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Interviews An Indonesian Jazz Mission

By Published: August 11, 2010
"There are 1,500 performers on 21 stages and 100,000 people, from 15-years-old listening to jazz, whatever type of jazz it is, whether it's pop-jazz, smooth jazz, big- band, bebop, swing," Setiawan said. "Java Jazz needs to keep doing what it does, making a balance between pleasing the hard core jazz fans and at the same time, building a bridge for the new generation of fans to come to jazz."

Building bridges for people to help them encounter jazz music is what is all about. Arguably, its most ambitious project to date is the plan to create what Setiawan describes as "a house of jazz." The idea was born when wondering what to do with the huge number of CDs which it has accumulated over the years.

"We have about 15,000 CDs; what do we want to do with them?" asks Setiawan. "Do we want to store them in a warehouse where nobody can touch them? Nobody can listen to them? No, we don't want to do that. We have an idea, fingers crossed, to have a four-story building. The first level will be basically a café with a small stage where a trio or quartet can play for free and the people listen for free. The idea is that any jazz musician, even amateurs or those who would like to become jazz musicians, wherever they come from, can have the chance to visit our place and play there and be appreciated.

"On the second level we want to have a 100-capacity auditorium equipped with recording equipment so that anybody who wants to record a record can go in, play and go out with a CD in their hand.

"The third floor will be a jazz library," he continued. "We get books relatively cheaply from a guy in Chicago but friends also donate books. On the fourth floor, we want to have a radio station, a combination of on-line and aired, so any radio station who wants to subscribe, can. You can listen to any radio station around Indonesia or around the world. We can invite guest hosts or do interviews, record them, upload it to the server and it can be heard by anybody around the world. I love the idea that people can connect anywhere around the world at any time as long as they are connected to the Internet.

"We want on-line streaming, not necessarily on our own, we want to attract and encourage people to participate and build the largest collection of music, something which will be very beneficial," Setiawan said. "Any record label or any jazz fans who want to donate CDs, we would welcome them. This is what I would call an Indonesian Jazz House."

It's an exciting vision, and vision is something that has always had. Driven by a love of jazz music in all its myriad forms, is creating a story which is already the stuff of legend. Where the future of jazz lies or what new directions it will take tomorrow is anybody's guess, but Setiawan has a clear idea in his own mind of where the epicenter lies—and of's mission: "The next big thing for jazz is Asia" he declares. "I want to build something that is really beneficial for the people."

Photo Credits
Page 2, Second Photo: Ian Patterson
All other photos: Courtesy of

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