“The modern jazzman has no security but his own integrity and genius.”
– Eric Mottram
Today, the 11th annual Ngayogjazz festival is being held in a village outside Yogyakarta, but for the first time entrance is not free. It had been suggested that festival goers should make a donation to show their appreciation of jazz.
However, as co-founder Djaduk Ferianto says, “Donating books for the needy is also a form of appreciation.” I agree, but donating books is not about showing appreciation of jazz, but a recognition that levels of literacy in Indonesia are low, particularly in rural areas, largely through limited access to any books beyond those demanded for school exams.
Jazz appreciation would come from going to the festival, roaming between the five stages erected in the village and sampling the different sounds, and realising that the musicians in the groups are playing for themselves and that live jazz is of the moment which we are invited to share.
And, for IndoJazzia, what makes Ngayogjazz really special is that aside from a few ‘known’ names, such as the world class Sri Hanuraga Trio, Indonesia’s globe-trotting Gugun Blues Shelter, and veteran Jeffrey Tahalele, it offers a showcase for a number of jazz communities. These include Pekalongan, Surakarta, Magelang, Ponogoro, Trenggalek, Surabaya and Lampung.
By way of contrast ….
Ignoring the punctuation error, there is a smug presumption wafting over the enterprise. For a start, the focus is on Indonesia alone. What’s more the list of categories is skimpy: breakthrough artists, children, contemporary dangdut, pop, production, rock, soul-r&b-urban. This downloadable list of nominees also demonstrates a strong whiff of cronyism. Naturally, we are referring to the Jazz categories.
For example: Jazz Album
Dewa Budjana – Zentuary*
Indra Lesmana Keytar Trio – About Jack(Dedicated to his father, jazz pioneer Jack Lesmana)
Indro Hardjodikoro – Always There
Krakatau Reunion – Chapter One(w. Dwiki Dharmawan & Indra Lesmana)
Tohpati Bertiga – Faces(w. Indro Hardjodikoro on bass) (Since when was Bertiga a jazz trio?)
*Tony Levin, Gary Husband, Jack DeJohnette, Danny Markovitch, Tim Garland: Guthrie Govan, Czech Symphony Orchestra
+ from Indonesia: Ubiet & Risa Saraswati (vocals – one track each), and Saat Syah (suling – two tracks)
How come this is nominated for an Indonesian jazz album award?
And Jazz Instrumental
Andi Bayou – Sunrise at Borobudur
Dewa Budjana – Solas PM
Dwiki Dharmawan – Frog Dance
Indra Lesmana Keytar Trio – Jack Swing
Indro Hardjodikoro – Always There
Tohpati Bertiga – Faces
IndoJazzia doesn’t know and, to be honest, doesn’t care who ‘won’. The names above are of a generation of 50 year old A-listers who receive special treatment from Bekraf, the government’s Dept. of Creative Economy. Their music harks back to what they have been playing for many years. Download the instrumentals and judge for yourselves.
Where is the contemporary music, the music which comes from the heart? Listen to this track from Erik Sondhy’s follow up to last year’s internationally successful Abbey Road Sessions Vol.1. Would you nominate it for an AMI award?
Erik Sondhy and Djanggo Manggo Duo: Relax 1
And ask yourselves why the Yogya indie band Stars and Rabbit who have toured Asia and the UK in the past couple of years are nowhere to be found in the list of nominees.
The number 11 has a significant meaning in every religion. It is an auspicious number for the Hindus and has a significant meaning in every religion. The spiritual significance of number 11 is quite varied. In systems like astrology and numerology, the number 11 is called a ‘master’ number because it is a double digit of the same number. Number 11 has a master vibration and should not be reduced to a single number. When this occurs – the vibrational frequency of the prime number doubles in power, which means the attributes of the Number 1 is doubled. The primary meaning of the Number 1 is new beginnings and purity. When we see this digit doubled as 11, then these attributes are double in strength. In numerology, the number 11 represents higher ideals, invention, refinement, congruency, balance, fulfillment and vision. The 11 carries a vibrational frequency of balance. It represents male and female equality. It contains both sun energy and moon energy simultaneously yet holding them both in perspective separateness and perfect balance. Consequently, constant reoccurrence of number 11 in our lives often signal us to beware of our balance. Balance our emotion, thought and spirit. Balance of masculine and feminine aspects. Those who recognize the spiritual meaning of number 11 in their lives are quite sensitive to vibrational frequencies matching these attributes listed above. Elevens appearing consistently is indicative of a reflective, thoughtful and intuitive soul. As we deal with energy in our lives, it is integral to understand we are a part of it, and yet the option to separate from energetic forces is present. The spiritual meaning of number 11 deals directly with our involvement with the progression of life. 11 being the gift of spiritual inheritance, is gifted as the ‘light bearer’. It is the number of the light within all. It is strengthened by the love of peace, gentleness, sensitivity and insight. Greatest facility is the awareness of universal relationship. It is related to the energy of oppositions and the balancing needed in order to achieve synthesis. 11 is the peacemaker.
Right, now that you’ve skimmed over that, here is the eleventh IndoJazzia compilation which is dedicated for the 11th month of the year and posted on the 11th day at 11:11 so as to not upset the “vibrational frequency of the prime number“.
For example, Yusef Lateef‘s main instruments were the tenor saxophone and flute, but he also played bamboo flute, shanai, shofar, xun, arghul and koto.
But he’s not included in IndoJazzia’s latest compilation. and Rufus Harley is the only name on this list of better known musicians mentioned.
In track order, these are the instruments you’ll be listening to: ukekeles / accordion & harp / panpipes / valiha, berimbau, water bells, and claves / harmonica / accordion / mandolins / bagpipe / cello.
Some work, some are weird, and some are ‘what the …?’
When I was at uni., a fellow student (Hi, Bob) was learning classical guitar. While others were raving about Hendrix, I would be sat at Bob’s feet. Discounting the descant recorder, on which I was really proficient as an elementary school pupil, I’ve never mastered a musical instrument. However, apart from jazz, my favourite genre is the classical guitar, and I’ve sat in bliss at concerts by Andrés Segovia, Julian Bream(interview), and John Williams(interview).
I got to recognise many ‘classic’ classical compositions by Isaac Albeniz, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Malcolm Arnold et al . But there’s been just one constant since then: the composer Joaquín Rodrigo (1901 – 1999). His 1939 composition Concierto de Aranjuez is arguably one of the most popular concertos of all time, thanks in no small measure to the extraordinary beauty of its central Adagio, which has been arranged for everything from mouth organ to brass band(video).
Rodrigo wrote: “I heard a voice inside me singing the entire theme of the Adagio at one go, without hesitation.”
The first version I heard, and bought, was by Spanish guitarist Narciso Yepes.
“What can I say about Narciso Yepes? What can I say about the guitarist to whom we owe the international success of the Concerto de Aranjuez? Yes, it was in Paris in 1947 where Ataulfo Argenta, Yepes and the Spanish National Orchestra met to illuminate my unique opus at a time when no one knew its true future. From then on, the Concierto de Aranjuez took on a new nature, and it is for this same reason that I am grateful to Narciso Yepes for the fruit of an intense collaboration that has brought us to travel our musical trajectories side-by-side. I will not say that Yepes was the best nor the worst. He has simply been my guitarist par excellence. My guitarist.”
(Joaquin Rodrigo in ‘El Mundo’ May 4, 1997)
There can be few who haven’t heard Adagio and been moved. Jazz fans probably have Miles Davis’ Sketches of Spain and Jim Hall’s Concierto, but may not have heard the versions by Dorothy Ashby, MJQ, Jan Akkerman with Niels Henning Orsted Pederson on bass. Or by Indonesia’s Agam Hamzah and Ade Irawan (here – video)
There are seven tracks in today’s compilation from the IndoJazzia archives including alternate takes of the Miles Davis classic: download from here or here..
I’d experienced and been exhilarated by the power of big bands, both live and via jazz programmes on BBC radio, but I was unprepared for the individual virtuosity displayed by Gary Burton at a gig in London sometime around 1969. I recall a ‘calfskin’ jacket with tassels flying, although that may be one of those memories by association. Whatever, it was a gig which moved me beyond the ‘classic’ jazz I’d been exploring since leaving the parental nest.
Now 74, earlier this year he announced his retirement and said that he would “never again play music, on stage or off.” Well, he’s certainly earned his rest, not only for his compositions but also his partnerships with a host of key jazz figures such as Chick Corea, and for his mentoring of the likes of Pat Metheny and Eberhard Weber who went on to achieve international prominence.
I did not set out to offer a ‘tribute’ to his career; these are my ‘sleevenotes’ to a compilation which was complete before I read the above. Yes, there are two tracks by him, but you quite probably haven’t heard them before if only because they are atypical.
There are also two tracks with Lionel Hampton, the first of which was apparently the first recording of a jazz solo on a vibraphone.
Lionel Hampton’s signature tune, ‘Flying Home‘, written for him by Benny Goodman, had long been a favourite; it also features Charlie Christian on guitar so I had to include it. Dave Pike, Bobby Hutcherson and Milt Jackson should need no introduction, although the latter’s two ‘Soul Meeting‘ albums he recorded with Ray Charles – yes, that Ray Charles – on piano, are worth seeking out.
I have little to no information about Wolfgang Schlüter, a German. Louis Hjulmand was Danish and trumpeter Palle Mikkleborg still is. (Check out the Miles Davis 1985 album Aura which Mikkleborg composed and arranged.) Freddie McCoy was American but “never a hit with the critics“. However, he can be found in the IndoJazzia Archives, in the acid-jazz section, hence his inclusion here.
The last three tracks do not fit my original criteria of showcasing the development of vibraphone jazz but then Roy Ayers added funk, Alan Lee, an Australian, jazzed up a beautiful aria by Heitor Villa-Lobos, and apparently Hendrik Meurkens spent a night in Jakarta, although he certainly hasn’t jazzed up keroncong
The sub-title doesn’t refer to classic tunes, but to interpretations of classical music by jazz musicians. Back in February I posted a short selection of Ravel’s Bolero here – the download link is still live.
Nearly ten years ago, an article by contemporary composer Mark-Anthony Turnage in the Guardian posed the question ‘Why do so few classical musicians take jazz seriously?‘
Turnage does, and has worked with the likes of drummer Pete Erskine and guitarist John Schofield improvising within a score played by classically trained musicians. But, he says, he can’t play jazz himself.
Bruce Chidester cynically or satirically – I can’t tell – suggests differences between classical and jazz musicians.
The left side of the brain is the seat of language and processes in a logical and sequential order (classical musician). The right side is more visual and processes intuitively, holistically, and randomly (jazz musician).
Which are you? Here’s a quick test.
(Although I’m right-handed and not ambidextrous, I have a split personality.)
I became a committed jazz fan as a teenager – my father played stride piano at home – yet the first album I bought was Bach’s Brandenberg Concerto. Obviously Bach has been an influence on countless jazz musicians. Here’s a selection of tracks from the IndoJazzia archives.
Download 01. Fats Waller – Bach Up to Me 02. Benny Goodman – Bach Goes To Town 03. Django Reinhardt – Bach Improvisation 04. Jacques Loussier Trio – Bach’s Pastorale in C minor 05. Classical Jazz Quartet – Concerto #2 in F major BWV 1047, 2nd Movement 06. Duran, Grappelli & Holloway – Brandenburg Boogie 07. George Barnes & Jazz Renaissance Quintet – Fugue in G Minor (Part 1 of 2) 08. Ray Brown & Laurindo Almeida – Air On The G-String 09. Oscar Peterson – The Bach Suite (Allegro-Andante-Bach’s Blues) 10. Petra Haden – Bach’s Prelude No. 2 in C minor 11. David Darling, Jorge Alfano, Joseph Nagler – Bach’s Persia