DEWA BUDJANA — Joged Kahyangan (review)

DEWA BUDJANA — Joged Kahyangan album cover Album · 2013 · Post-Fusion Contemporary Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
kev rowland
This is Dewa’s sixth solo album to date, and while he may well be a bona fide pop star in his home country with his band Gigi selling millions of records, he is still relatively unknown outside of his native Indonesia. With this, his second album for the international label Moonjune, surely that will soon change. The album title translates to “Dances of Heaven”, and if you are at all interested in jazz fusion that is the place to which you will be transported when listening to this. On this album he has been joined by Larry Goldings (organ, piano), Bob Mintzer (tenor and soprano sax, clarinet, bass clarinet), Jimmy Johnson (bass) and Peter Erskine (drums) as well as singer Janis Siegel guesting on the one number with vocals.

The musicians didn’t see Budjana’s charts until the day of the recording, and the first take was the only rehearsal they had with the second or third take ending up on the album. Recorded in just a single day, this is pretty much a full live recording, which makes it even more incredible. Dewa has strong understanding of the use of space and harmony, as well as dischord, and combines all the elements to make an album that takes the listener by the hand as opposed to bashing them over the head. There are whole passages where Dewa is notable by his absence, letting the rest of the guys take his music on a journey and he joins in with wonderfully fluid Metheny/McLaughlin style at just the right moment. It is a wonderfully restful album, one where time and space disappears and is replaced instead by a world filled with harmony, delicacy, and restrained power. Every piece is a classic in it’s own right, while the restraint of everyone involved in the vocal “As You Leave My Nest” is superb.

The digipak opens up to provide three pages of notes, written by John Kelman, which definitely add to the overall experience. This is an essential album to anyone who enjoys wonderful music, whatever the genre.
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