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DEWA BUDJANA

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Indonesia


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Dewa Budjana biography
Dewa BUDJANA is a guitarist and composer from Waikabubak. Influenced by both popular music as the leader and songwriter of the band GIGI and jazz rock from his earlier background, BUDJANA started his solo career in the late 90's after almost 20 years of his musical career.

His earlier band like SQUIRREL was already more inventive in the 80's by relying on BUDJANA's original compositional skills rather than working on covers like most of the other local jazz bands. One of the award winning works in that time was a composition called 'Nusa Damai' which would later become the name of his first solo album. Throughout the 80's he would also work as a session player and with other bands until 1993 when he founded GIGI which has a major success to this day.

Besides being a producer as well, BUDJANA has been working on his solo career that mixes fusion the likes of other known guitarists like John MCLAUGHLIN and Bill FRISSELL with traditional music of Indonesia, making his approach to world fusion experimental but also approachable at the same time.

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Surya NamaskarSurya Namaskar
Moonjune Records 2014
Audio CD$9.97
$9.98 (used)
Hasta KarmaHasta Karma
Moonjune Records 2015
Audio CD$9.87
$14.49 (used)
Joged KahyanganJoged Kahyangan
Moonjune Records 2013
Audio CD$8.99
$5.49 (used)
Dawai In ParadiseDawai In Paradise
Moonjune Records 2013
Audio CD$6.48
$3.27 (used)
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DEWA BUDJANA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Home
2005
3.54 | 10 ratings
Dawai In Paradise
2011
4.16 | 16 ratings
Joged Kahyangan
2013
4.04 | 55 ratings
Surya Namaskar (with Jimmy Johnson & Vinnie Colaiuta)
2014
3.97 | 14 ratings
Hasta Karma
2015

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DEWA BUDJANA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hasta Karma by BUDJANA, DEWA album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.97 | 14 ratings

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Hasta Karma
Dewa Budjana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This is the most recent album from Indonesian guitar icon Dewa Budjana, who has been in this musical scene for long time, creating high quality music with a clear tendency to jazz fusion. Once again under the Moonjune Records label, he released his new child entitled "Hasta Karma" which features six compositions that make a total time of 55 minutes. Here, Budjana chose some top-notch musicians that are featured in the album, so it is a guarantee of bliss to listen to this man with the company of Joe Locke, Ben Williams and the amazing Mexican drummer Antonio Sánchez.

It starts with "Saniscara", and I have to admit, the first thing that caught my attention was the drumming, I am fan of Sanchez, and am happy to see him collaborating with amazing musicians such as Budjana. The music is clearly in the progressive-jazz-fusion vein, guitars are soft and friendly, the bass is delicious, and the addition of vibraphone simply outstanding. The composition is pretty clean, it perfectly flows so one have only to enjoy what is listening to. Another point I love, is that each musician has its moment, so all are equally important.

"Desember" brings a slower track. The first couple of minutes are full of peace, but then they make a pretty interesting change, the mood becomes darker and a bit heavier, and then, Budjana gives an excellent guitar solo while the other guys produce a very cool variety of sounds as background. To be honest, there are moments where the name of Pat Metheny's bands comes to my mind, however, Budjana here adds more power to his solo, which is great. Then, it slows down again, vibes take leadership for a while, and the song flows once again.

"Jayaprana" has that inherent fusion tune and mood, so since the very first seconds it is normal to move the head, enjoy the rhythm while listening to this juicy track. Though this song passes the 8-minute mark, it is so great and friendly that all of a sudden, without noticing, it has already finished. The next one might be the magnum opus of this album. "Ruang Dialisis", a 12-minute epic that as I've read, was dedicated to Budjana's father. This track has a melancholic sound, a slow tempo mood that brings a kind of sad but hopeful atmosphere, it is like remembering good old times, like being in introspection. After four minutes, the music makes a change, and a traditional Indonesian chant appears, it was pre-recorded by his grandma, so this song has a truly personal flavor, that I assume means a lot to the guitar master. The vibes as usual are great, adding that Asian spices. Another change comes after minute 7, a chaotic passage where all seem to become a bit crazy, to lose control, so the atmosphere is a bit tense. Once again I would like to mention the musicians, each and every one of them, make a wonderful job.

The next song is "Just Kidung", and here the first thing I perceived was the piano, which is a new feature in the album, played by Indra Lesmana. The rhythm is just more into jazz fusion ala Metheny, some moments could be linked with the first couple of tracks. I enjoy it, it is sweet. After three minutes the music slows down, they are preparing something new. And it is Ben Williams who delight us with a bass solo for over a minute, and then, we have the luck of listening to a piano solo, so this combo gives nothing but smiles and satisfaction. In this moment, the name of Hiromi came to my mind.

Last but not least is "Payogan Rain", which is a relaxing, chill out track that can be enjoyed for anyone who looks for a peaceful moment. Here the new element is a melodica, played again by Lesmana. The bass sound is sensual, and the soft drums create a pretty sweet sound. Though this is a good track, I must say that to my ears, it is the weakest track of the album, and not my favorite one to finish what would have been a perfect fusion offering.

Dewa Budjana strikes again, he is a majestic composer and player, so a new album from him has to be received with arms and ears wide open. Please give it a listen, buy it and of course, enjoy it!

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 Surya Namaskar (with Jimmy Johnson & Vinnie Colaiuta) by BUDJANA, DEWA album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.04 | 55 ratings

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Surya Namaskar (with Jimmy Johnson & Vinnie Colaiuta)
Dewa Budjana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Indonesian guitarist and composer Dewa BUDJANA is a veteran musician in his home country, with a history as an active artist going back more than a quarter of a century and a two decades long tenure as the guitarist of the still ongoing rock band Gigi. In the last few years his most recent solo productions have been made available through the US label Moonjune Records. "Surya Namaskar" is the most recent among these.

Guitar dominated and guitar driven instrumental jazz rock is the name of the game for Budjana's 2014 solo album "Surya Namaskar", with a general tendency to explore light toned, elegant landscapes with playful tendencies and with occasional dips into territories with something of darker touch to them, albeit without any dramatic tendencies as such. With high quality backing from a tight, jazz and jazz rock oriented bass and drums combination, this is a production that is easy to recommend to fans of jazz rock due to overall style and expression just as much as a high quality performance, mix and production. A solid album through and through.

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 Dawai In Paradise by BUDJANA, DEWA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.54 | 10 ratings

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Dawai In Paradise
Dewa Budjana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars An Indonesian guitarist from Bali, born in 1963.His style was much influenced by jazz guitarists like John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny or John Abercrombie and in 1980 he started his first band Squirell with his schoolmates in Surabaya.Squirell lasted until 1985, when Budjana went to Jakarta to start a career as a session player and became a member of Spirit and Java Jazz.In 1994 Budjana opened a new and long chapter with Gigi, while from late-90's and on he recorded several solo albums.After no less than four personal records he came to the attention of Moonjune Records, which decided to release his fifth work ''Dawai in paradise'', originally launched in 2011 on the Indonesian Demajors label.Budjana plays acoustic, electric and synth guitars and he was helped by a list of 20 mostly native guests, among them were though Dave Carpenter (bass, R.I.P), Howard Levy (harmonica) and Peter Erskine (drums).

This is a beautiful and flexible guitar-led Jazz Fusion album with strong references to Indonesian Music, I wouldn't call it an Ethno-Fusion album by any means, because the ethnic elements are basically supportive, but their display adds a nice personal touch to Budjana's jazzy style of playing.His early influences surface here with some strong chops and solos, while he occasionally dives into melodic themes to deliver a unique listening experience with sensitive touches sitting next to more technical plays.Budjana may be the central hero of the album, but this does not mean you have to always face his accomplishment as a guitarist.Maybe as a composer would be a better expression, because with a good dose of violin, strings and flutes and the omnipresent use of piano and keyboards Budjana came up with inventive Fusion arrangements, ranging from folky parts and acoustic tunes to Electric Jazz and Prog Fusion.Some parts are much inspired by 70's Jazz Fusion and the works of PAT METHENY or BRAND X, other pieces sound closer to Ethno-Fusion with the exhibition of Indonesian Music popping up here and there, offered via some lovely tunes.The album is definitely a grower, but once you get into it, it could become an eveyday listening even for non-casual Prog fans, the deep sense of melody along with the dreamy soundscapes allow Budjana's music to become pretty friendly and enjoyable.

Thanks to the guys of Moonjune be sure to taste a different side of melodic Fusion via Budjana's ''Dawai in paradise''.Indonesian Music meets 70's and modern Jazz Fusion in a respectable way full of interesting ideas.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Joged Kahyangan by BUDJANA, DEWA album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.16 | 16 ratings

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Joged Kahyangan
Dewa Budjana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

4 stars Really nice and smoothy album by Indonesian guitar player Dewa Budjana!

I got used to have Moonjune Records albums in a Jazz Fusion line and this kind of music really don't hold any water for me as I prefer something that was built and something with melody.

For my surprise Joged Kahyangan (2013) is one of this records! Dewa instead of trying to go on full Free Jazz do what you want wrote some really pretty melodies in a more traditional Jazz style, there's even a Vocal Jazz track on the album (As You Leave My Nest) with singer Janis Siegel.

This is the kind of album that is indeed a joy to listen to and you can enjoy it even while reading, but that doesn't make it a 'background music' album as Dewa is a great guitar player and the line up on the album is amazing.

Recommended! Please Moonjune, more of this kind of releases!

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 Joged Kahyangan by BUDJANA, DEWA album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.16 | 16 ratings

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Joged Kahyangan
Dewa Budjana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

4 stars I heard about DEWA BUDJANA this afternoon when I received a copy of Surya Namaskar by the Indonesian guitarist with Jimmy Johnson and Vinnie Colaiuta, but before going with that album , decided to try Joged Kahyangan, because I wanted to listen his own style first, so I went my collection and found this album which I heard a long time ago but didn't remembered well.

The first thing I must say is that Dewa has a more traditional approach unlike other Indonesian players as who prefer to introduce typical instruments like Kendang percussion, as a fact he's well accompanied by competent musicians like Larry Goldings (keyboards), Jimmy Johnson (bass), Bob Mintzer (sax, clarinet, bass clarinet) and drummer Peter Erskine, who support Dewa with dexterity.

The music is soft and pleasant but at the same time complex and elaborate, flowing gently from start to end, but the most interesting feature is the capacity of Dewa to play complex passages in a style that reminds me of icons as John Mc'Laughlin and Pat Metheny with a touch of Tohpati (As in Majik Blue), but also the importance to allow the other musicians to perform lengthy sections in which he keeps away, avoiding over saturation and futile shredding when unnecessary.

It's hard to choose a favorite song, because the album sounds as a complete entity where every piece is like a chapter of a book that only makes sense in the context it was recorded, but idf somebody asks me, I would mention the complex Majik Blue, wghere Dewa shows us his skills with some strong sections, not as frantic as in the magnificent Erskoman where Peter Erskine surprised me with the solid drumming impressively supported by Jimmy Johnson in the bass

But I also was impressed by his capacity to play softer stuff like the incredibly beautiful As you Leave my Nest with Janis Siege in the vocals and Borra's Ballad, a soft piece where Larry Goldings adds some delicate organ touches to enhance the oneiric atmosphere, the perfect closer for a very good album.

Maybe because I was expecting something different, I won't go with the maximum rating, but anything below 4 solid stars, would seem unfair to me.

Now I can review Surya Namaskar, being more familiar with the sound of this talented guitarist and composer.

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 Surya Namaskar (with Jimmy Johnson & Vinnie Colaiuta) by BUDJANA, DEWA album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.04 | 55 ratings

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Surya Namaskar (with Jimmy Johnson & Vinnie Colaiuta)
Dewa Budjana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Budjana is certainly making the most of being involved with a label boss who allows his bands to release material as often as they like, as he is already back with his third album, recorded with Jimmy Johnson and Vinnie Colaiuta. This time around Dewa is showing his harder more frenetic side, with loads of distortion and the use of fuzz. This provides a real edge to the music, but as always he is aware of the need for light and shade to provide the contrast and he often takes the back seat and lets Jimmy provide some well placed fretless bass before continuing back into the melody. There are also plenty of times when he and Jimmy are actually being very restrained, but the driving force that is renowned session drummer Vinni Colaiuta can't keep still for long and provides plenty of force and angst.

Apparently most of the songs on the album are first takes, and although they were mostly charted it appears that Vinnie often didn't follow the charts but stayed with Dewa and Jimmy, while the longest song on the album, "Kalingga" (just over nine minutes) was improvised. The title of the album means "Salute To Sun", which is fitting as many of the songs are homages to various of Budjana's guitar heroes, so "Campuhan Hill" was inspired by Ralph Towner and uses open strings, while "Capistrano Road" relates to his meeting with Allan Holdsworth.

Musically this is just stunning, a fusion masterpiece, and it is all credit to Leo Pavkovic that the packaging stands up to close investigation as the fold out digipak contains an essay by John Kelman about the recording of the album which I would have loved to have copied out and used as the review as it is so well-written. Budjana is making lots of friends in the Western world with his incredible techniques and love of the genre, and I'm sure that it won't be long until he is back with another winner, but until then, if you enjoy fusion, then you will love this. www.moonjune.com

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 Surya Namaskar (with Jimmy Johnson & Vinnie Colaiuta) by BUDJANA, DEWA album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.04 | 55 ratings

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Surya Namaskar (with Jimmy Johnson & Vinnie Colaiuta)
Dewa Budjana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Review originally posted at www.therocktologist.com

It is great when a man builds his own destiny, when his quality and creativity into something bring light to his world, I bet Dewa Budjana is one of those guys who has been working hard, generating an own sound so his music and style has been reaching countries he may have not thought it would reach. Honestly, I was not aware of him, didn't know of his existence until Leonardo from Moonjune kindly let me know about him, and when I saw that Vinnie Colaiuta and Gary Husband participate in this album, I said, man, surely I am missing something, because those monsters play just with other monsters. Now I can say Dewa Budjana is one of them.

The album's title is "Surya Namaskar", recorded in 2013 but released in 2014 via Moonjune Records; it features 8 songs that make a total time of 56 minutes of excellent jazz rock in the progressive vein. It opens with "Fifty", a son where Budjana's electric guitar shows true feelings, true emotions within that excellence and that (in moments) McLaughlin-like tendency. Of course the music is greatly complemented by bass and drums, however, the complexity and outstanding sound created by the guitar pays the ticket.

"Duaji & Guruji" is a wonderful track, the jazz fusion style is present here, purely instrumental music at its finest. I love the dialogue between the instruments, and though guitars and keyboards play practically the same notes, I love that convergence, I love how each one has something to say, besides, the work of drums and percussion, along with the bass, make this a delicious song. "Capistrano Road" is a softer song, not a ballad, but a much slower track. In moments it reminds me of some Focus tunes, I think you wont' let me lie. It was really soon to put this soft song, I expected to continue with the fusion and fast style of the previous tracks, however, it is not a bad movement at all, I simply would have placed it later, after 5 songs maybe.

"Lamboya" has a sound that reminds me of some old glorious acts such as Return to Forever or Weather Report, I assume Budjana listened to them when he was a child. Several figures are offered in this track, with its particular changes, and with the inherent (mandatory) predominant guitar, it is a nice jazzy trip. Later it comes "Kalingga", which happens to be the longest song, passing the 9-minute mark. This song is also one of the highlights of the album, because here he puts different sounds, with guest musicians that play mid-eastern strings, creating a wonderful Arabian-like sound. The jazzy side is lost at least in the first two minutes, then a brief moment with calmer tunes, but right away that mid-east sound returns now with the help of drums, guitar and bass, creating a heavier mood, which would not reach the metal realms, but it touches the boundaries. Additionally, here we can listen to a great voice as background. This is a magnificent track!

"Campuhan Hill" is a shorter track, here we can also appreciate Budjana's kills with the acoustic guitar, which are great of course, but here the success of this particular song is the walk hand with hand with Johnson and Colaiuta, all of them creating a nice communion and spreading a fresh wind of music. The title track comes next, "Surya Namaskar" with almost 8 minutes of nice and delicate jazz rock; the style is truly smooth, so you can close your eyes and enjoy the music, it is catchy, but well-composed, challenging, so it is a great track actually, with delicious bass lines, by the way.

And finally "Dalem Waturenggong" closes this excellent album. Though they never return to the jazz fusion style the offered in the first tracks, here they make a solid song. I love the changes, because there is a moment in which the guitar sounds louder and more aggressive, but seconds later it vanishes and seems a new structure is being built up; then bass notes can be heard over a drums background, and later the musicians interplay and have an instrumental dialogue once again, letting us know that they don't do their job only, because they really enjoy what they are doing.

It is a wonderful album for those who love jazz fusion and virtuoso guitar players, this Indonesian man has talent, and the will to share his music and reach unknown places, as I mentioned in the opener paragraph. I truly suggest his music, so please give this album a spin, you can get it via Moonjune Records.

Enjoy it!

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 Joged Kahyangan by BUDJANA, DEWA album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.16 | 16 ratings

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Joged Kahyangan
Dewa Budjana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Indonesian guitarist and composer Dewa BUDJANA has been active in the Indonesian music scene for more than twenty years by now. He is probably best known for his long tenure in Indonesian rock band Gigi, but has also established a name for himself as a solo artist in the last two decades. "Joged Kahyangan" is his sixth solo production to date, and was released through the US label Moonjune Records in 2013.

Positive and joyful jazz rock with a certain emphasis on jazz is what Dewa Budjana brings to the table on "Joged Kahyangan", an uplifting ride through eight compositions carefully exploring a joyful mood and atmosphere in smooth, elegant arrangements. Those fond of the softer side of jazz rock should be a prime audience for this production, an album to take note of if subtle but jubilant instrumental jazz rock sounds like an interesting prospect to spend some time investigating.

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 Joged Kahyangan by BUDJANA, DEWA album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.16 | 16 ratings

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Joged Kahyangan
Dewa Budjana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars This is Dewa's sixth solo album to date, and while he may well be a bona fide pop star in his home country with his band Gigi selling millions of records, he is still relatively unknown outside of his native Indonesia. With this, his second album for the international label Moonjune, surely that will soon change. The album title translates to 'Dances of Heaven', and if you are at all interested in jazz fusion that is the place to which you will be transported when listening to this. On this album he has been joined by Larry Goldings (organ, piano), Bob Mintzer (tenor and soprano sax, clarinet, bass clarinet), Jimmy Johnson (bass) and Peter Erskine (drums) as well as singer Janis Siegel guesting on the one number with vocals.

The musicians didn't see Budjana's charts until the day of the recording, and the first take was the only rehearsal they had with the second or third take ending up on the album. Recorded in just a single day, this is pretty much a full live recording, which makes it even more incredible. Dewa has strong understanding of the use of space and harmony, as well as dischord, and combines all the elements to make an album that takes the listener by the hand as opposed to bashing them over the head. There are whole passages where Dewa is notable by his absence, letting the rest of the guys take his music on a journey and he joins in with wonderfully fluid Metheny/McLaughlin style at just the right moment. It is a wonderfully restful album, one where time and space disappears and is replaced instead by a world filled with harmony, delicacy, and restrained power. Every piece is a classic in it's own right, while the restraint of everyone involved in the vocal 'As You Leave My Nest' is superb.

The digipak opens up to provide three pages of notes, written by John Kelman, which definitely add to the overall experience. This is an essential album to anyone who enjoys wonderful music, whatever the genre. www.moonjune.com

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 Dawai In Paradise by BUDJANA, DEWA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.54 | 10 ratings

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Dawai In Paradise
Dewa Budjana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Indonesian guitarist and composer Dewa BUDJANA has been active in the Indonesian music scene since the early 80's, arguably best know for his long tenure in the Indonesian rock band Gigi. But besides his accomplishments in this more mainstream oriented band he's been an active solo artist since the mid 90's. "Dawai in Paradis" is the fifth of his six solo albums, originally released back in 2011 and reissued by the US label Moonjune Records in 2013.

Dewa Budjana's fifth solo album "Dawai in Paradise" resides somewhere in the borderlands between world music, accessible jazz-fusion and mainstream-oriented jazz rock. Strong and distinct melodies, smooth arrangements with soft edges with high quality performance by the instrumentalists involved are defining traits. A high quality production where a possible key audience would be those who enjoy world music alongside accessible varieties of jazz, jazz rock and fusion.

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Thanks to historian9 for the artist addition.

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