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5 Minutes With Idang Rasjidi

Why No Black Tie?

No Black Tie is well-known musical place. A value place. Why No Black Tie? This is the best to play because the acoustic is very, very professional. Evelyn Hii’s approach is very warm and personal. Evelyn knows me through Lewis Pragasam, so she called me. We didn’t talk about money nothing, I just said ‘Ok, I’ll go with you.’ It was about trust. Every night we’ve played here it has been beautiful. This place has soul. It’s the same in the other places I’ve played — Osaka Blue Note, Tokyo Blue Note.

Have you played in other places in KL?

It was a longtime ago. The place has even closed down. It was the River Bank club in 1982 or something. It was a longtime ago.

Who are you listening to?

Since 1963 I’ve always listened to Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, Keith Jarrett, Ahmad Jamal. Ahmad Jamal is one of the greatest jazz pianists in the world.

Which jazz pianist inspires you?

I think Miles Davis. Miles’ music influences all genres.

You said something interesting to the students [during NBT’s first free jazz workshop]. You said don’t play like anyone else, just be yourself and play from the heart. Can you describe Idang Rasjidi’s style?

This is a naughty question! Some of the greatest music critics in Asia and Europe, say the way Idang Rasjidi plays is unique – very percussive. I don’t know who they are. But for me it is a compliment of course.

The young people say I influence them. It’s very important to be ourselves because jazz is very personal. Jazz represents yourself. When you watch me play, you’re watching Idang Rasjidi’s music. When Joe Zawinul of ‘Weather Report’ plays, I am watching Joe Zawinul’s music.

Some people like to describe my style. But it is difficult to describe. Improvisation is difficult to describe. You have to just feel it. When I play music, I feel what I play and I play what I feel. Each player has their own strength, characteristic and personality. The young people need to see the different “colour” of each player.

What is your opinion of the KL audience?

KL audience is fantastic. They know how to appreciate the music in front of them. That’s very important. I want to play here again! The young people are so energetic.

ldang Rasjidi facilitated a staple jazz workshop (To Know and Feel Even Better About Jazz) at NBT on 22 November 2009.

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