Maybe there’s something in the water down there in Indonesia, but an already active fusion scene seems to keep getting better and better. Recently Dwiki Dharmawan raised the bar with his massive double CD, “Pasar Klewer”, which combined all manner of jazz, fusion and south Asian music and instruments. Not to be out done, Dewa Budjana has responded with his own epic double CD (3 LP!) offering, “Zentuary”, that mixes together fusion, Indonesian music, post bop and classic progressive rock into a strong unified musical vision. Dewa brings some definite heavy hitters on board to help with his massive creation, including Tony Levin on bass, and Gary Husband and Jack DeJonette sharing drums and keyboards. Tim Garland and Danny Markovitch play sax on a few cuts, and Guthrie Govan plays guitar on one track. A variety of other guests provide Indonesian vocals and flute.
Although Budjana combines many musical influences on “Zentuary”, the eventual outcome becomes his own personal creation, a style of music that belongs solely to Budjana. One of the first things one may notice is a lack of western style four beat groove that is often associated with jazz rock, instead, much of the material on here is in a flowing 3 beat groove, or some other odd metered rhythm, which both Husband and DeJohnette play with a hint of post bop swing. This isn’t ‘heavy rock’ fusion, but it does get intense, especially when Budjana is firing away on his noisy distorted guitar. Then, at other times, Dewa will play in a more melodic acoustic style that recalls Nicolas Meier.
Every track on “Zentuary” is strong, with both Cds opening with intense lengthy multi-sectioned tracks, then closing out with tracks that are more melodic and concise. Some musical highlights include Guthrie Govan’s Pink Floyd style guitar solo on the beautifully melodic “Suniakala”, and Jack DeJohnette’s intense piano solo, that channels Monk, Cecil Taylor and Matthew Shipp, on “Uncle Jack”. It sure would be nice to hear some more piano from this already amazing drummer.