Music plays on at North
Sea Jazz Festival
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Life | Sat, July 21 2001, 7:20 AMBy Eddy Koko
THE HAGUE (JP): A great variety of jazz music
presented by over 1,200 musicians from 160 groups was a fitting
commemoration of the 25th year of the North Sea Jazz Festival in The
Hague this month.
Over the years, the festival -- often
called the world's most prestigious -- has seen the participation of
practically every legendary and prominent jazz musician and singer.
Held from July 13 to July 15, this year's festival was highlighted by
the presence of Erykah Badu, Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Chick
Corea, Bobby McFerrin, Al Jarreau and legendary jazz musicians like Ray
Brown, Hank Jones, Ron Carter, Joe Zawinul and Toots Thielemans, who, at
81, was the oldest of all the participating musicians.
US$3 million, according to the festival's director Theo van den Hoek,
was spent to organize the festival and most of the money went to the
musicians. He said this year's festival was quite successful, especially
with all the tickets sold out a month before showtime. Tickets could be
bought as early as May 2001 and many purchases were made through the
""In the 25 years of its existence, the North Sea
Jazz festival has had varying degrees of success. While this is quite
common in business, we have to remain professional, especially
considering that we have more jazz buffs with more critical minds,""
The organizers, he said, always prepared a fixed
program and after completing a program in a particular year, they would
get down to business again, preparing for the next year. Good relations
with countries which have their own jazz institutes, such as the
International Association of Jazz Educators of the United States, were
established. ""Thanks to their suggestions, we are always able to
improve the quality of the festival,"" said Theo.
festival was a testament to improvement in the running of the event,
particularly in getting things done professionally and efficiently. The
festival, which was the idea of the late Dutch jazz promoter Paul Acker,
returned to the Netherlands this year after being held in Cape Town in
Of all international jazz festivals, the North Sea Jazz
Festival is the most popular among jazz buffs and musicians. It is
every jazz musician' dream to be able to perform in this festival. But
it is not easy due to the tight selection process.
requirement is simple. Send us a recorded sample of your music. If it's
good in our opinion, you will be invited,"" Theo said.
might also play a significant role here. Every year, thousands of
musicians and groups send samples of their recordings, said the
festival's program manager Michelle Kuypers.
In the end, the audience must be prepared to listen to a great variety of jazz music played by about 75 groups every day.
Going to the festival is definitely not a holiday. Thousands of
people would watch the jazz performances, not to mention many stages
where different groups were playing. Bad planning might cause
This year, Indonesia was
represented by the Jakarta All Stars, a jazz group comprising Jeffry
Tahalelle (bass), Kiboud Maulana (guitar), Cendy Luntungan (drum),
Embong Rahardjo (saxophone), Ajie Rao (percussion), Idang Rasyidi
(piano) and Syaharani (singer).
The group's performance at
Mariszaal stage was looked forward to by their loyal fans. Some had to
push and shove at the entrance to Mariszaal, to the right of the Hague
convention hall where all the festival's activities took place.
Embong was seen involved in a tense discussion with the person in
charge of the stage because he played another piece while the group's
time was already over.
""The audience asked us to continue playing, so we had to play another piece,"" he argued, after the show.
In all, the Jakarta All Stars presented 10 songs, mostly the works of
Embong Rahardjo. One of them, Don't Ask Me to Stop, was performed by
Syaharani, who was obviously a favorite with the audience despite this
being her first performance at the festival. In another piece, she was
accompanied by Kiboud Maulana as she belted out Stormy Monday Blues.
The performance at this year's festival was the third for the Jakarta
All Stars, which was set up in 1991 to take part in this festival. The
group, however, did not take part in the festival in 1997 due to the
This year, the group was sponsored by Sugeng
Saryadi of Kodel group and other companies, including Garuda Indonesia.
The group said its mission included trying to lure foreign tourists
back to Indonesia.
""We hope the participation of our
musicians in an international festival will convince foreigners
Indonesia is not as bad as reported by foreign media. When a country is
really in a mess, it would be impossible to send musicians abroad,""
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