DEWA BUDJANA & TOHPATI
(2019 - POS Entertainment - Indonesia)
The live show alone will be enough to blow jazz fusion lovers out of their seat. This studio album is the next best thing, allowing one to play on a high end system and catch an aural festival full of fiery fusion and also gentle all instrumental ballad, backed with full orchestra. While the live show has a good deal of talking, you can relieve yourself of that with this CD. But do not miss the link provided above to see the live performance, with dancers, and a delight to the eyes and ears.
The disc starts off with a blitz of orchestra and then the two accomplished Indonesian guitarists (Dewa Budjana - guitars/ and Tohpati - guitars) backed by : Adhitya Pratama - bass/ Demas Narawangsa - drums, and not only The Czech Symphony Orchestra, but also Budapest Scoring Orchestra. I actually found the studio version to have a few more forceful moments, and some more biting drum parts. The balance of killer jazz fusion (Holdsworth style at times) and beautiful ballads ('Rainy Days' is a tearful one) is exquisite. Some of it reminds of me an old classic, in fact a favorite of mine from Jan Akkerman and Claus Ogerman called 'Aranjuez', that had this same richness and partly aching beauty.
There is nary a lost moment of outstanding music here. The orchestras are powerful enough on their own, and to pillow this band of two of the finest guitarists on the planet with those two ensembles, results in an undeniable masterpiece. There are an equal amount of compositions by Budjana and Tohpati individually, and in union as well. From the liquid power jazz ('D Romance') to classical delight ('Samudera Pasai', for example), it is a perfect storm. I love the symphonic muscle which propels even the delicate songs to skyward heights, and gives turbulence to the already powerful ones. There are many moments of grandiose pomp, and the breathtaking aura that is created almost escapes description. 'Duology' (a co-written piece) has a partly Crimson flavor,but solid in the rock n' roll world, and develops into the more dueling guitars composition on the album, minus any orchestra.
I'd love to own a DVD of the live show, but the studio disc will suffice and easily has become a favorite of the year for me. I am familiar with most all of the output by both these artists, and in fact own those. I know the skill level of each, and expected nothing short of greatness from 'Janapati'. This is one of the finest mixes of orchestra and classical/jazz/rock I have ever heard, and I began loving those different fusions of rock and classical since the early 70's of Deep Purple's 'April', Uriah Heep's 'Salisbury', and even earlier, the song 'Love Is Blue'. Many decades later, and hundreds of albums in my collection of these type collectives, I am happy to add this one to my library. So beautiful, so worth your time, and so wonderful, it begins to feel as if I need more adjectives, but just go buy it for yourself. FULLY AND TOTALLY RECOMMENDED!
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 12 - 20 - 2019