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Indonesia’s Java Jazz Roundup ft. Stevie Wonder

on March 15, 2012with 0 comments

via indonesia.travel

After three days of jam-packed halls, 17 stages, 1,500 multi-national artists, attracting crowds totaling more than 100,000 over the entire Festival, Java Jazz 2012 Festival came to a close on Sunday, 4 March, with Stevie Wonder in person singing “As” to thunderous applause, which followed his legendary “I just Called to Say I Love You”, joyously echoed by the entire Hall.


Indonesia’s President Yudhoyono himself took time off from his busy schedule to enjoy Java Jazz with his family on the first day of the Festival.


Rain poured down since the gates opened on the final day of the Java Jazz festival, but inside the halls of JI Expo, it was pouring good music. Led by Indonesia’s top conductor, Addie MS, Indonesia’s Twilite Orchestra brought an ambience of grandeur to the jazz scene at JJF 2012 at Hall A2 BNI. Stunning the audience with a composition featuring soothing harmonica music performed by young musician named Rega, the orchestra then collaborated with Mexican pianist, Hector Infanzon, delivering fascinating classical notes. The groove of Jazz and the majestic orchestral symphony fused flawlessly as the orchestra performed “Rhapsody in Blue”. Featuring Japanese pianist, Kazuha Nakahara, the composition truly defined what Addie called: symphonic jazz.


When Indonesian renowned musician Bob Tutupoly accompanied by Titiek Puspa and Grace Simon paid tribute to the legendary Bing Slametand Sam Saimun at Hall C2, at the same tme Jeff Lorber returned to the stage of JJF 2012 with another captivating groove after having successfully entertained the President on the first day.  With his signature wavy hair and great musical skills, Pat Metheney dazzled the audience at the D1 Tebs Hall in the special show of Pat Metheney Trio. Playing some mesmerizing bebop tunes, Pat Metheney’s finger ran smoothly down the guitar fret and radiated enchanted melodies backed by the vibrant rhythm of a double bass and drum beats.


“The Twilight World” became the opening number as The Swing Out Sister stepped on the stage of the D2 Djarum Super Hall. Bringing back the 80’s tunes to the JJF, Colline Drewery and Andy Cornell managed to get the audience to dance to their popular tunes including “La..La..(Means I Love You)” and “Breakout”. While crowds drowned in the romance of the 80’s in the D2 Djarum Super Hall, at the Tourism and Creative Economy stage the bands paid  tribute to  Jakarta’s legend Benyamin S. Performed by several bands, Benyamin S everlasting hits such as “Superman”, “Nonton Bioskop”,”Gerimis”, and others were transformed into groovy jazz compositions.


Java Jazz 2012 hit its climax with the performance of all time musical legend Stevie Wonder. The hype about Stevie Wonder performing in Java Jazz 2012 had been making the rounds long before the festival, and on the night of 4 March 2012, the result took the shape of a very long, winding queue in front of D2 Djarum super Hall long before the show began. At around 21.37 Western Indonesia Time, the legendary artist finally appeared on stage and got the 15,000 crowd into a frenzy with “How Sweet it is (to be loved by you)”. With everlasting classic hits such as “The Way you make me feel”,” My Love is on Fire”, “Overjoyed”, ”Don’t You Worry bout a thing”, “I Just called”, “Sign Sealed Delivered”, “Superstition”,  and “My Cherry Amour”, Stevie quenched his fans’ longing with his exceptional voice and outstanding keyboard skills. “As “was the closing number that ended the outstanding performance. Accompanied by his backing vocals, Stevie bowed to the still hysteric audience and bade farewell. The shout: “I Love Indonesia”, was very special and became an unforgettable moment for those fortunate enough to witness the legendary performance. The flawless performance of Stevie Wonder also gloriously marked an end to the 3 day colossal music fiesta.


Java Jazz brings a slew of international celebrities

Hailed as one of the largest musical festival in the world, Java Jazz Festival (JJF) 2012 undoubtedly confirmed  Jakarta as the Mecca of Jazz as hundreds of performers and thousands of fans flocked to the Jakarta International  EXPO (JI EXPO) area since the fiesta kicked off on Friday, 2 March 2012.


Bringing the world to Jakarta, the festival had grown into a gathering place for music enthusiasts from all over the world. JJF 2012 broke the boundary of nations, language, and other differences, as many faces of South East Asian, Oriental Asian, American, European, African, and others, all drowned in the one passion for Jazz. Interestingly, the festival also became the arena where artists respected one another, as they also mixed in with the crowd to watch others perform. Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheney, Chantee Moore, Sheila E, and a number of Indonesian musicians were constantly seen enthusiastically walking around listening from stage to stage in the arena.


On the first day, the festival caught the attention of none other than the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Soesilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Accompanied by First Lady Ani Yudhoyono, and his newly wedded son and daughter in law, Eddie Baskoro and Alya, the president took the time to watch the performance of renowned keyboardist, Jeff Lorber. To his surprise, Minister of Trade, Gita Wirryawan joined Lorber on stage and together they played the jazz version of songs composed by president Yudhoyono himself including “Kuyakin sampai disana”, “Like The Wind”,”Coming Home”, and “Mother Earth”.


Wearing Indonesia’s authentic Batik shirt, Herbie Hancock dazzled the audience in Hall C2. With the touch of his magical fingers, the legend of Jazz brought some of his famous songs including “Actual Proof”, “Seventeen”,  “Chameleon”, “Watermelon Man”, “Speak Like a Child” and “Cantaloupe Island.” As Sheila E and theEscovado family brought the groove with their vibrant percussions to the D2 Djarum Super Hall, while Al Jarreau & George Duke Trio got the crowd enthusiastic at D1 Tebs Hall.


The First night also saw outstanding performances by  Indonesian Jazz musicians, KSP, Doony Suhendra Project feat Trie Utami, Cindy Bernadette, Idang Rasidi, Andien, Sruti Respati, and many other. At the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy Stage, Indonesia Nu Progressive presented an interesting mix of Jazz and progressive rock. On the Outdoor Stage 2 Indro Hardjodikoro and the Fingers who accompanied renowned Jazz vocalist Dira Sugandhi, simply left the crowd stunned with an impressive display of skills as they re-arranged the traditional Balinese song “Janger”.


The fiesta of the first night beautifully closed with an exceptional performance from the queen of Neo Soul, Erykah Badu. With her unique style, and unconventional tunes she enthralled the audience with “Hip-hop”, “Other Side of The Game”, “Me”, “Kiss Me”, “Love of my Life”, and “Your Mind”.


The crowd grew larger on the 2nd day of Java Jazz Festival 2012. The Japanese duet acoustic guitars Depapepe returned to the scene after their performance on the first day, and still managed to mesmerize the audience with their captivating compositions.  At B1 Hall, legendary Bobby McFerrin presented the beautiful sounds of the human voice, as he performed with nothing but a single microphone. As a twist from his performance on the first day, Bobby invited a Sundanese Suling traditional flute to collaborate with him, and the result was pure beauty. On the other corner, Lala Karmela, beautiful rising star of Indonesian music scene, was seen jazzin’ up the crowd at the outdoor stage 2 with her hits.


Day 2 also saw an emotional performance at the D2 Djarum Super Mild Hall, where Indonesian Jazz scene paid tribute to one of its legend: Utha Likumahuwa. Led by Benny and Barry Likumahuwa, themselves prominent Jazz musicians and brother and nephew to Utha,  Utha’s songs were beautifully played  by some of Indonesia’s top musicians, includingHarvey Malaiholo and Mike Mohede.


The D1 Tebs Hall was jam packed with audience as The Manhattan Transfer was due to perform. No stranger to the Java Jazz Festival, that night they not only presented their all-time classic hits but also shared their 40th anniversary  celebration with the crowd.   As The Manhattan Transfer bade goodnight, David Sanborn greeted the audience at D2 Djarum Super Mild Hall with his groovy saxophone performance.


Although the Beatles may not possibly perform at Java Jazz, their songs echoed from the past as G-Pluck managed to draw crowds to the Outdoor Stage 2, with Beatles classical hits. The crowd grew even bigger as the clock approached midnight and Indonesia latest Blues sensation, Gugun Blues Shelter was due to perform on the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy stage. Bringing classical blues and occasional touches of rock, the Band got the crowd on their feet song after song. The outstanding performance of Gugun Blues Shelter closed the 2nd night.


Bringing some of the world’s greatest musicians in such a massive scale, while at the same time celebrating Indonesia’s own jazz scene, Java Jazz 2012 has definitely confirmed Indonesia’s place among the international music scene. Drawing thousands of music enthusiasts from the region and beyond, the festival has firmly established Jakarta and Indonesia as Asia’s rising entertainment center.

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