After a great Day 1 (Read our report here: http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/ubud-village-jazz-festival-2016-day-1-the-report/), the Ubud Village Jazz Festival 2016 entered the second and final day. Just like yesterday, the event started in the afternoon, at 3:30 pm local time.
The first two shows presenting the fruitful jazz community made as a forum of jazz coaching and discussion founded and nurtured by the co-founder of this event, Yuri Mahatma: the Underground Jazz Movement. The first one ran on Padi Stage, followed by the other team on Subak about 20 minutes later. We have been watching them since our first coverage here two years ago, they never failed in heating up the audience. They know how to swing, they are capable to bop. While the one in front gave strong straightahead treatment, the guys in the cozy Subak stage went far to visit the early swing era by playing “The Sheik of Araby”. They got rhythm and harmony. Simply a good way to start the day with.
Aussie’s son living in Melbourne, Julian Banks return to this event along with his trio. Banks has earned a reputation as an in-demand musician, either with his own trio or as a sideman. Like last year, they did well in serving the more modern approach of straightahead jazz with splashes of ethnic courtesy of Cepi Kusmiadi. The combination of Banks streams freely through notes, the unique approach on guitar by James Gilligan and groovy, power beat from James Hauptmann created fully round, rich in color soundscape. While Cepi added more adventurous touch over much bigger musical canvas. Bold and sharp, what a package it was from these Aussie mates.
If you think South Korea is only all about K-Pop, you should change that mindset. We have seen some great jazz artistes coming from this nation. For example, Youngjun Choi of Oriental Express and Phil Yoon just to mention a very few. This time in Ubud Village Jazz Festival 2016 we met a brilliant guitarist, Youn Woo Park and his band Youn Woo Park Trio. Youn Woo Park has a unique jazz style which combines rebelious free jazz and classical in seamless way. The drummer was captivating, especially when he used the drumset like kendang by using no stick but his hands. Classy but challenging. Nice!
Next we caught cross-national collaboration between Nita Aartsen and Jean Sebastien on Subak Stage. Nita Aartsen is an Indonesian lady who establishes her career not only in Indonesia but far across nations. She has performed to many state guests uch as Bill Clinton and Prince Bernard during her service as the state pianist after graduated from Moscow Conservatory. She often collaborates with many international stars too, for example when she played alongside Israel Varela, Daniele Cappucci and Marcello Allulli at our event Braga Jazz Walk last year (http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/braga-jazz-walk-special-edition-pre-event-java-jazz-festival-2015-the-report/).
This time she performed with French trumpeter, Jean Sébastien Simonoviez. Yes, Jean played trumpet, but he actually plays piano and drum too. Jean is a unique trumpeter who draws influence from African music and achieves music development with his work in New York. After performing at Ching Mai ASEAN One Festival and Prambanan Jazz, he landed on the Ubud Village Jazz Festival 2016. Joining them were two of Bali’s finest jazz sons: Gustu Brahmanta (drums) and Indra Gupta (contrabass). Starting with “Blue Rondo ala Turk”, they moved on treating the audience with variety of jazz. Tremendous collaboration serving multi-colored jazz, nice, really nice.
On Giri Stage was a dynamic duo, guitarist Reuben Rogers and bassist Peter Bernstein. Both of these gentlemen have played together, for example as a part of Michael Karn Quintet among other occassions. Reuben is famous with his remarkable combination of calypso and reggae rhythm from his native Virgin Islands, the gospel sound he got from the church and the freedom and improvisation of jazz. With these in hands, he has played alongside many renowned artists like Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Roy Hargrove and Dianne Reeves just to mention a few. Pianist Peter Bernstein has been active since 1989, participated in over 80 recordings and lots of festivals, concerts and clubs. He also joined Joshua Redman’s band and played for Diana Krall, Sonny Rollins, Lee Konitz and Dr Lonnie Smith.
These two men clearly have jazz printed inside their soul. Jazz flew out naturally from them, through unique chemistry and connection. On the surface it might look like a minimalist show, but when you watch and listen, you would forget that there were only two of them on stage. Deep explorations, fresh surprises, this brilliant pair showed that jazz can shine so bright, even when it’s only played by two persons. It was an intense, friendly and intimate jazz dialogue which was heartfelt.
The East-West European Jazz Ensemble not only reprised their performance after the great show on Day 1, but they got even hotter. Dian Pratiwi and Uwe Plath stood in front, connecting the whole band to the crowds,, while Gregory Gaynair had a lot of fun behind the piano, still using Balinese traditional head band. At the end of their show, Dian managed to make a lot of audience dance in front of the stage. Talk about having a party, this stage made it happen in the most fun way possible. Once again Dian showed her ability to move the audience.
Energetic Zen Quartet came to grace the fest all the way from Sydney, Australia. Native Indonesian drummer Deva Permana who has been pursuing his career in there for many years is in the group. Other than Deva, the quartet has Casey Golden (piano and rhodes), Hannah James (acoustic bass) and Simon Chadwick (saxophones). This cool unit played dynamic, acoustic jazz fusion where joy, fresh and fun are written all over their repertoires.
Starting with the new song “Crossing the Time for the Next Moment”, followed by other original songs, including the title track of their album, “Vision Impact”. What’s interesting is Deva then moved to the Sundanese kendang, which he said the first instrument he played before drum. They played “Kedut Kendur”, the activity of playing kite. Simon did very well in capturing the Batavian music with his sax. Throughout the session they all had lots of fun. Smiling, shouting, laughing happily. From them we got a new dimension of how jazz meditation should be: it can be done in energetic fashion, jazz way. After a couple of hours of intense covering, we feel refreshed, restored and energized!
A lady with voice like wine, getting better with age. Yes, that’s what we always think everytime we hear her sing. We are talking about the the legendary lady of blues and jazz with career spanning more than 40 years. She is none other than Margie Segers. She triggered the female jazz vocalist movement back in 1974 with the release of her debut album, “Semua Bisa Bilang” produced by Jack Lesmana under Hidayat record. If before that she claimed herself as a blues singer, this album marked the beginning of her illustrious career as a jazz singer.
Her voice was clear and sharp with jazz being printed in every word back then, but now with such experience, her voice gets even better. Not many singers still active after 40 years in business, the number gets even lesser when we talk about females. But aunt Margie – that’s how we call her – is still having remarkable career up to this day. After gracing so many festivals inside and outside her nation, she finally arrived big time at the Ubud Village Jazz Festival. Performing with her was Glen Dauna, both his sons Indra (trumpet) and Rega (harp, Kevin Yosua (contrabass) and Jessilardus Mates (drum).
Having a great unit with made her able to push herself to the limit. She demonstrated how great she could do jazz and blues, singing, scatting and interracting with the audience. Some jazz standards were found in her repertoires such as “Almost Like Being in Love” and “Stormy Monday” , and of course her classic hit “Semua Bisa Bilang”, which was sung along with the audience. This festival clearly is a perfect ground for her, since she is a natural born, long time jazz singer who knows how to build a memorable showcase. There are many things we can learn from her, but what’s also important is to realize how well she entertain the audience with her 5-star quality vocal. May there be many more years of success aunt Margie, God bless you for blessing us.
Switch on to the front stage, we saw another living legend, this time a guitarist with more than 50 years of career: Oele Pattiselanno. He is the master of swing who fell in love to jazz after listening to Stan Kenton, Art Tatum and Kenny Burrell from her father’s collection. He has a strong character while playing guitar which is cool, calm, classy and reserved. some say he successfully combines Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery and Charlie Christian’s style altogether. He never overdo his songs or try to show off his skills. Yet this man can put a spell on you like a kind wizard, making you feel at ease, smiling peacefully once he let the sound out from his guitar.
For tonight Oele performed in a quintet, featuring Dezca Anugrah (drums), Arief Setiadi (saxophone), Jeffrey Tahalele (bass) and Benny F Sumarta (piano). This team jazzed people up with their souls, natural and pleasuring. You will know how beautiful the sound of swing is when it comes naturally from a man who’s been doing it for more than 50 years. The perfect team mates made an even stronger statement. Simple, yet full of magic.
Then we got a unique presentation that was like bringing us back to France in the 30’s. At that era, a beautiful jazz style known as Gypsy Jazz or Jazz Manouche was originated by Django Reinhardt. Not many bands or groups still carrying this as the theme, not only because it’s difficult to play and need such harmony over complex structures, but also because it’s not the kind of music we grew up and familiar with. In Bandung there was Satura, a guitar duo and sometimes reinforced by violinist carrying the concept and there’s a new group that called their music as ‘manouche ragtime’. But here in Bali, we finally met the cool band after hearing about them since a couple of years ago. The name is Bali Gypsy Fire.
This band was founded by Gatot Yudiantoro in 2012. Not only carrying the swingin’ Gypsy Jazz/Jazz Manouche, they also play classic jazz standards with the interpretation of swing gypsy rhyhtm. What’s cool is, not only they play cover songs, they do have original compositions written in the spirit and characteristic of Gypsy Jazz. Speaking of the band’s format, Bali Gypsy Fire consisted of two acoustic guitars and double bass at first, but now they have grown bigger with drum and alto sax, mainly to modernize the sound. Either in the original trio or full sextet, this band enlives this unique style, functioning like a time capsule that took us back to smell the fragrance aroma of the swingin’ French atmosphere inside the mystical land of Bali. Imagine, how amazing is that.
The final show that sealed the 2016 edition was the Louis! Louis! is the second program of Legends of Music team founded by Michael Varekamp with Ben van den Dungen. This program carried on what they left on the same stage last year, a tribute to Miles Davis. LOUIS! took us into a journey through Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstong’s head, mind, soul even spirit.
If last year Varekamp showcased the modern jazz era, this time he went back to swing, blues along with the free-flowing improvisation the way Armstrong surprised everyone almost a century ago. They didn’t just take the original Armstrong’s songs but also some classic tunes that he has played or sang during his career. The songlist including “Caravan” and “God Bless the Child”, “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got that Swing”, the controversial “Old Man Mose” and “Hallelujah”. Michael Varekamp didn’t just play trumpet, he also sang with such voice resembling Satchmo. What’s amazing is that they featured a fantastic soulful jazz/blues singer who got her own show last year, Deborah Carter.
Louis Armstrong is widely recognized as the founding father of Jazz. He might not be the very first person who invented this music we all love, but he pioneered many things, from unique trumpet tone, melodic improvisation, cool solo to scat singing and still inspire so many musicians until now. Varekamp and van den Dungen’s Legends of Music Project did it with great respect in ellegant and stylish way. If Satchmo were here, we have no doubt he would really love this. Oh yeah, we almost forgot. When they reached the end of their show, the audience forced them to give some more. So, they gave one encore, an iconic Louis Armstrong’s song from his later years: “What a Wonderful World”. What a way to seal this year’s edition of Ubud Village Jazz Festival 2016.
After Miles and Louis!, they are planning to take “I’m a Soulman” for the next program next year: This one is set to trace back the great STAX era. We look forward for them to come back and bring the concept to this event.
So far we have been attending and covering three editions of Ubud Village Jazz Festival. The committee have been doing great, providing real jazz in vibrant colors, brought by great combination of artists that we don’t see elsewhere. Both American and European style of jazz were presented, and we enjoyed the performances from no less than 7 countries. Very well organized schedule with balanced portion of talents from overseas, national and local both in numbers and spot distribution. Good percentage of well experienced players, legends and young lions, also the collaborations like last year presented such a miniature of ideal jazz world that we all wish for.
One thing you have to know about this event is that it’s not only about two-day jazz festival and pre-events, they are also committed to push the regeneration process through The Bali Jazz Summer School which was made from the cooperation between this festival’s founder Yuri Mahatma partnering with Ben van den Dungen, the initiator of The Jazz Summer School in Korea-Netherlands. The young musicians who followed this program didn’t come only from Bali but also from other cities including the capital. If they keep it running consitently, we can expect well-educated and skillful talents every year, which will give benefit to the future of jazz in Indonesia.
There were many new names this year, and some sequels of the previous year. This time we also saw Big Band and ensembles enriched the variation of this festival, even the sound of nature/forest presented in jazz. Wider variety of shows brought in, but still fit the strong character that has been built and maintained since the first edition. With the spirit of the land, this annual event become magic. Such jazz festival you probably won’t find elsewhere.
Thank you Ubud Village Jazz Festival, kudos to founders, commitees, performers, partners, supporters, audiences and everyone involved, and thank you for your hospitality and great service towards us. Look forward to see you again next year. Long live Ubud Village Jazz Festival! Look forward to see what you guys will make in 2017!
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