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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dewa Budjana - Joged Kahyangan

One of the things I love of hearing great music in the world of Jazz Fusion and Progressive Rock, is that I would always get a funny feeling that something magical and special is about to happen. And one of those people that I’m blown away by is Indonesian guitarist virtuoso, Dewa Budjana. After hearing his first album, Dawai in Paradise from the Moonjune label, he has this wonderful gift that just takes you into various worlds that is awestruck.

Now he’s back with his follow up, Joged Kahyangan, which means “Dancing Heaven” is Dewa’s own interpretation of beauty from his roots in his hometown of Waikabuba. And this is almost a coming back home album and revisiting the places where he grew up and set to a smooth and uplifting tempo. Dewa is not alone, he’s brought along some friends to help him out including; Larry Goldings on Keyboards, Bob Mintzer on Sax and Clarinet, Jimmy Johnson on Bass, Peter Erskine on Drums, and special guest Janis Siegel on vocals.

Erksoman, in which is Peter’s nickname, has this soul-jazz rock flavor in the styles of the late ‘60s/early ‘70s as Dewa, Peter, and Larry Goldings in which he is playing in the styles of Thelonious Monk, Bo Hansson, and Steve Winwood, he just going into town with his Hammond Organ on the road for some wonderful solo work as Dewa lays down on the groove while Peter keeps the waltz tempo flowing in the ¾ time signature.

Majik Blue starts off at first with a calming relaxation for the first two minutes and fifty seconds as it goes into darker territories as Dewa goes at it with heavy related work before Larry captures his Monk and Keith Tippett piano styles before Bob Mintzer is wailing on the sax as Johnson’s bass has some Pastorius licks as they come back in the easygoing finale while Dang Hyang Story, captures the essence of the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s Inner Mounting Flame-era rolled up into one with an ominous and elevating feel.

Elsewhere, the title track, has this wonderful resemblance of King Crimson’s In The Wake of Poseidon-era as its done in the style of Cadence and Cascade with the acoustic folky background as Dewa challenges Robert Fripp’s chord progressions. Then there’s the lovely song dealing with growing up and moving forward to start a new chapter in your life, As You Leave My Nest, featuring Janis Siegel. She has this soothing and comforting sound on her voice as the band go into a beautiful ballad to give Janis a chance to get into the song as its used as a reprise for an instrumental style on the closer, Borra’s Ballad.

Guru Mandala, has this cool riff between guitar and sax and vocalizations scatting the melody, goes into this atmospheric funk-rock with an Indonesian kick to it and you can tell they are having a blast on this piece as Dewa goes from funk-jazz into classical movement as you can imagine walking on the sandy beach and seeing the sun going down while the opener, Foggy Cloud, just takes your breath away as it goes into the Bebop Fusion resemblance of Vince Guaraldi as if Dewa was recording a score in honor of Vince's work doing one of the Charlie Brown specials.

Joged Kahyangan shows that not only Dewa Budjana is back, but he is soon going to have a name for himself in the Jazz community and give the sound a big warm welcome that is take everyone by surprise. Moonjune Records have really scored a home run with this!

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