Laila Biali and Idang Rasjidi Syndicate shine at Borneo Jazz Festival

Set against the lush tropical gardens that stretch down from the Borneo Jazz Festival stage to a palm-fringed white sand beach where the delicate oud-sounding curlicues of Chung YuFeng's Chinese lute-like pipa spin fleetingly around Michael Simon's plangent flugelhorn, it's hard not to concur with the knowing words of keyboard player and bandleader Idang Rasjidi, the erstwhile godfather of Indonesian jazz: "America does not own jazz anymore, the world now owns it." A remark that hits the spot with all the power and accuracy of an Iban headhunter's deadly blowpipe given the unique multi-cultural musical vibrancy of this magical boutique festival, now in its 12th year.

Artistic director Jun Lin Yeoh programmes groups from the increasingly strong Malaysian and Indonesian jazz scene alongside a highly eclectic mix of mainly emerging ensembles from around the world. And you don't get more much eclectic than the Fluoroscent Collective whose eight young members hail from Malaysia, Borneo, India, Italy and America and who are all currently studying at Berklee. With influences ranging from Miles Davis to Snarky Puppy, their vibrant jazz/prog/world is clearly a formative work in progress with edgy Holdsworth/Zappa influenced guitarist Alief Hamdan a name to watch. Originally formed over 40 years ago South Africa's Cape Jazz Band brought their bouncy mix of mainstream and funky jazz to a highpoint with a township-style intro to a moody 'What's Goin' On', while the potent Creole blues of the French/Guadaloupe trio Delgres, fronted by guitarist Pascal Danae's stinging bottleneck and Rafgee Gouthiere's pumping sousaphone comes on like John Lee Hooker meets Ali Farka Toure in Congo Square. Afro-Cuban bands are a regular feature at this festival and the Netherlands based Cabocuba Jazz, whose players come from Cuba, Holland, and Cape Verde, bring a bristling set of Cuban, fado and salsa to boiling point fronted by spirited pianist Carlos Matos and the inventive, skittering congas and percussion of Nils Fisher.

Michael-Simons-Asian-Collective

A big hit of the second night, Canadian singer and pianist Laila Biali prowls the hinterland between jazz and singer-songwriter with confidence and poise, occasionally channeling Joni Mitchell and Carole King but equally strong on her own compositions and dynamic, classically-tinged improvisation. Her dramatic down-tempo rearrangement of Bowie's 'Let's Dance', with expressive accompaniment by her strong rhythm section, should be a passport to bigger things.

Idang-Rasjidi

In many ways though it was both Michael Simon's Asian Collective and the Idang Rasjidi Syndicate who echoed the region's atmosphere and heat with two contrasting yet compelling performances that point towards a fascinating future for Southeast Asian jazz. Simon's group fuse bewitching Indonesian and Chinese folk traditions with an impressionistic acoustic/electric Steps Ahead feel, while the clue to Rasjidi's prime influence lies in his group's name. This is not latter day Zawinul though but the early 1970s edgy drive of Weather Report. Rasjidi's gritty Fender Rhodes and edgy analogue effects push and prod the Indonesian-flecked themes while Iwan Wiradireja's unrelenting polyrhythmic drive across congas, djembe and rapid-fire bongo accents fuel the top line's intense improvisation. Like several groups throughout the weekend, ethnic percussion plays a vital role in freeing and uplifting the rhythmic spirit, and is a unique musical signature of both the Borneo Jazz Festival and its sister event, the Rainforest World Music Festival held in July.

– Jon Newey

– Photos courtesy Sarawak Tourism Board - Laila Biali (top), Michael Simons Asian Collective (middle) and Idang Rasjidi Syndicate (bottom)

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

Instant Composers Pool Orchestra goes Dutch with UK and Ireland dates

Instant Composers Pool Orchestra goes Du…

The unique, internationally renowned Instant Composers Pool Orchestra launches Going...

Read More.....
Martin Taylor and Jazz at The Philharmonic concert to save Swanage Jazz Festival

Martin Taylor and Jazz at The Philharmon…

News that this year's 28th edition of the Swanage Jazz...

Read More.....
Nérija, Dinosaur and Jim Mullen among Parliamentary Jazz Award winners

Nérija, Dinosaur and Jim Mullen among Pa…

The 13th annual Parliamentary Jazz Awards took place for the...

Read More.....
Hugh Masekela withdraws from Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya concert due to ill health

Hugh Masekela withdraws from Abdullah Ib…

Revered South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela has announced that, due...

Read More.....
Dee Byrne's Entropi Radiate Amid Rough And Tumble At Kings Place Album Launch

Dee Byrne's Entropi Radiate Amid Rough A…

  The most striking thing about Moment Frozen, the second release from British...

Read More.....
Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach fire-up new Eastside Jazz Club

Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach fire-up …

The opening night of Birmingham's new Eastside Jazz Club featured...

Read More.....
James Taylor And Soweto Kinch Among Poetic Masters Of Rhythm And Rhyme At 2017 Limerick Fest

James Taylor And Soweto Kinch Among Poet…

  The Limerick Jazz Festival continues to spring surprises, and to...

Read More.....
Dave Liebman/Richie Beirach, Christine & Ingrid Jensen and Mark Turner head to Birmingham’s Eastside Jazz Club

Dave Liebman/Richie Beirach, Christine …

Jazz in the Midlands got a huge boost with the...

Read More.....
Mike Gibbs' Dramatic Big Band Birthday Bash A Blast At Birmingham's CBSO Centre

Mike Gibbs' Dramatic Big Band Birthday B…

  In celebration of his 80th year, the composer and arranger...

Read More.....
Mike Carr – 1937-2017

Mike Carr – 1937-2017

Mike Carr, who died on 22 September aged 79, was...

Read More.....
Jazz FM's Sarah Ward, Chris Philips and Nigel Williams up for radio  awards

Jazz FM's Sarah Ward, Chris Philips and …

Two of Jazz FM's longest serving presenters, DJs Sarah Ward...

Read More.....
Joon Moon Exclusive stream of ‘Moonshine Corner’

Joon Moon Exclusive stream of ‘Moonshine…

This year's EFG London Jazz Festival features a performance by...

Read More.....
Westbrook and Wakeman line up with the Uncommon Orchestra for A Bigger Show

Westbrook and Wakeman line up with the U…

Although Mike and Kate Westbrook are based in the West...

Read More.....
Afro-Beat Icon Tony Allen Sups At The Jazz Source For Capital Sidewinding Summit

Afro-Beat Icon Tony Allen Sups At The Ja…

One of the distinguishing marks of the London Jazz Cafe's...

Read More.....
Liane Carroll and Claire Martin play Jazz for Labour in Brighton

Liane Carroll and Claire Martin play Jaz…

Jazz for Labour is presenting multi-award winning singers Liane Carroll...

Read More.....
Pianist Millar Shows Promise At Pizza

Pianist Millar Shows Promise At Pizza

  As the example of Artist Share amply demonstrates, crowdfunding initiatives...

Read More.....
Gustafsson's Vinyl-Collecting Confessions Published

Gustafsson's Vinyl-Collecting Confession…

Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson has trawled the archives of his...

Read More.....
WIN three stunning Bill Evans vinyl LP sets by entering the Jazzwise Reader Survey

WIN three stunning Bill Evans vinyl LP s…

We'd love to know what you think of Jazzwise. We...

Read More.....
Zoe Rahman leads Inner City Ensemble with nine new talents on board

Zoe Rahman leads Inner City Ensemble wit…

Leading UK pianist Zoe Rahman is set to head up...

Read More.....
Makaya McCraven, Ashley Henry RE:ENSEMBLE and Theon Cross Trio unite Chicago and London for International Anthems

Makaya McCraven, Ashley Henry RE:ENSEMBL…

Some of the most exciting names from London and Chicago's...

Read More.....
The Write Stuff adds new qualification for young writers aged 18-25

The Write Stuff adds new qualification f…

This year's Write Stuff music journalism course will return for...

Read More.....
Exclusive stream of ‘I Miss You’ – New single from Wayne Shorter produced seven-piece Holophonor

Exclusive stream of ‘I Miss You’ – New s…

Fast emerging US progressive jazz seven-piece Holophonor are set to...

Read More.....
Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2017 nominees announced

Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2017 nominees …

  The nominees for the 2017 Parliamentary Jazz Awards have been...

Read More.....
John Jack – 1933-2017

John Jack – 1933-2017

John Jack was one of those figures who seem to...

Read More.....
Liane Carroll, Miles Mosley and Seal for Jazz Voice’s tenth anniversary at EFG London Jazz Festival

Liane Carroll, Miles Mosley and Seal for…

The names have been revealed for this year's 10th edition...

Read More.....
Video Exclusive – 'Forlane' from VEIN Plays Ravel

Video Exclusive – 'Forlane' from VEIN Pl…

Swiss piano trio VEIN release their latest album, VEIN Plays...

Read More.....
Denys Baptiste, Mike Gibbs and ICP Orchestra for Turner Sims autumn/winter programme

Denys Baptiste, Mike Gibbs and ICP Orche…

Southampton's Turner Sims concert hall has a bumper crop of...

Read More.....
Nubya Garcia lines up for Steve Reid Innovation showcase – video preview

Nubya Garcia lines up for Steve Reid Inn…

This year's edition of the Steve Reid Innovation showcase will...

Read More.....
Tom Millar Quartet takes Unnatural Events on tour

Tom Millar Quartet takes Unnatural Event…

Pianist and composer Tom Millar starts his autumn tour this...

Read More.....
Hats off for Stetson's big blowout at Brighton's Duke of York

Hats off for Stetson's big blowout at Br…

  Colin Stetson has enough draw to fill this arthouse cinema...

Read More.....
Giovanni Hidalgo fundraiser at Jazz Cafe cancelled

Giovanni Hidalgo fundraiser at Jazz Cafe…

UPDATE: Since this story was first published (here and in...

Read More.....
Walter Becker 1950-2017

Walter Becker 1950-2017

Walter Becker and Donald Fagen may have been two against...

Read More.....
Robert Glasper, Jaga Jazzist and Aron Ottignon added to EFG London Jazz Fest 25th anniversary Line-Up

Robert Glasper, Jaga Jazzist and Aron Ot…

This year's momentous 25th EFG London Jazz Festival, which runs...

Read More.....
Legacies live on as Sidewinder and Coltrane hit silver screen

Legacies live on as Sidewinder and Coltr…

  September can be a quiet month for music fans, after...

Read More.....
Metropole Orkest Modernise Mingus On Prom Night

Metropole Orkest Modernise Mingus On Pro…

Charlie Mingus famously encouraged musicians to play without charts, creating...

Read More.....
Nick Duckett talks about the Harry South The Songbook – “…a British Quincy Jones”

Nick Duckett talks about the Harry South…

Pub conversations can get you in a world of grief...

Read More.....

ABJazzWise


Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

@GramophoneMag The Unanswered Question...
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@ashleyslater247 hahaha
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

Sign up to the Jazzwise monthly E-Newsletter

 

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA