Tabac JazzCotheQue & Martin Denev’s Bamness Album Launching : The Report


They say it takes your whole life up to a point to come up with your first album, then just a couple of years to come with the second. That’s what many artists have been experienced, but some other could move a lot faster to produce their second album, especially when they have lots of things to share or when their creativity force them to do so. In this case we have a Bulgarian-born artist Martin Denev. Just about a year ago he released his first album “Stolen Blessings” (available at our online store: where he unleashed the infectious electro-beat in conjunction with seriously sparkling bebop among other included ingredients. Right at midnight on December 18, 2011) taken place at Portico in Senayan City he made an official release of his second album entitled “Bamness”, made in collaboration with Colonel Red & Other Survivors.

The jazz dance scene has been growing significantly around the world for at least the last two decades, infecting many parts of the globe and keep spreading for more. In Indonesia the scene is not big enough yet, eventhough the trace of it can already be found at least since EQ Puradiredja and Redyanto Heru Nurcahyo started Humania. Lately it seems that this jazz dance scene has invided the South East Asia region better than ever. Having the one like Martin Denev releasing his second album in Indonesia is one of the signs for us to be ready in having it more. Our prediction, it’s going to be even bigger and better in 2012, and that’s something good for us to have more alternative in enjoying jazz. While we enjoy the lovely bop, swing and many other jazz delights, it’s time for us to check out one of the latest jazz wave, something that will keep you dancing joyfully.

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Before we go further of the launching party, let’s talk a little bit more about the first album Stolen Blessings. Having the ability to inject some serious dose of bebop/jazz into the electro-beat enables him to capture the heart of both club dance party people and the jazz fanatics and everyone else in between. Simply say, with artist like Martin Denev, the electro-broken beat scene will never be the same again.

You might be surprise to notice that Denev is actually came from classical background by learning piano. He also had fulfilled his obligatory military service. He’s been active around the world, from Switzerland, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Spain, Netherlands all the way to Aruba, Curacao, St Martin and Puerto Rico, something that shaped him as an experienced world class player. This keyboard wiz is also the kind of person who doesn’t like to be still. He loves to keep on moving, being highly productive in doing what he do best. “We can’t stay still in this life”, he said once, something that shows how he wish to be productive. He’s also a globe trotter who has been moving from time to time. He once lived in Netherlands, then in Carribean, USA and now he resides near to us in Bali. With all these, we should be able to see the reason how Denev can produce his second album in just about one year.

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In Bamness album Martin Denev continues to bring his specialties in delivering music for the club educated crowds with much more broader interests, knowledge and background. This time he’s not alone in that adventure. He brought his allies, the “Other Survivors” to back him up heavily with their artilleries. Martin is not a stranger when it comes to collaboration. He has worked with many artists before, for example Praful. This time he invites us to witness his deeper, multilayered creative partnership with Colonel Red who’s sharing his lyrics in philosophical wisdom of life, love and self-consciousness. His sultry voice and distinctive sound leaves the unmistakable trademark throughout the whole album. Other than Colonel Red there’s also Ruth Koleva, a Bulgarian born soul diva. She’s still young but already so convincing with her nonchalant, jazzy and velvety vocal style. Other ‘Survivors’ in this album are Ventzi Blagoev, Michail Ivanov, Juri Kuefner, Fer van Duuren, Vassil Voutev aka Soulization, Nuria Manzur and Michail Ivanov.

[flickr id=”6527588569″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”small” group=”” align=”left”] This album launching became more special since it was held along with the return of Tabac JazzCotheQue, an event made by EQ Puradiredja since 2003. In 2008 to 2010 it was held regularly and started to get a lot of attention from the party people. What’s interesting is, just like what the name says, JazzCotheQue presents the kind of jazz that would be perfect to dance. So, it’s necessary to find some DJs who have the jazz passion. “Yes, and the number is quite small..but yes we do have them in a community, as you can see.” said EQ. So tonight the JazzCotheQue was on too, providing the music where jazz meets electronica, soul, latin, funk and dub, in simple, jazz that fits to dance. DJ EQ Puradiredja who soon will launch his first CD compilation entitled JazzCotheQue Series 1 was in the house along with other DJs such as Eko, Glen Nahlohy, Darma Wardana and Fabian Nusi (Ebby). Looking at the tonight’s menu, we knew from the start that this would bring us a new experience in enjoying jazz under the club house atmosphere, having the infectious beat surrounding us, and that was exactly what we got. The DJs had started spinning since 9pm presenting remixes and other groovy jazz delights from their table.

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For the launching album party, Martin Denev brought Matthew Sayersz and Millane Fernandez (vocals), Demas Narawangsa (drums), Kevin Wahl (trumpet) and DJ Glen. “It’s going to be fun with improvisations since I’m playing with these guys who are familiar with the jazz scene.” said Denev a while before he started. That’s what we love about Martin Denev’s music. He knows how to capture both club dance and jazz scene in just perfect amount to satisfy both side and everyone else in between.

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The jazztonica began to burn Portico 8 minutes after midnight when Martin delivered his first song taken from this new album, “Love is Hidin’ in the Changes”. The infectious broken beat with layered of jazz tunes were on with both Matthew and Millane stood behind the mikes. Kevin Wahl spiced it all up with his muted trumpet. The jazztronica continued on with “Quiet Is The New Loud”. Demas carried on pouring some serious doses of steady broken beat with his drums. Millane stood in front in this one, taking on the role of Ruth Koleva in the album version. “No need to scream, no need to shout… Quiet is the new loud”, she sang repeatly.

[flickr id=”6527585799″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”small” group=”” align=”right”] From this we came back to the absolute stunner  from the first album, Stolen Blessings entitled “Something Real”. They all had fun on stage just like how it was at Java Soulnation Festival 2011 a couple of months ago. (Read the report here). They directly switched to the remixed version of “When You Look” where Millane got the chance to pour out her soulful vocal in front of Denev’s jazz presentation on the keys. This groove will keep us awake joyfully all night long. The crowds showed that too.

[flickr id=”6527587145″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”small” group=”” align=”left”] It was time to slow down the tempo a bit with “All of Us”, the second track in Bamness album. “Nothing But Dreams” came next with the strong beat from Demas. This song gave him to run his solo drums as well. Applauses were given to them again after this.

The beautiful melody appeared from Denev as the intro of “Old Man Song”. Denev said thank you to everyone before giving up the final song, “Strong Finally”. Kevin Wahl got his turn in this last song. Up to this point the show was supposed to finish, but the crowds insisted to have “Something Real” one more time. Denev gladly fulfilled their wishes, and made this one as the moment for them to release all the energy they had left. What a glorious way to wrap the whole show.

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The official release of Martin Denev meets Colonel Red & Other Survivors: Bamness turned out to be a supercool groovin’ party. How lovely it was to be able to enjoy some of the songs brought by Martin Denev himself at Portico last night. An artist like him doesn’t come everyday. Someone with lots of passion who is highly capable in bringing joy not only through his groovy jazztronica but also with his warm, friendly presence. So while he’s in Indonesia, why don’t we all have the best of him in any possible way? Congratulations Denev, Colonel Red and Other Survivors! Thanks to you, the awesome musicians and singers who accompanied Denev tonight too, to Demajors who invited us and last but not least to EQ Puradiredja and the sets of DJ of JazzCotheQue. Bamness and JazzCotheQue Series 1 will be available in our online store soon, stay tuned for that. After listening to the album and watching the launching party, we can conclude that Bamness is ready to provide you chance to have the party as much as you wish. What left to us is to sit back, relax, listen and move along with the grooves.

See more pictures:

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Reporter: Riandy Kurniawan
Photographer: Agung Hartamurti Wirawan


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