Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

9

Dwiki Dharmawan's Pasar Klewer Plays Indonesia

John Ephland By

Sign in to view read count
Dwiki Dharmawan's Pasar Klewer
Various Locations
Bandung and Jakarta, Indonesia
March 2-5, 2017

It was supposed to just be a soundcheck and rehearsal. But the energy and focus delivered as Indonesian pianist/composer Dwiki Dharmawan ran his Pasar Klewer band through the various numbers most of this group had recorded in London in 2015 (and had only performed once later in Bali) manifested in what was clearly a tight and orderly rollout. And not without a few twists and turns along the way. Call it the first of four shows.

No doubt, this was a bona fide prelude to that evening's first of three actual performances over four days -first here at the TP Jazz Club in Bandung's Papandayan Hotel, and culminating with two more shows at the Motion Blue club in Jakarta's Fairmont Hotel and the 13th annual Java Jazz Festival that weekend.

The recording in question, the two-disc Pasar Klewer (MoonJune Records), is a kind of magnum opus for the acclaimed pianist, whose classically trained technique and compositional skills spill out in extraordinary fashion. Here in Indonesia, it was most of the Pasar Klewer band with drummer Asaf Sirkis; Nicolas Meier on guitars; soprano/alto saxophonist/clarinetist Gilad Atzmon; vocalist Boris Savoldelli; Dede Yanto played rebab violin, suling flute and tarompet; and bassist Rudy Zulkarnaen (replaced for the following two performances by Pasar Klewer bassist Yaron Stavi). Over four nights, they navigated Dharmawan's complex yet clearly listener-friendly charts as if they'd been on the road for weeks playing this music. The camaraderie between musicians, no doubt, was a factor.

During that rehearsal, a highlight was the band's breakout moment with some up-tempo swing embedded in the otherwise otherworldly "Life Ilir" (featuring a traditional arrangement by Dharmawan), the group performing with refreshing, carefree abandon, tradition jazzily unleashed. It served as a window into Dharmawan's obvious affinities with a triplet swing pulse, enhanced by Zulkarnaen's propulsive, meaty basslines and Sirkis' deft use of cymbals and skins. It also made clear Dharmawan's affinities for Cecil Taylor abstraction and Ahmad Jamal's chordal work. At another point, with Atzmon leading the charge on clarinet, the band took yet another leap into the unknown with a spasm of klezmer energy on the title track. Indeed, this music was to be approached as clay to be remade instead of simply recreated.

This Bandung performance served as a kind of homecoming for Dharmawan, the specially designed band (by MoonJune label head Leonardo Pavkovic) all flown in from different parts of the globe just to celebrate the hometown boy's music and new release.

The formal show, with similar set lists on subsequent nights, kicked off with the fiery "Purnama," featuring Savoldelli's spirited vocals and Atzmon's blazing alto. In fact, both Savoldelli and Atzmon would both utilize electronics to extend the reach of their respective voices here and there, Savoldelli, in particular, selectively sending the contours of his processed voice and delivery into entertainingly abstract realms (e.g., on Robert Wyatt's "Forest"). A favorite was the blues/lament "Bubuy Bulan," where Atzmon once again shined with an aching, mournful delivery, and with more expressive piano from Dharmawan on a tune that hung heavily on a slow march/swing cadence.

As the band migrated to Jakarta for one more club appearance and the festival, it became clear that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enjoy a true, passing musical moment. The Motion Blue performance, with a bigger stage and better sound, helped to give voice to more members, especially Yanto, who sat on the floor while he played and sang. Fellow Indonesian guitar great Dewa Budjana (also a 2017 Java Jazz Festival headliner) joined the band at one point for a spirited jam, trading guitar licks with Meier. The transition culminated in what was a veritable spree on the final night, Atzmon essentially dancing across the stage as he wailed, Meier stretching out on guitar in ways that recalled a latter-day Django Reinhardt, Stavi's basslines mesmerizing when they weren't limited to being the band's anchor.

In particular, "London In June" offered yet another side to this band, as their free-jazz sentiments were given another deliciously free rein, Atzmon's soprano once again, in this case, invoking the spirit of John Coltrane and that well-known four-note phrase from "Acknowledgement" on A Love Supreme(as heard on Pasar Klewer).

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read We Jazz: Moveable Feast Fest Theory Live Reviews We Jazz: Moveable Feast Fest Theory
by Josef Woodard
Published: December 16, 2017
Read We Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews We Jazz Festival 2017
by Anthony Shaw
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Anat Cohen Tentet at SFJAZZ Live Reviews Anat Cohen Tentet at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Mary Ellen Desmond: Comfort and Joy 2017 Live Reviews Mary Ellen Desmond: Comfort and Joy 2017
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Jazztopad Festival 2017 Live Reviews Jazztopad Festival 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Vivian Reed at Feinstein's/54 Below Live Reviews Vivian Reed at Feinstein's/54 Below
by Tyran Grillo
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "Pharoah Sanders at SFJAZZ" Live Reviews Pharoah Sanders at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: October 5, 2017
Read "Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens" Live Reviews Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Daniel Bennett Group at Tomi Jazz" Live Reviews Daniel Bennett Group at Tomi Jazz
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 24, 2017
Read "Gary Peacock Trio at the Jazz Standard" Live Reviews Gary Peacock Trio at the Jazz Standard
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 14, 2017
Read "Tortilla Soup with Tony Lindsay At Yoshi's" Live Reviews Tortilla Soup with Tony Lindsay At Yoshi's
by Walter Atkins
Published: September 26, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!