Sven B. Schreiber
Hard to believe, but true - I still don't have all of Dewa Budjana's albums in my collection... So today, exactly on his 56th birthday, it's time for this excellent fusion album, where Dewa Budjana and Jimmy Johnson are fighting some nifty axe duels on guitar and (sometimes fretless) bass. Happy birthday, and thanks for the great gift!
Favorite track: Surya Namaskar.
Dewa Budjana, Indonesian iconic guitar legend of Balinese ethnic heritage, is releasing his 3rd album (his 7th solo effort on his parallel jazz-fusion career) on MoonJune Records; the New York City's independent label of progressive music that explores boundaries of jazz, rock, avant-garde, ethno & the unknown, run by its cosmopolitan honcho and executive producer Leonardo Pavkovic.
Recorded in Los Angeles by the world renowned engineer Robert Feist (who recorded Stevie Nicks, Anita Baker, 8 albums of Allan Holdsworth, among many others) during two sessions in January and October of 2013, Surya Namaskar (Salute to the Sun, in Budjana's native Balinese language) represents a significant change from Dewa Budjana's last album Joged Kahyangan. While bassist Jimmy Johnson (Allan Holdsworth, James Taylor, Flim & the BB's) is back from that session, this time the drummer is the much in-demand powerhouse Vinnie Colaiuta (Frank Zappa, Herbie Hancock, Jeff Beck, Sting), with ubiquitous guitar session ace Michael Landau (James Taylor, Renegade Creation, Joni Mitchell) and drummer turned keyboardist Gary Husband (John McLaughlin, Allan Holdsworth, Jack Bruce) making valuable guest appearances on one track each.
Full of twists and turns you could never see coming, Surya Namaskar provides ample evidence that the Balinese guitarist is just as much at home in moments of pure spontaneity, ripping over a killer groove, as he is in denser, more orchestrated settings. Exploring previously-unrevealed facets of his artistic mystique, this album highlights a more instinctive, uninhibited approach to both his guitar playing and music making. Served up just-out-of-the-oven fresh and delivered with conviction and urgency, each song is its own unique, engulfing cosmic voyage.
The sum total of Surya Namaskar is most definitely greater than its individual – monstrously talented – parts. Together with his two previous MoonJune recordings - Dawai in Paradise (January, 2013) and Joged Kahyangan (October, 2013) - Surya Namaskar paints the ongoing portrait of a guitarist who may be a superstar in the Indonesian pop-rock world as a founding member of the multi-million selling Gigi (one of the most prolific bands in Indonesian history, with 24 releases to their name, celebrating this year their 20th anniversary with their 25th album Live at Abbey Road, in which Budjana is the main composer and author of many hits), but whose lesser-known credibility and, more importantly, visibility as a jazz and fusion guitarist is slowly on the ascendance, as more and more international progressive music fans discover the depth, the heart, and the profound spirituality of Dewa Budjana, at fifty a new guitar hero of strength, creativity and significance.
In January 2014, Dewa Budjana has recorded in New York City material for another studio album to be released by MoonJune, in October 2014, featuring Antonio Sanchez on drums, Ben Williams on upright bass (both recording and touring with Pat Metheny) and Joe Locke on vibraphone.
“Thank you Dewa for inviting us along for your TRIP, your music is from Jupiter, truly unusual!” – Jimmy Johnson
“Dewa Budjana’s music infuses jazz fusion with renewed vigor, and his wonderfully imaginative and melodic guitar playing pays homage to past masters, while simultaneously providing fresh perspectives.” – Barry Cleveland, Guitar Player
“A monstrously heavy record! Dewa Budjana, at fifty, is a new guitar hero of strength, creativity, and significance." – John Kelman, All About Jazz contributor
“East meets West and ignites the sky! Dewa Budjana’s latest, a collaboration with jazz giants Jimmy Johnson and Vinnie Colaiuta, elevates guitar-based jazz-fusion with a Balinese flare to new plateaus of nirvana... Mahavishnu, move over: there’s a new master on the block!” – Raymond Benson, music journalist and author of 'The Black Stiletto' and six James Bond novels
“Surya Namaskar, the latest sonic blast from Indonesian guitar master Dewa Budjana, is global in its scope, universal in its appeal … Bolstered by some of the greatest musicians on the planet, Surya Namaskar is one for the record books, – a jazz-rock masterpiece of planetary proportions.” – Will Romano, music journalist and author of 'Mountains Come Out Of The Sky' and 'Big Boss Man: The Life and Music of Bluesman Jimmy Reed'
“Hauntingly beautiful and intense, I was moved. No progressive fusion release got me on its first listen since Pat Metheny Group's 2005 'The Way Up'. Destined to be my 2014 favorite album.” – Tom Gagliardi, Gagliarchives Radio
released March 15, 2014
DEWA BUDJANA electric and acoustic guitars
JIMMY JOHNSON bass guitar
VINNIE COLAIUTA drums
with special guests
GARY HUSBAND synthesizers (track 1)
MICHAEL LANDAU electric guitar solos (track 7)
MANG AYI vocals (track 5)
KANG PUPUNG Tarawangsa (Sundanese violin) (track 5)
KANG IYA Kacapi (Sundanese harp) (track 5)
('crazy" voices after the Track 1 by Jimmy Johnson and Vinnie Colaiuta)
All compositions and arrangement Dewa Budjana.
Produced by Dewa Budjana.
Executive producer IGN Bagus Wijaya Santosa on behalf Dewa Budjana's Museum Gitarku, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
Dwiki Dharmawan's brand new album (2018). Drawing from both his extensive jazz influences and his rich cultural heritage, the Indonesian piano maestro delivers yet another spellbinding masterwork! Dewa Budjana