Vanessa Williams dazzled Java Jazz Festival crowd in Jakarta on Friday (02/03). (Photo courtesy of Dina Fitriana)

From Pop to Jazz, From Heartfelt to Energetic: Java Jazz Festival

MARCH 05, 2018

Jakarta. Java Jazz Festival returned for its 14th edition in Jakarta on Friday (02/03) with local and international pop and jazz artists in its line-up, including a band made up of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's ministers.

The cavernous JIEXPO hall in Kemayoran, East Jakarta, was half empty when the festival started on Friday evening but the crowd doubled as the night unfolded.

Several technical issues hampered the opening night but all the performances went on as planned.

Both local and international artists performed on the first day of the festival, including Elek Yo Band, a joke band made up of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo’s cabinet ministers.

Elek Yo Band, fronted by Finance Minister Sri Mulyani, second from left, performed at Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta on Friday (02/03). (Antara Photo/Aprillio Akbar)

The band features Transportation Minister Budi Sumadi, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Creative Economy Agency head Triawan Munaf, Public Works Minister Basuki Hadimuljono, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani and Presidential Chief of Staff Teten Masduki.

They ended up sharing the stage with folk pop duo Endah N Resha, delivering their raw takes on Indonesian Top 40 hits.

The band's frontwoman, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani, got the most cheers from the crowd when she asked them to sing along with her Iwan Fals’ classic anti-corruption anthem, "Bento."

Pop singer Glenn Fredly also delivered a set of cover songs, mostly of Indonesian rock band Slank’s biggest hits, at the Garuda Indonesia stage.

Glenn dedicated his performance to the band that had just celebrated their 30th year in the local music industry. "Thank you for always inspiring me," Glenn said in the middle of his performance.

Jazz, and More Than a Bit of Pop

On another stage, 77-year-old jazz legend Dionne Warwick raised the roof at the festival with her classic hits, including "Prayer," "Never Love" and "99 Times."

"It’s good to be back here once again with you," she said. "Let me take you down memory lane, feel free to have a great time."

The audience gave her a standing ovation after she sang the crowd-pleaser "That’s What Friend’s Are For."

Pop legend Vanessa Williams closed the first night of the festival on the BNI Hall stage.

Looking elegant and glamorous in a red nightgown, Vanessa sang her hit songs from the 1990s and a medley of Broadway songs including Stephen Sondheim’s "Losing My Mind" from the Broadway hit "Follies."

Williams ended her performance with a heartfelt rendition of her '90s ballad mega hit, "Save The Best For Last."