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Album Review

Fahir Atakoglu: For Love

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Fahir Atakoglu: For Love
Veteran international recording artist Fahir Atakoglu delivers his eighteenth album as leader with the audacious For Love, an album which he proclaims: " ... Is all about love." And he believes "Everything depends on love." A native of Turkey, this Turkish-American artist is an award-winning composer and pianist whose long and distinguished career has included writing for television, films and documentaries. This exceptional recording was purposely designed with a foreign flavor in mind, revealing a varied repertoire that blends musical elements from the Middle East, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Cuba and Brazil.

Expanding Atakoglu's musical palette in a new direction, this session happens to be his first jazz album with vocals playing a pronounced role. He does so by featuring four songbirds from around the world voicing beautiful songs supported by lush background instrumentation with a string section. The pianist assembles an international cast of world-class players presenting a core sextet consisting of Turkish percussionist Mustafa Boztuy, French-Canadian bassist Alain Caron, Brazilian guitarist Romero Lubambo, Cuban-born drummer Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez and American saxophonist Bob Franceschini.

Spanish singer Concha Buika opens the music on the title track voicing the lyrics in Spanish providing an emotional performance with the leader's light finger play on the keys backed up by the violin and the string section making for a superb beginning. The pianist and Turkish fretless guitarist Ugur Varol deliver a beautiful duet on the introduction to "Day by Day," and are later joined by the sextet and featured highlights from the strings as well as Cuban drummer Hernandez. The instrumentals "Ying and Yang," as well as the exotic "Seven Hearts" are definitely two of the many highlights here.

The Turkish fretless guitarist and Atakoglu pair up again on the intro to "About You," while the Brazilian duo of vocalist Luciana Souza and guitarist Lubambo are simply wonderful on the brief bossa nova styled "Coracao Vagabundo-Gypsy Heart." The leader demonstrates his chops on the instrument on "Rhythm of Love-Our Dance," backed up by splendid solos from saxophonist Franceschini and the drummer.

One of the beautiful light moments of the set is certainly the warm and poignant duet of the pianist and guitarist Romero providing yet another terrific piece. Italian singer Letizia Gambi voices the lyrics in Italian on the light ballad "Come Musica," where the songstress reaches with her gorgeous voice. American vocalist Aimée Allen takes center stage on two tracks ("Land and Sea" and the finale piece "Love's Crescendo") but not before the band delivers two other outstanding instrumental tunes with "Hidden Beauty" and "This Too Shall Pass-Bu Da Gecer."

Loaded with exquisite material, delightful vocals and magnificent musicianship, For Love is one of Fahir Atakoglu's most engaging recordings. Compelling, appealing and full of memorable moments sure to be enjoyed often, this is one album worthy of serious attention.

Track Listing

For Love - Por Amor; Day by Day 7:08 Ying and Yang; Seven of Hearts; About You; Coraçao Vagabundo - Gypsy Heart; Rythm of Love - Our Dance; Glow With the Flow - Duet; Come Musica; Hidden Beauty; This Too Shall Pass - Bu Da Gecer; Land and Sea; Love's Crescendo.

Personnel

Fahir Atakoglu: piano; Concha Buika: voice / vocals; Luciana Souza: voice / vocals; Letizia Gambi: voice / vocals; Aimée Allen: voice / vocals.

Album information

Title: For Love | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Far&Here


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