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Interviews An Indonesian Jazz Mission

By Published: August 11, 2010 certainly has taken the business seriously since then, realizing one goal after another.

"Year after year, our history grew," Setiawan said. "We wanted to do a concert ... we did it. We wanted to have a radio station ... we have it. We wanted to have a jazz festival ... we did it. We wanted to make a jazz documentary ... we did it. We wanted to release CDs ... we did it. We wanted to have a photo exhibition ... we did it last year.

"We've covered most of the aspects of jazz, from managing artists to putting on festivals, doing interviews, arranging press conferences—we've done all that," he added.

And that list doesn't include the group's production of high-quality merchandise, web design for other jazz festivals, booking Indonesian bands around North America, and a forthcoming book publication.

Nonetheless, still has plenty of unrealized goals, and like all the others thus far, obstacles do not stand in the way—they are stepping stones on the way to fulfillment.

"We still have a dream which we want to do in the very near future," enthuses Setiawan, "which is to have an Indonesian Jazz Meeting, and promote jazz to Indonesian people, learning from everybody like obviously IAJE, and Jazz Ahead in Germany. We want to bring something very good to Indonesian people and also for the world of jazz. We want to make this music as accessible as possible."

Bringing the music to the people is at the core of everything does. In 2003, the group toured Indonesia with an Indonesian band called Cherokee. Although no one in had any previous experience managing a tour, it was a resounding success and paved the way for more tours to follow. From early on has also brought international jazz acts to Indonesia. In 2001, it promoted Spanish improvisational group Zip Zap in Jakarta.

The musical events promotes often have a "one-time only" character, uniting international and Indonesian musicians to explore music together. In 2003, produced Jazz Meets Gamelan, which brought together Swiss jazz trio Podjama with gamelan (music performed on a group of traditional instruments found in Bali and Java) masters. In 2005, did a project with the Goethe Institute called Pata Java, a collaboration between Djaduk Ferianto's Kua Ethnika and Norbert Stein's Pata Masters from Koln, Germany. The collaborative project toured three cities in Indonesia and went into the studio to produce a recording.

The desire to stage a jazz festival was realized in 2005, when the Bali International Jazz Festival was launched—although its timing, coming only two months after two tragic bombing attacks killed 20 people, meant it was doomed from the start.

"Obviously everybody knew that the festival couldn't continue after that, though the hope is to re-launch the festival in the future," Setiawan said.

Undeterred, has been involved in running jazz festivals throughout Indonesia, providing its expertise in the production side, in festival programming and promotion. One notable example is Jazz Goes to Campus, held at the University of Indonesia in Depok, West Java.

"Jazz on Campus started in '78," Setiawan explained. "It's 100 percent organized by Indonesian students. They have had some international names like Bob James
Bob James
Bob James
and Dave Kosta, but it's mostly Indonesian artists like Syaharani
and Bubi Chen.

"It's held around the end of November," he added. "This year, 25,000 are students expected to attend. The audience is 90 percent students and it's the only jazz festival in the world managed 100 percent by students, attended mostly by students and this legacy is passed on year after year. It's one of the oldest festivals in Indonesia."

The latest of festival ventures involving is Jazz Gunung, a one-day jazz festival held in the mountains of East Java at more than 2,000 meters above sea level, in an area of active, smoking volcanoes and spectacular volcanic terrain.

Jazz Gunung, 2010

Collaborations have unfolded, too, with Indonesian-based cultural centers in France, Italy and Holland, as well as the embassies of Portugal, Finland and Norway, among others. As a significant on-line presence in Indonesia has been the official online partner for a range of artists from David Benoit
David Benoit
David Benoit
to Level 42.

The promotion of home-grown jazz artists is not restricted to Indonesia, and the first international tour promoting a gamelan-jazz fusion band, Krakatau, took place in 2004, with a tour of North America and Canada. It was an important move in more ways than one, Setiawan said.

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