Djanger Bali

Djanger Bali is a hybrid jazz album performed by American jazz clarinetist Tony Scott with a group of Indonesian jazz musicians, the Indonesian All-Stars. The group consisted of Jack Lesmana, Bubi Chen, Benny Mustafa, Maryono, Kiboud Maulana, and Jopie Chen. They are the ones who would later become the jazz legends in Indonesia. The music presented in Djanger Bali is a combination of jazz with traditional Indonesian music.

In the beginning, Suyoso Karyoso, owner of the Irama Records label and brother-in-law of Jack Lesmana, was running an aviation business, which also involved some influential international profiles. Suyoso himself was once a member of PETA – Pembela Tanah Air, and pilot of the Indonesian Air Force. Being in a good circle, Suyoso was also in network with artists and musicians, including Tony Scott. In the early-1960s, Tony once performed with the Indonesian All-Stars on the same stage.

In the mid-1960s, Joachim-Ernst Berendt, a West-German journalist, invited Tony and the Indonesian All-Stars to perform at the 1967 Berlin Jazz Festival in Berlin, Germany. Suyoso invited Jack Lesmana, Bubi Chen, Benny Mustafa, Maryono, Kiboud Maulana, and Jopie Chen to have dinner with Tony Scott at his house. During the dinner, Tony told the Indonesian All-Stars if they are interested in performing at the Berlin Jazz Festival, they had to offer something different. They accepted the challenge from Tony.

The group did some workshops and rehearsals at Suyoso’s house for a year until finally they managed to produce Djanger Bali, an experimental album that combines jazz with Indonesian traditional music. The album was recorded in a studio in West Germany and produced by Joachim for Saba Records. They then performed Djanger Bali in its entirety at the Berlin Jazz Festival on 27 and 28 October 1967 (the festival was headlined by world jazz legends such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Herbie Hancock).

Some of the songs contained in the Djanger Bali album are Javanese traditional songs, such as Gambang Suling and Lir Ilir, while Burung Kakak Tua is a folk song originated from Maluku – all are rearranged with jazz style in mind. The opening song for the album, entitled Djanger Bali, features the pentatonic notation of Bubi Chen’s piano playing in the intro. Two other songs on this album, swing compositions, Mahike from “Katz und Maus” and Summertime, were performed with a touch of traditional Indonesian karawitan style.

Djanger Bali preceded Guruh Gipsy as the first Indonesian-international fusion album by nearly a decade.