Featuring eight exquisitely-crafted, -arranged and -executed gems, Budjana and friends have raised the bar for the genre; each song is performed with a profound sensitivity and diction unquestionably worthy of the project's lofty ambitions. The scope of this album is reflected in the album's liner notes, from quotes from the Bali native, himself:
Kahyangan is the Indonesian word for heaven." Naturally, it is believed to be a place of great beauty. (... and, for me, Indonesia is Kahyangan!) This album, Joged Kahyangan ("Dances of Heaven"), is my musical interpretation of this beauty; it is a music that is shaped by my native cultural roots."
My vision for this album was to collaborate with some renowned musicians in the US, whose work I have long admired, and capture their spontaneous interpretations of these songs, heavy with jazz flavorings and nuance — incorporating their cultural roots."
Fusing elements of Dewa's Indonesian roots with advanced melodic and harmonic sensibilities and subtle-yet-sophisticated, organic arrangements, Joged Kahyangan, once again, showcases the multifaceted character of his extraordinary talents as a composer and arranger, as well as a world-class guitarist [as did his previous album (his fifth solo album and MJR debut), this year's magnificent Dawai In Paradise (MJR051)]. The album finds all of its legendary participants in exceptional form, with understatement and reverence of the moment clearly trumping any thought of flaunting chops. (... and this is a collection of superlative, articulate musicians who clearly have huge respective vocabularies from which to draw.)
Joged Kahyangan solidifies Dewa Budjana's rightful place among the world's most elite musicians and the genre's most original and compelling newly-emerging voices. It is an intricately-woven tapestry of supreme modern jazz, eclipsing borders as it transports listeners to truly heavenly destinations.
This is an album not to be missed for any fans of modern jazz, progressive and world music ... it simply doesn't get any better.