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

Gary Bartz with We Out Here, Rob Luft, E…

The latest names announced for this year’s EFG London Jazz...

Read More.....

Ronnie Scott’s Piano Trio Fest returns w…

This year’s edition of the Ronnie Scott’s International Piano Trio...

Read More.....

Mark Lockheart busts out new jazz-rock Q…

We were getting in at the beginning: the first public...

Read More.....

João Gilberto 10/6/1931 – 6/7/2019

João Gilberto was born in Juazeiro, Bahia, in Brazil in...

Read More.....

Chick Corea, Snarky Puppy, SEED Ensemble…

Love Supreme’s seventh year continues its unique strengths, as an...

Read More.....

Countdown to Love Supreme Jazz Festival …

The Love Supreme Jazz Festival is set to open its...

Read More.....

Braxton Sets New Standards At OTO

Following his glorious residency at London’s Cafe OTO in May...

Read More.....

Shai Maestro, Electric Lady Big Band and…

After its successful inaugural year in 2017, the Jazz Leeds...

Read More.....

Chrissie Hynde goes jazz, Blue Note trib…

Some sizable additions have been added to the EFG London...

Read More.....

Zorn blasts through 50 Bagatelles and Sn…

1959 was a good year for fans of Miles, Trane...

Read More.....

Tony Hall: producer, manager and Jazzwis…

It is with huge sadness that we report the death...

Read More.....

Manhattan Comes To Rottingdean

Unexpected pleasures are the best, even for jazz fans, and...

Read More.....

Saxophonist Alexander Bone wins Kenny Wh…

Twenty-two-year old saxophonist Alexander Bone (above) has been announced as...

Read More.....

LA Fusion stars Spirit Fingers fire-up f…

Virtuosic LA jazz-fusion band Spirit Fingers are set for a...

Read More.....

Call The Cops: Jazzers Run Riot At Bruss…

The annual Brussels Jazz Weekend operates on a gargantuan scale...

Read More.....

Hundred Years Gallery Holds Speaker-Thon

The Hundred Years Gallery, a not-for-profit space showcasing free improvisation...

Read More.....

Babelfish swim to Kings Place for Once U…

Acclaimed jazz-folk group Babelfish are set to launch their new...

Read More.....

Michael Janisch kicks out the jams for n…

Whirlwind Recordings label boss Michael Janisch (above centre) steps back...

Read More.....

Lost Miles Davis Rubberband album snaps …

Rubberband, a previously unissued 1985 album by Miles Davis, is...

Read More.....

Grégoire Tirtiaux and Gratitude Trio lea…

This is a festival where it’s possible to completely miss Kamasi...

Read More.....

Final Bow For The Night Tripper – A Trib…

Refuting the title of his biggest hit, ‘Right Place, Wrong...

Read More.....

Rossano Sportiello rounds out Harriet Co…

For 40 amazing years, the singer Harriet Coleman has presented...

Read More.....

Ronnie Scott’s rolls up to Royal Albert …

Ronnie Scott’s, the iconic London jazz club, will mark its...

Read More.....

Wollny Steals The Night As Moran Breaks …

The first thing to notice were the queues, over 200...

Read More.....

Steam Down, Emma-Jean Thackray and Leafc…

Stroud’s reputation as the alternative hippy hub of the Cotswolds...

Read More.....

Andrew McCormack returns with Graviton: …

Award-winning pianist Andrew McCormack storms back with the second volume...

Read More.....

Jazz Cafe sax summit kicks off second Lo…

Following its successful inaugural run last year, the London Saxophone...

Read More.....

McFerrin Moves Estonian Voices To Jubila…

The second half of Tallinn’s 10-day Jazzkaar festival was particularly...

Read More.....

Herbie Hancock, Terri Lyne Carrington an…

The line-up for this year’s EFG London Jazz Festival is...

Read More.....

Williams And Mancio Find Home With Subli…

  Kate Williams and her distinctive Four Plus Three, that’s her...

Read More.....

McBride, Porter, Reeves and Jazz At Linc…

Although it is a respected cultural event throughout the Caribbean...

Read More.....

Major unreleased Tubby Hayes Fontana alb…

Christmas comes early for fans of the late, great Brit-jazz...

Read More.....

Ripsaw Get Rolling

Baritone saxophonist Cath Roberts and guitarist Anton Hunter take their...

Read More.....

Cello Fellows Honsinger, Dixon & Lon…

The fifth annual Chicago Jazz String Summit took place at...

Read More.....

Bristol Jazz Fest launches Crowdfunder l…

The Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival has launched a...

Read More.....

Marcus Miller, Tim Garland and Leïla Mar…

The full line-up for this year’s Manchester Jazz Festival has...

Read More.....

Making The Cut Mpu 300x500px

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

@WesTirey especially when it is in your house
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@AbstractTruth I can see that, too
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

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