Back to the beach, this time on the more populated south coast. Get a whiff of fresh sea air, and visit the sea turtles at the beach-side rescue center in Sanur.
I actually lived in Sanur for a few months, before I decided that Thailand was a better place to retire (or at least, to find a mate!) So before we came, I looked up some old contacts, people I used to play jazz with. What luck! They have a new club, a tiny cafe designed for the low-key jazz performances that I love. I make sure that I can come for their Thursday jam sessions.
The boss is jazz guitar master Yuri Mahatma, and the jam sessions are hosted by his partner, the brilliant pianist Astrid Sulaiman. Astrid is kind enough to give me a seat fronting her trio for a couple of tunes.
That was my first try here–the support from the rhythm section is impeccable (Indra Gupta on bass, I don’t know the name of the drummer), but the messed-up action of the old piano makes it sound like I’m stumbling at times, and deters me from trying a fancier song or more ornate solo.
Another outing, with a different drummer—I like being able to give the drummer a nice long solo
I also got to play behind a couple of good singers, along with a bunch of other guest soloists. I’m very impressed with the quality of musicianship here. In Chiang Mai, I’m hard pressed to find musicians who have the same respect for the jazz tradition and who can also approach it with a creative spirit, and swing—like these ladies:
Of course, there is much more to Sanur than the jazz scene. We end up not spending much time on the beach, but there is fine food, crafts stores (similar to Ubud, but now we are better prepared to bargain), where we can’t resist adding this Sarasvati carving to our home collection
Finally, a purely serendipitous discovery: a Gamelan orchestra, rehearsing in an old temple right around the corner from our hotel!
(street view of the temple at the top of this post)
I’ve heard a lot of gamelans in Bali, but this was extraordinary, for two reasons. First, they usually play outdoors (at least for the tourist public), and the sound inside this fabulously resonant room is a whole different world of intensity and magic. Plus, this is an unusually large orchestra. It reminds me of my marvelous experience in Jogjakarta, hearing the Sultan’s private orchestra rehearsing, so much more meaningful than the performances available to tourists. Pure luck that I heard them from the street and was able to sneak a peek (but not, of course, enter the temple uninvited)
Sanur is also the launching spot for our next destination–coming up