Dated February 17, 2012 , I read an article that Bubi Chen has died at the age of 74 years because of diabetes melitus in Telogorejo hospital in Semarang, Central Java.
He was wellknown as a jazz maestro, even regarded as one of jazz ancestors in Indonesia. Beside a pianist, he was also an arranger. As far as I know, he usually play mainstream like swing. During his lifetime he received several awards as a musician.
He began his career in music with learning classic piano. He rearranged some classic compositions from Beethoven, Chopin and Mozart into jazz. After that, he began to study jazz by himself beside took a course. His teacher was Teddy Wilson.
Bubi Chen founded a group named “The Circle” with Maryono (saxophone), F.X. Boy (bongo), Zainal (bass), Tri Wijayanto (gitar) and Koes Syamsudin (drum). With Jack Lesmana, Maryono, Kiboud Maulana, Benny Mustapha and his brother Jopie Chen, he also joined “Indonesian All Stars”. ” Indonesian All Stars” ever performed in Berlin Jazz Festival in 1967. After that, they made a record , “Djanger Bali” with Tony Scott.
In 1959, with Jack Lesmana, he made a record in Lokananta titled “Bubi Chen with Strings”. The reocrd ever broadcasted by “Voice of America” and discussed by a famous US jazz critic in 1960. He called him as “The Best Pianist of Asia”. He ever founded “Chen Trio” with his brother Jopie and Teddy Chen in 1950’s. In the same year he also joined “Jack Lesmana Quartet” which changed name into “Jack Lesmana Quintet”.
In the middle of 1976, Bubi released a record titled “Kau dan Aku”, with Jack Lesmana, Benny Likumahuwa, Hasan, and Embong Rahardjo. In 1984, with jazz musicians like John Heard, Albert Heath, and Paul Langosh, he made a record titled “Bubi di Amerika” in America and was circulated in Indonesia. He still released many more records after that.
In 2004, Bubi Chen received “Satya Lencana” award for his dedication in art from the former president Megawati. One year later, in 2005, in Java Jazz Festival, Peter F. Gontha gave him an award as “Jazz Living Legend” musician for the first time. Bubi Chen also received Life Achievement Award from the governor of East Java, regarded of introducing Surabaya to internasional world through jazz during “Wismilak The Legend of Jazz” in the early of 2010.
He was not just an Indonesian jazz artist, but he was an international jazz artist. We as jazz lovers surely miss him. This brief biography was adapted from Wikipedia. If you want to know more details about him, here is the link http://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubi_Chen