Ramadan is generally not a good time for nightlife. That doesn’t mean, however, that there’s no entertainment to be found and you have to spend a month of nights at home.
This Friday, the Goethe Institute’s bimonthly Serambi Jazz concert series returns and it promises to be an event to remember. The concert will feature two of Indonesia’s most renowned jazz groups, the Glen Dauna Project and Chamber Jazz.
Glen Dauna has been a fixture on the local music scene for quite some time. The renowned composer and pianist is mostly known as the pianist for the Twilite Orchestra. He has also collaborated with many of the country’s top musicians, including Jack and Indra Lesmana. Glen released his first solo album, “Flying Kites,” in 2008 before focusing on his group, the Glen Dauna Project.
Glen has performed at the country’s biggest jazz festivals, but said he was particularly excited about playing at the Goethe-Institut on Friday. He has a special connection with Germany, having studied in Darmstadt, south of Frankfurt, for more than five years in the 1980s.
“We are going to play some songs from my album ‘Flying Kites,’ but also some new songs that haven’t been recorded yet,” Glen said about Friday’s show.
He added that he was happy to see jazz continuing to gain more appreciation in Indonesia.
“Compared to maybe 10, 15 years ago, it is very different now,” he said. “It also seems that the younger generation has developed a liking for jazz.”
This younger generation includes his own sons, Indra Artie Dauna and Rega Dauna, who are part of his group.
“Indra is our trumpet player and Rega, who is only 13 years old, plays harmonica. It seems like they’re following in the footsteps of their father,” Glen said with a laugh.
The group’s lineup on Friday will be completed by Dezca Anugrah Samudra on drums, Joshua Arifin on bass, percussionist Ajie Rao and veteran bassist Jeffrey Tahalele.
The second jazz ensemble that will take the stage on Friday is Chamber Jazz, the brainchild of Iwan Hasan.
“At first, I collaborated with [jazz singer] Andien, with me on guitar and her on vocals,” Iwan said. “There was good chemistry between us, and I started thinking that maybe we could form a whole group instead of just performing as a duo.”
The result is Chamber Jazz, officially founded in 2009. It is a unique collaboration that combines guitar, vocals, piano and tuba. That’s right, Chamber Jazz has a tuba player, but no drummer or bassist.
“We play standard jazz songs, but what is maybe most interesting for our audience on Friday will be the composition that we call ‘Javanese Suite,’ ” said Iwan, who has a background in classical music. “These are four traditional Javanese folk songs that Andien loved when she was a young child, and we have turned them into a medley.”
Iwan has a reputation for musical experimentation, which shines through in Chamber Jazz. On “Javanese Suite,” for example, Iwan uses an acoustic guitar that has been modified to sound like it is part of a gamelan orchestra.
“It is quite a unique approach,” he said.
This is the first time either Chamber Jazz or the Glen Dauna Project have taken part in the Serambi Jazz series.
The event debuted in 2009 and has been a regular fixture at the German cultural institute ever since. It offers a platform for Indonesian jazz musicians, where they can perform in front of an enthusiastic audience. The series also serves as a meeting point for local and foreign musicians, because the Goethe Institute frequently brings German artists to Jakarta.
Featuring the Glen Dauna Project and Chamber Jazz
Friday, Aug. 12, from 7:30 p.m.
Jl. Sam Ratulangi No. 9-15
Menteng, Central Jakarta
Tel: 021 2355 0208
Free of charge, but seats are limited