from his time.

Akbar carried on with his first jazz single, “Cinta Membuatku Bahagia”, a song that’s built upon cool joyful groove, ear catchy melody and lyrics that we all experience. This song could become a hit anytime it gets the airplay.

Akbar then took the risk by taking a difficult song not many dare to sing, Etta James’ signature song “At Last.” Imagine, how often do you listen to a male singing it, especially a teenage boy? Akbar surprised us with this when he played for the very first time in our event some months ago, and now he brought back that great moment on the TP stage.

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For the next song he gave a surprise by swingin’ with a famous dangdut song “Kopi Dangdut”, originally is a Venezuelan song titled “Moliendo Cafe”. According to Akbar, this song was made fast when they rehearsed in the morning of the same day. They had lots of fun in doing this song just like a bunch of kids playing merrily in a park. For the last song they covered the late George Michael’s gem, “Careless Whisper” in Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox way. As we said earlier, this boy does great in dealing with the changing of his vocal tone. The evidence appeared here, as he showed he could still do the falsetto effortlessly. Just as unique as Bradlee’s, Akbar and his band presented a really different or even bizzare version of this 80’s classics and used it to create a joyous finale.

From Michael Jackson to Etta James to George Michael, from Etta James’ signature song to swingin’ with dangdut, plus introducing his original jazzy song, Akbar let everyone see how wide his musical coverage could be, and how he could pin all that in the music that he’s been in love with, jazz. He enjoyed his every second on stage, transfering that happy feeling to everyone in the room. It’s not everyday we see a boy claiming his place in the jazz scene as early as him, so we can say that he is one of a kind. Jazz is definitely his thing, a perfect habitat for him to build his career and fulfill everything he’s ever dreamed of.

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Since we’re done kind of early, the jam session took place shortly after. The first batch featured Nayra Dharma (vocal), bluesman Eki Kamaluddin (guitar), Joe Bastian (bass), Rivandi (drum) and Jason Limanjaya (piano). They took “Route 66” in a deep, much slower blues style.

Nayra and Jason then left the stage, the piano seat than was taken by Nicodemus Horrison. Like a big magnet, Eki dragged everyone to focus on stage with his amazing blues guitar playing and singing over B.B King’s “The Thrill Is Gone”. Blazin’, thrillin’, flamin’ performance by this batch would make anyone surprise when they realized that this was a jam session, meaning they didn’t rehearse at all before playing that good.

The guitar then switched to Adya Amru. Coincidentally, three members of Chakraborty had their reunion on stage: Amru, Nicodemus and Joe. This last batch served the last party, swingin’ happily with Charlie Parker’s “Billie’s Bounce”.

We are proud to feature all young guns in this 8th edition of Jazzuality @ TP. These are the talented youngsters that we have been with for quite some times, watching their growth every step of the way. Words can never be enough to express how proud we are of them.

Since The Papandayan Hotel doesn’t want to continue their support to jazz communities any longer, this 8th episode becomes the last edition of Jazzuality at TP. We thank the hotel management, Mr Bobby Renaldi, Mr Doni, Mr Hari Pochang and Mr Venche Manuhutu for accomodating this event until the final show. As the TP Stage is mentioned as “The Address of Jazz” by the Mayor of Bandung, we do hope the young jazz (related) musicians could always have it as their home too, with or without us. In their hands lies the future of jazz in Indonesia, they need support to grow. Long live Indonesian jazz, we will always do our best, any which way we can to support you.

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Reporter & Photographer: Riandy Kurniawan .

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