Exposé Online banner

Dwiki Dharmawan — Pasar Klewer
(Moonjune MJR081, 2016, 2CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2016-10-30

Pasar Klewer Cover art

Solo (or Surakarta) is a city of half a million people in central Java with a rich history, long a center of Javanese identity and tradition, second only to the better known Yogyakarta. Pasar Klewer is a large open air market there where one can find just about anything, in many ways like the album at hand, where pianist and composer Dwiki Dharmawan presents a set that is nominally jazz, but there is no mistaking its traditional Indonesian roots in the undercurrent of nearly every tune, along with a sampling of elements of other styles, presented through his visionary filter. His trio features bassist Yaron Stavi and drummer / percussionist Asaf Sirkis, and on this two disc set they are joined by a number of other players and vocalists, track depending, including guitarists Nicolas Meier and Mark Wingfield; clarinetist / saxophonist Gilad Atzmon; Aris Daryono, who provides vocals and plays gamelan and kendang percussion, and rebab (a traditional three string violin) on a number of tracks; singer Peni Candra Rini on the beautiful traditional disc 2 opener “Lir Ilir;” Gamelan Jess Jegog (a gamelan orchestra) on the brilliant “Tjampuhan;” and Moonjune stablemate Boris Savoldelli sings on the last two tunes on disc 1, including Robert Wyatt’s “Forest” and the Wyatt-inspired “London in June” composed by the trio. Magically inspired compositions and playing can be found throughout these two discs, it’s hard to choose a favorite when so many of these pieces stand out to the degree that they do, but mention must be made of the powerful “Bubuyu Bulan,” a Benny Corda composition arranged by Dharmawan, where Atzmon turns in some stunning work on clarinet, and the follow-on “Frog Dance,” where some Balinese tree frogs even get in on the act, also featuring Atzmon on soprano sax. The oddest track here has to be the vocal version of “Forest,” with Savoldelli singing (there is an instrumental version also that closes disc two), if only because it just doesn’t seem to fit in with the other material, although after about a dozen plays it has definitely grown on me. Beginning to end, this is a monument to the fusion of modern jazz and Indonesian traditional styles, and a strong candidate for my best of 2016 list.

Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Boris Savoldelli, Mark Wingfield, Gilad Atzmon, Dwiki Dharmawan, Yaron Stavi, Asaf Sirkis

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Body Full of Stars - Falling Angels – Mark Dunn seems like quite a colorful guy. The leader and main songwriter for English group Body Full of Stars writes spirited Afro- and British pop and has a vocal delivery full of English wit and...  (1999) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues