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JakJazz Festival: Jakarta, West Java

My father was a jazz fanatic and during my childhood I grew up with the sounds of the Big Band rhythms and American southern Jazz. Even today I am a great lover of jazz and enjoy attending jazz festivals. For all you lovers of these great music, starting today in Jakarta is the JakJazz 2007 Festival.

Here’s more on this magical occasion from A. Junaidi in Jakarta:

Carrying the slogan “Paint the Town Jazz”, JakJazz 2007 is ready to shake up Jakarta with three days of jazz music, starting today.
Promoted as the biggest musical event of the year’s end, the festival is set to feature dozens of local and international performers across seven stages at Central Jakarta’s Istora Senayan stadium.

“This year, we will present more varied performances,” JakJazz founder and guitar maestro Ireng Maulana said at a press conference Wednesday.

Big names in jazz including Spyro Gyra, Kool and the Gang, Don Grusin, the Bad Boys from the U.S., and Tetsuo Sakurai from Japan are expected to draw crowds, organizers said.

There has been much interest in Indonesian musicians including pianist Bubi Chen, Elfa Secioria, Indra Lesmana, Dwiki Darmawan, Shaharani and Andien, they said.

The lineup would include Carmen Bradford and Rani Singam of Singapore, Ze Paulo Becker and Bernardo Aguiar from Brazil, Pierick Pedron from France and the Joona Toivanen Trio from Finland.

Pianist Idang Rasjidi is set to play with his group, the Next Generation, and said the 9th JakJazz 2007 would showcase “different specialities of various musicians and the diversity of jazz”.

“The festival focuses more on art than the industry side,” Idang said.

“It’s an event where musicians show themselves.

“Jazz is an ego.”

He said the diversity of the festival would be maximized with performances from Curtis King from Ohio, U.S., who is scheduled to present mixed rock-and-roll jazz. And the Balawan trio should add to the color with their Balinese pentatonic touches.

“Since I’m from Ohio, I play rock and roll jazz,” Curtis King told reporters. Now living in Vietnam, he said he would blend jazz and Chinese music in some of his works.

Most international musicians involved in the festival had already arrived in the city.

“I’m very appreciative of being invited here,” pianist Shinoya Satoru said. “I will play my best in the festival.”

Festival organizers said JakJazz would feature mainstream jazz for fanatics — but that younger jazz lovers would be entertained by favorite bands, including Maliq and d’essentials, Tompi and Groovoology, Rieke Rousland and Troubadours, and Parkdrive.

The JakJazz committee said it would provide an opportunity for Jakarta jazz communities, including Jajan Jazz from the Bumi Serpong Damai housing complex, Tangerang, and Beben Quartet from Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, to perform on a special stage.

A further theme to run through the festival would be the regeneration of jazz, with some new groups having been offered the chance to perform, including musicians from the Jazz Society at Bina Nusantara University, and Jakarta’s drum school.

Auditions were run by organizers across four cities in the lead-up to the festival, including Surabaya, East Java, Yogyakarta, Bandung, West Java and Jakarta.

Five bands were selected from the auditions to perform at the festival, including Setia Kawan of Yogyakarta, Konzep of Surabaya, Sunrise and Cherie Amor of Jakarta, and a band called 4:00am from Bandung.

Tickets for JakJazz 2007 start at Rp 150,000 for students and Rp 1.250,000 for all performances.

For tickets or information telephone 021 572 0417 or go to www.jakjazz.com.