Grammy Award nominee Jason Mraz kicked off the three-day Java Jazz Festival with an enthusiastic and stylish performance at the Jakarta Convention Center on Friday. Mraz began his world-class performance by singing the host's national anthem, Indonesia Raya, along with 2005 Indonesian Idol winner Mike Mohede.
“Apa kabar [how are you] Jakarta?” Mraz shouted in the middle of his romantic number Make It Mine. “Hug those beside you!” he said, as he was cheered on by laughter from the audience, comprised of mostly young people. Making some of his pop tunes a bit jazzy, Mraz surprised the audience with a duet with Indonesian indie jazz singer Dira. They sang the American's single Lucky.
Witnessed by Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Mraz wrapped up his show at 8 p.m. with his hit Butterfly. For Kalla, the annual event is an effective way to boost the country's image globally.
“Java Jazz has been the largest jazz festival worldwide, granting a good image of Indonesia,” he said during a press conference. “It has helped boost the image of Indonesia in the world, both in security affairs and economics". "The government financially assists the Java Jazz for the first time by handing over Rp 300 million through the Trade Ministry and Rp 350 million through the Culture and Tourism Ministry," Kalla said.
Another world class performance was given by four-time Grammy Award winner Diane Reeves an hour later. “This is her first time performing here."
Even after 9 p.m., the jazzy mood hung in the air at the festival.
Santana’s vocalist Alex Ligertwood swung the stage with New York-based keyboardist David Garfield. They entertained the audience for more than one-hour, greeted by applause from the excited audience.
Despite the high enthusiasm from fans — who were willing to pay Rp 350,000 (US$29) for a full-day performance, excluding special shows by Mraz, Reeves, Matt Bianco, Brian McKnight, Laura Fygi and Swing Out Sisters — the festival was still unable to create much noise about its eco-friendly programs including the “zero waste event” and “bike to Java Jazz”. The "bike to Java Jazz" definitely did not work, with a long que of cars creating jam in the area surrounding the venue.
Saturday's performances will begin at 2 p.m. with Mraz slated to perform at 6 p.m., followed by Fygi at 9.30 p.m. and Matt Bianco at 11:00 p.m.
Music lovers in the city should not miss the chance to enjoy a world class event.