Sinan Bakir: On My Way (2009)
A lot of young artists seem to throw out hard and fast material at the top of their album programs, to instantly grab attention, but the rest of the music often falls flat and doesn't live up to the early-track hype. Guitarist Sinan Bakir goes the other way, easing into his music as On My Way sets sail, preferring to hold all the aces until later in the game.
The title track and, to a greater extent, "Into The Blue" are musically expressive and performed well, but don't really demand attention. While Bakir, bassist Thomson Kneeland and drummer Mark Ferber seem to be more than comfortable in this modest musical area, the music doesn't stay there and the album really starts to take off with "Oddity." Opening as a Ferber-feature that highlights his tom work, Bakir and Kneeland give off a darker vibe when they first join in. Ferber cranks up the intensity as he develops his ideas, and eventually ends up with a more insistent feel, driven by his cymbal work. "Stop N' Go" starts off with a three-chord pattern from Bakir, while Ferber works a funk-tinged rock beat as Bakir solos, with a similarly inclined, repetitious line from Kneeland. Ferber blows off some steam with an impressive solo of his own, and the band chills out after this one, delivering the mellow ballad, "Ice Orbits."
While "Steps" falls into a similar category as the opening tracks, its featherweight Latin underpinnings differentiate it. "Play!," the penultimate performance on the album, is a more overt expression ofBakir's Latin roots, and the Samba-fun(k) from Ferber and Kneeland is fantastic. Bakir's inspired soloing feeds off of the energy coming from his trio mates, with lines possessing laser-like focus.
The material leading up to "Play!" is equally impressive. The spirit of guitarist John Scofield looms large over Bakir's playing, in particular on "Blues for Istanbul" and "Karma," where the entire trio seems to relish the opportunity to cut loose, the music resonating with a great sense of urgency. Kneeland's delivers his strongest solo the album, as he flies through the music with impassioned technique and energy. "Blues For Istanbul" has a cooler demeanor in its DNA, but happens to have one of the hippest feels of any tracks on the album.
This trio outing certainly demonstrates that Sinan Bakir is, indeed, on his way.
Track Listing: On My Way; Into The Blue; Oddity; Stop N' Go; Ice Orbits; Steps; Karma; Evergreen; Blues For Istanbul; Play!; Peace.
Personnel: Sinan Bakir: guitar; Thomson Kneeland: bass; Mark Ferber: drums.
Record Label: Self Produced
Style: Modern Jazz