(2-CD set) Indonesian keyboard star Dwiki Dharmawan returns, following his 2015 MoonJune debut So Far, So Close, with the even more ambitious Pasar Klewer - a vibrant, acoustic piano-driven two-CD set featuring the cream of Britain's younger expat crop, blending with Indonesian musicians, to create a seamless cultural cross-pollination.
Bassist Yaron Stavi and drummer/percussionist Asaf Sirkis form the core trio with Dharmawan, while reed multi-instrumentalist Gilad Atzmon, Gamelan virtuoso Aris Daryono and guitarists Nicolas Meier and Mark Wingfield all contribute significantly to several tracks. Italian singer Boris Savoldelli also guests on two tunes, including a reinvention of Robert Wyatt's "Forest," while the Jess Jegog Gamelan Orchestra and singer Peni Candrarini bring cultural verisimilitude to Dharmawan's rearrangement of the traditional "Lir Ilir."
MoonJune Records' Leonardo Pavkovic describes Dharmawan as "one of Indonesia's most prominent musicians; a cultural icon in his homeland and accomplished pianist, keyboardist, composer, arranger, performer and peace activist. A true cultural ambassador of his beloved country, Dwiki has forged a very successful thirty-plus year career,"
"Indonesia is the place of 'ultimate diversity,'" Dharmawan says. "Here, the urban cultures accelerate the 'acculturation' process, which generates changes in cultural patterns and creates new forms of musical expression. Pasar Klewer is the answer to my search for 'the difference,' and also a valuable answer to our modern crises and urban uprooting. The album's distinctive sound originates from an ancient Gamelan tonal system called Salendro. I also adapted other musical elements from all over the Indonesian archipelago, as well as the western diatonic system."
Its overall freedom may surprise fans of the more easily digestible So Far, So Close...though that's not to suggest Pasar Klewar is lacking in eminent appeal. "Interaction with each other is very important, as each musician contributes an energy that then coalesces into an explosion of energy together," enthuses Dharmawan. "So Far, So Close represented my musical passion as a young, growing musician; now I feel more mature in exploring my musical inspirations...what I think will be a never-ending journey."
Very good news for those fortunate enough to be hearing this remarkable Indonesian artist. If there's any justice, the name Dwiki Dharmawan will soon be on the lips of jazz fans around the world, and Pasar Klewar the album that turned this Indonesian star into an internationally renowned jazz figure.