Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sri Hanuraga - To The Universe


Sri Hanuraga is a name that just took me by surprise. His second album, To The Universe which was recorded in Amsterdam, is a Jazz album that deserves some attention and showing that is growing and surviving from the pianist himself. He has been performing Jazz piano from day one in Indonesia as he studied at the age of 17 with Indra Lesmana. He won the first prize at JGTC competition and performed in various Jazz festivals in Indonesia.

When you listen to this second album you can get a feel of the inspirations he has from his instrument from the realms of Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, and Dwiki Dharmawan to name a few. And a few of the center highlights on here, shows how much he is bringing the spirits and influences like a flaming fire that just won’t go away and keeping the smoking flames go for a long time and seeing where it would head into for the years to come.

Opener, Teka-taki is a reminiscent of Thelonious Monk’s Monk’s Quartet as Sri captures Monk’s essence and momentum on the Grand Piano. It reminded me of Well You Needn’t as the band come into play to create the magic with the beats and rhythm as if Sri is a conductor and letting them know when the time comes into hit the right notes on their instruments.

The two tracks Amadeus and Schoenfeld, here Sri brings the sounds of Vince Guaraldi on here. I can imagine Sri doing the score for The Peanuts Movie and staying true to honor both Guaraldi and Peanuts creator Charles M. Schultz. There’s a gentle warmth beauty with a very relaxing classical mid-tempo structure. It’s almost as if you are walking in Central Park and watching the leaves fall to the clean-cut grass as the Autumn is about to begin.

Suwe Ora Jamu starts with a concerto-classical intense piano thump as Sri hums along to the Melody whilst going into a whole new world. Kristijan Karanjncam is going all over the drums as the intense string bass playing in the midsection by Mattia Magatelli as they reach loud climatic finale battle between both the Bass and Drums before Sri comes to calm down with a gentle calming end.

But it’s the three-part suite of Ever Changing that is the center highlight and almost like putting cherry on a hot fudge sundae. The first part starts with Rodrigo Parejo Mateos folky flute improvisation with an ascending beat before Kristijan’s galloping drum section with the cymbals while the second part has an ominous mourning atmosphere for the sun to come down as the flute is crying in the sky for a loss one. But it’s third part that is the real killer.

Sri goes into the sounds of the Canterbury scene with the Fuzz-tone sound from the Rhodes as he channels both Dave Stewart and Mike Ratlege as if the two of the collaborated with each other of The Polite Force-era of Egg working with the Third-era of the Soft Machine. It is a reminiscent as if it was recorded in 1971 with time signatures going off the wall and you can hear between Facelift and A Visit to Newport Hospital.

Released last year on the Indonesian record label De Majors Records and distributed by MoonJune Records. When something from MoonJune comes in for me in the mail, I know something special comes in through my ears when I put it in my portable CD player. 

With To The Universe, it is for me, a mind-blowing and breathtaking Jazz album with a touch of Folk, Classical, and bit of Prog into the mix. Sri brings it and nails it down very, very well. I can’t wait to hear more from Sri Hanuraga. So if you love Hancock, Guaraldi, and Canterbury Prog, this is the real deal!

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