Festival

… at Gedung Kesenian, the historic venue in Jakarta, will be a bitter-sweet one as the life of Riza Arshad will be celebrated by a host of musicians and friends, including IndoJazzia. Groups will be ‘reformed’ and music from his extensive discography played.

This video is of the most recent incarnation of simakDialog, his vehicle for composition from 1992.


The lineup of sD tonight will feature most, if not all, of the former members, plus Sri ‘Aga’ Hanuraga, mentored by Riza and a member of Riza’s other groups W/H/A/T and Tuslah.

If you’re going to Java Jazz this weekend ask yourself if you’re going for the creative or retro Indonesian jazz artists or the selebritis of pop, reggae, Japanese ska, alternative pop, ethnic-infused pop-rock and sentimental R’n’B.

IndoJazzia won’t be there because to travel across town through heavy traffic and spending the equivalent of the statutory monthly basic salary in order to hear very little creative jazz from anyone, including familiar musicians doing what we’ve seen several times before, and then running the gauntlet of ‘pirate’ taxis – “No meter, Mister” – in order to get back home does not appeal.

What does is the jam session tomorrow night (4th March) with ace guitarists Agam Hamzah (Ligro +) and Yuri Jo. It’s at Paviliun 28, Jl. Petogogan No.25, at 8pm.

And our point?

Big is not necessarily better, and purloining the word ‘jazz’ for purely commercial reasons is a slap in the face for those truly creative Indonesian jazz musicians who are not invited to sit at the “top tier” table.

Update 4th MarchMusic for the Elite?

Tickets for Java Jazz are still available for Rp.550,000 (US$41) for a daily pass. To attend special shows featuring Robin Thicke, David Foster, Chris Botti and Sting, festival goers have to purchase an additional pass, with prices ranging from Rp.350,000 to Rp.2.5 million.

Festival goers are not allowed to take in their own food or drink … and the last time IndoJazzia was there (2014) there was no food for vegetarians.

One positive note is that a special Busway route is available between Blok M and the festival site until 2am.

Note: If Java Jazz were to change its name to Indonesia’s Music Festival, then we won’t have to repost this next year.