Thursday, February 27, 2014

Beyond CD of the Month - "Dewa Budjana: Joged Kahyangan"

Beyond CD of the Month
Dewa Budjana: "Joged Kahyangan" (MoonJune)

Featuring: Dewa Budjana (electric guitar & synth guitar), Larry Goldings (Hammond organ, acoustic piano), Jimmy Johnson (electric guitar), Peter Erskine (drums), Bob Mintzer (tenor & soprano saxophones, clarinet, bass clarinet) & Janis Siegel (vocals)

Produced, Composed & Arranged by Dewa Budjana
Executive Producers: Bagus Wijaya Santosa & Leonardo Pavkovic
Liner Notes: John Kelman
Recorded on June 7, 2012 @ Firehouse Studio (Pasadena, CA) by Rich Breen
Overdubs @ Temple Island Studio (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Mixed & Mastered @ Dogmatic Sounds by Rich Breen
Artwork: Aga Dilaga
Photos: Bambang Taruna
Boasting a stellar lineup of modern jazz icons Larry Goldings, Bob Mintzer, Jimmy Johnson and Peter Erskine (and featuring guest vocalist, the fabulous Janis Siegel), Indonesian guitar maestro Dewa Budjana's sixth solo album -- his second for MoonJune Records -- is a progressive jazz master-class session of huge proportions. Overflowing with moments of elegance, grace, depth and invention, Joged Kahyangan is Dewa's musical interpretation of the beauty of heaven.

Featuring eight exquisitely-crafted, -arranged and -executed gems, Budjana and friends have raised the bar for the genre; each song is performed with a profound sensitivity and diction unquestionably worthy of the project's lofty ambitions. The scope of this album is reflected in the album's liner notes, from quotes from the Bali native, himself:

Kahyangan is the Indonesian word for "heaven." Naturally, it is believed to be a place of great beauty. (... and, for me, Indonesia is Kahyangan!) This album, Joged Kahyangan ("Dances of Heaven"), is my musical interpretation of this beauty; it is a music that is shaped by my native cultural roots.

My vision for this album was to collaborate with some renowned musicians in the US, whose work I have long admired, and capture their spontaneous interpretations of these songs, heavy with jazz flavorings and nuance -- incorporating their cultural roots.

Fusing elements of Dewa's Indonesian roots with advanced melodic and harmonic sensibilities and subtle-yet-sophisticated, organic arrangements, Joged Kahyangan, once again, showcases the multifaceted character of his extraordinary talents as a composer and arranger, as well as a world-class guitarist [as did his previous album (his fifth solo album and MJR debut), this year's magnificent Dawai In Paradise (MJR051)].

The album finds all of its legendary participants in exceptional form, with understatement and reverence of the moment clearly trumping any thought of flaunting chops. (... and this is a collection of superlative, articulate musicians who clearly have huge respective vocabularies from which to draw.)

Joged Kahyangan solidifies Dewa Budjana's rightful place among the world's most elite musicians and the genre's most original and compelling newly-emerging voices. It is an intricately-woven tapestry of supreme modern jazz, eclipsing borders as it transports listeners to truly heavenly destinations.

This is an album not to be missed for any fans of modern jazz, progressive and world music ... it simply doesn't get any better.
Guitarist, composer and producer Dewa Gede Budjana was born on August 30, 1963, in Waikabubak, West Sumba, Indonesia, in the region known as Bali. (It is an area considered by those who know it to be a tropical paradise.)

Dewa has established a solid body of work as a jazz artist on numerous solo albums (featuring a "who's who" list of current jazz luminaries), while also being the lead guitarist and songwriter of the Indonesian nationally-celebrated pop/rock band, Gigi. His fluidity and grace in both rock and jazz idioms has firmly established his position among the very elite guitarists in the world, as well, perhaps, as Indonesia's most well-known and highly-regarded guitarist ever.

Dewa’s journey as a musician started at the early age of eleven, when he bought his first guitar. His passion and talent for the instrument was further nurtured when the Balinese native moved to the city of Surabaya. During this period, his tendencies varied from jazz-rock to progressive music -- influenced by John McLaughlin of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Yes, Gentle Giant, ELP; and later by Keith Jarrett, Jan Garbarek, Chick Corea, Bill Frissell, Jeff Beck, Pat Metheny and Weather Report, as Dewa became steadily more drawn to jazz.

Both Dewa’s intrepid experimentations -- blending jazz with traditional sounds -- and his hunger to pursue his gift were evident early on in his career. Upon graduation, Dewa aggressively pursued his dreams, making the decision to relocate to Jakarta, to further his musical ambitions and embark on a career. While there, Dewa met and tutored under Indonesian jazz legend, Jack Lesmana, who introduced him to the principles and basics of jazz.

It was Jack Lesmana’s son, Indra, who suggested to Dewa that he should become a session player. This period was the beginning of his first professional performances. It was a time which saw him become very busy, where Dewa was featured on "Isbandi in Telerama" -- a popular musical show broadcasted regularly on national TV.

Dewa Budjana first earned international fame and celebrity as the founding member of Gigi, in 1994. The band has released 22 albums to date, firmly establishing Gigi as one of the biggest, most successful pop rock bands in the region.

Dewa is also an accomplished producer, a role which began with the release of his first solo album, "Nusa Damai," in 1997, and continued with guitarist Balawan’s album "Globalism," the following year.

The common thread connecting his body of solo works is the merging of multiple musical elements: incorporating jazz, pop, rock and traditional sounds, producing music that is personal and intimate in its delivery, yet universal in its appeal.

With the release of his solo fifth album, "Dawai in Paradise," Dewa introduces new compositions and visits earlier ones, all in contemplation of his musical journey thus far. This album includes collaborations with Grammy-winning artists drummer Peter Erskine and multi-instrumentalist Howard Levy, the renowned Indonesian jazz keyboardist and producer, Indra Lesmana, his Indonesian contemporary, celebrated pianist Ade Irawan, and the late legendary jazz bassist, Dave Carpenter, among others.

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