Dewa Budjana is as technically proficient as he is artistically gifted!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Dewa Budjana has released his sixth solo album. Joged Kahyangan is an ambitious and somewhat conceptual release that is his artistic interpretation of the word "heaven." A fusion of his cultural DNA collides with a straight ahead fusion presentation to unleash a recording of intimacy and harmonic movement that may just have Joged Kahyangan as a serious contender for modern jazz recording of the year, and it's only February!
Joining Dewa we have modern jazz heavyweights Larry Golding, Bob Mintzer and Peter Erskine that bring their unique contemporary talents to the talent to form a lyrical bond with Dewa that marries each artistic vision into a global fusion of pristine execution and inspired compositional development. There is a spontaneity of chemistry, egos would seem to have been checked at the door as a more traditional working band sound takes center stage. One of the more impressive accomplishments here would be that Joged Kahyangan was recorded in one day with the vast majority of what you hear only a second or third take, this is where the release takes off.
There is a strong emotive quality to the tunes, intimate yet inspiring with a profound lyrical sense of purpose. A deft touch that embodies the preceison of a surgeon, Dewa Budjana has just taken a giant step up in weight class and his artistic stock may be as one of the fastest rising guitarists over the last decade. Janis Siegel provides the vocals for "As You Leave My Nest" which is a fine tune yet slightly out of place here but with no real harm done.
Critics and the music industry live to place square pegs in round holes with abject labeling designed only to "help" the listener "find" the music. Contemporary global fusion might be close but labels are for cans of soup. Joged Kahyangan is wildly inventive and cuts a wide melodic path for others to follow. A stealth recording that should surprise a great many people!
Tracks: Foggy Cloud; Joged Kahyangan; Dang Hyang Story; As You Leave My Nest; Majik Blue; Erskoman; Guru Mandala; Borra's Ballad.
Personnel: Dewa Budjana: Guitar; Larry Goldings: Acoustic Piano, Hammond Organ; Bob Mintzer: Tenor and Soprano Sax, Clarinet; Jimmy Johnson: Bass Guitar; Peter Erskine: Drums; Janis Siegel: Vocals (4).