Groups of musician insert a few elements of surprise in their shows to entice the increasingly discerning audience. They offer something different, but anticipated. Surely no one can’t blame them for trying.
Playing on the stage with a dark backdrop and under dimmed fixated lightings in Usmar Ismail Hall, Jakarta, Tuesday night, one would forgo the thought of visual spectacle that night and expect the most in auditory treats from evolving jazz of Italia and Middle East.
And then four of them came out of the main hall entrance instead of the backstage. They love to foray into the aisles and trigger the audience’s participation. As if one time seemed not enough, they reserved the energy for three more mood-rekindling rounds.
Seeing the taciturn audience before them, the band’s bearded front man, Carlo Actis Dato, who have played musical instrument since childhood, a similar case to the rest members, forcibly shouted at anyone seating in front of him to sing from the guts, dragged women to stomp their feet and dance alongside him.
Their choreography involved changing costumes and disassembling saxophone. All of this was done without losing the tempo, and the music never stopped playing.
If dedication is any indication, then Actis Dato Quartet is one of the most professional contemporary musicians of the world.
Their background in music can be stretched back into the very early formative years. Some of them were born into the family who either made a living from concert to concert or took music education seriously.
Their venture into jazz took considerable amount of effort and patience, rather than simply based on binding spontaneity overnight. They carefully thought of how to make a performance that as thrilling as their music.
They present themselves in an amusing way. Song selection fit into this disposition. The result on the stage was not at all an experiment, but a concerted effort to make a lasting impression.
Overshadowed by the comical gestures and laughters, they posed a warning about the commonly neglected notion, that the most important thing in music is to make incomprehensible tone and rhythm of a different part of the world entertaining to people.
As is the case with the term happiness, music is far beyond absolute definition, such as good melody or harmony. On top of that, music should make you feel good.