Seminal jazz musician Ireng Maulana died early yesterday morning of a heart attack aged 71.

He was raised in a musical family: his father was a guitar player and his mother a piano playing singer. His love of jazz, shared with his elder brother Kiboud, who passed away in June last year, probably came from their bass playing uncle Tjok Sinsoe who was active in the 50’s and 60’s jazz scene.

In 1960, aged 16, with his brother Kiboud, he joined Joes & His Band; they played at music festivals, which served as ‘competitions’ and they occasionally won.

Then, in 1963, he joined Eka Sapta which also featured Benny Mustapha, Bing Slamet, Idris Sardi and Eddy Tulis.  This popular band played at the Hotel des Indes, the high end hotel popular as a venue in pre-war Batavia. They were also regular backing musicians for singers such as Titiek Puspa, and featured on many recordings.

Ireng had a prolific career in writing and producing songs through to at least 2005, most notably with Margie Segers.

In 1978, he founded the group Ireng Maulana All Stars with, among others, Benny Likumahuwa, (trombone), Hendra Wijaya (piano), Maryono (saxophone), Benny Mustapha (drums), Karim Test (trumpet), Roni, (bass) and himself on guitar and banjo.

Later he established Ireng Maulana Associates which promoted jazz music and was responsible for the first International jazz festival in Indonesia, JakJazz ’88 held at Ancol.

More recently the ‘Largest International Jazz Festival in Asia’, now known as Java Jazz, has been organised by the Gontha family, and JakJazz has promoted gigs at various smaller venues throughout Jakarta.

The passing of Ireng is especially sad as that is one more broken link with the senior generation of Indonesian jazz musicians. Yesterday was the last night of Java Jazz 2016, and it seemed appropriate that a group of Indonesian All Stars was due to play. Among the senior jazzers were Benny Likumahuwa, Benny Mustafa, Oele Pattiselano, Jopie Item, Jeffrey Tahalele, and Margie Segers, and they paid their respects with their playing.

This is the generation which has inspired and mentored those musicians who are now beginning to make waves on the international jazz scene. Pak Ireng will be missed.

Mad Rotter has many albums featuring Ireng available for download here.

A genuine jazz visionary

In the final reckoning, the influence of Paul Bley over the last 50 years of jazz – and it continues – will be enormous….

“Deeply original and aesthetically aggressive, Mr. Bley long ago found a way to express his long, elegant, voluminous thoughts in a manner that implies complete autonomy from its given setting but isn’t quite free jazz.

The music runs on a mixture of deep historical knowledge and its own inviolable principles.”

News that British jazz pianist, composer, teacher, and mentor extraordinaire died aged 72 of a heart attack on Friday night while playing at Saveurs Jazz Festival fills us with sadness.

His discography dates back to the late sixties, a time of free-form improvisatory sounds in the London jazz scene. In the early seventies, this began to merge with the ‘Canterbury Scene‘ and became jazz-fusion with such groups as Soft Machine, National Health and Ian Carr’s Nucleus.

For some, John Taylor was first noticed when he recorded for the ECM label as a sidesman on Jan Garbarek’s Places (1977) and Photo with Blue Sky, White Cloud, Wires, Windows and a Red Roof (1978). But then there was the trilogy of albums by Azimuth, with the trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, a Canadian long resident in the UK, and the incomparable singer Norma Winstone both of whom had emerged in the sixties.

It says much about Taylor’s personality that although his playing was integral as a sidesman, he also gave space to each member of his own groups. He had a northern European sensitivity, and every recording of his, and that includes the many shows that have been unofficially released as bootlegs and/or videos, demonstrates that he was not so much an entertainer as an explorer of his instrument, a true artist and a natural fit with ECM whose artists have a similar integrity and desire to let their chosen instruments speak for them, to us.

That he never came to Indonesia is of little matter now. After all, we have YouTube to offer such delights as this one ….

Thank you, John.