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Başak Yavuz: Promised Lands

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Vocalist and composer Başak Yavuz is intense. The lyrics of "Promised Lands" state that "someone told me to release the animal," which is exactly she and her band do. Drums and electric bass propel a free jazz-like feel with tinges of James Brown, while the guitar and voice open by harmonizing a tight, descending harmony that sounds like "Chopsticks" gone awry. Yavuz's voice is elastic; her lyrics, evocative. When all this is combined, her music is attention-grabbing and catchy. Based in Turkey and schooled in New York City (her doctorate analyzed the influence of 20th-century music theory on John Coltrane), Yavuz has fashioned a repertoire that is full of surprises. Listening beyond "Promised Lands" on her album RAUM 610 uncovers treats ranging from processed voices to odd time signatures, love songs, Brazilian rhythms, and inventive guitar playing at times reminiscent of The Police.

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Scott Lichtman Contact Scott Lichtman on All About Jazz.
Jazz/fusion keyboardist & autograph collector in Stamford CT.


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