All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

12

Istanbul Sessions: Istanbul Underground

James Nadal By

Sign in to view read count
A secretive, renaissance saxophonist who travels in a multi-ethnic, trans-cultural dimension, Ilhan Ersahin embodies all aspects of the particular blend of cross-pollinated musical styles he produces. Started in 2002, his New York City club and record label Nublu, established his pioneering reputation, and he continues on a creative tear. Istanbul Sessions was formed in 2008, producing two previous albums, leading to Istanbul Underground.

This ensemble has been playing steadily since their formation, extreme liveliness and cohesion evident from the outset. Ersahin remains factual to his Turkish influences, but weaves them into an innovative blend of rock and dance grooves, sans any electronica. Relying solely on the aggressive bass work of Alp Ersonmez, drummer Turgut Alp Bekoglu, and percussionist Izzet Kizil, Ersahin's saxophone travels from the alleys and catacombs of Istanbul, across the Sea of Marmara, and beyond.

Opening with a mid-eastern pulse, "Falling" cascades through rock and fusion with a reverb laced sax, blasting into the hypnotic trance of "Sariyer." Urban scenes dominate "Londres," an ode to the UK night scene; while "McCoy" travels along dark gypsy back roads, Bekoglu implementing a unique bass strumming technique as an energetic foundation for the sax to wail. The all-night escapade "Sex, Drugs and Jazz," drones into the recesses of the mind; as "Studio 54," shifts into full disco ahead, a nod to the hedonistic club of yesteryear. The late Gato Barbieri is remembered in "Pra Gato," while the polyrhythms of "Tarzanca" invoke the colorful spectrum of Turkish exotica.

The sense of cinematic imagery in this music is very penetrating. There is no resisting the cerebral explorations instigated by the compositions, from wet cobblestone streets, to open air markets, or smoky, seedy clubs. The rock orientation envelopes them in modern modes, but the songs remain primeval and mysterious, as if taken from another era and hurled into the present. This is, as the name implies, underground music, performed with tenacity and purpose, extending to the borders of possibility, where there is no return.

Track Listing: Falling; Sariyer; The Calling; Londres; McCoy; Senin Icin Geldim; Sex, Drugs and Jazz; Studio 54; Pra Gato; 1981; Tarzanca.

Personnel: Ilhan Ersahin: saxophone; Alp Ersonmez: bass; Izzet Kizil: percussion; Turgut Alp Bekoglu: drums.

Title: Istanbul Underground | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Nublu

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Picture in Black and White CD/LP/Track Review
Picture in Black and White
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: October 15, 2018
Read Change In The Air CD/LP/Track Review
Change In The Air
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 15, 2018
Read I Ching CD/LP/Track Review
I Ching
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: October 15, 2018
Read Hidden Details CD/LP/Track Review
Hidden Details
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: October 15, 2018
Read We Are the Orchestra CD/LP/Track Review
We Are the Orchestra
by James Fleming
Published: October 14, 2018
Read Electric Miles CD/LP/Track Review
Electric Miles
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 14, 2018
Read "Rumah Batu" CD/LP/Track Review Rumah Batu
by John Kelman
Published: June 10, 2018
Read "In Transit" CD/LP/Track Review In Transit
by Kris Perdew
Published: November 2, 2017
Read "Is Life Long?" CD/LP/Track Review Is Life Long?
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 19, 2018
Read "Seems Like a Lifetime Ago 1977 - 1980" CD/LP/Track Review Seems Like a Lifetime Ago 1977 - 1980
by John Kelman
Published: November 5, 2017
Read "Live In Europe" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Europe
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: May 16, 2018
Read "Solos" CD/LP/Track Review Solos
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 24, 2018