This week’s Blindfold guest is pianist and composer Baturay Yarkın. Yarkın was born to a musician family. He enrolled in the half time piano department of Istanbul Univerity’s State Conservatoire at an early age. He prepared for European Young Pianists Competition with his teacher Meral Yapalı and placed third in the competition which took place in Bitola, Macedonia.
Yarkın later on joined Türk Ritim Grubu and gave concerts locally and internationally with musicians such as Ara Dinkjian with his family. The musician played tango music in Şevval Sam’s Tango album, Leo Vervelde’s tango orchestra OTRA and Tangesta Band, and later on enrolled in Bahçeşehir University’s Jazz Certificate Program. He continued with his studies on jazz through attending workshops lead by musicians like Eric Alexander and Greg Osby, as well as working with Şenova Ülker, Önder Focan, Ferit Odman and Sibel Köse in Turkey. He found the opportunity to work with world famous musicians such as Sandeep Das and Shane Shanahan in the 3rd Global Musician Workshop in Indianapolis, which he received a scholarship from, organized by Silk Road Ensemble founded by Yo-Yo Ma. He gave a workshop on Turkish Music in Berklee College of Music as Yarkın Duo with his sister Nağme Yarkın. He has four albums called Su, One, Blue Love and Anadolu’nun Renkleri. Baturay Yarkın is excited to release Quintessence, an album by Yarkın Duo, on the 3rd of July. The album features piano and kemençe (a traditional string instrument from the Black Sea region). Yarkın is an industrial engineer and music instructor. He evaluates pieces according to the style of composers’ arrangements, the rhythms they use and their touch, drawing parallels between these compositions and his.
Brad Mehldau, Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, Brian Blade
Nonesuch Records – 2020
Right Back Round Again – Joshua Redman
Brad Mehldau (p)
Joshua Redman (ts)
Christian McBride (b)
Brian Blade (d)
This is a rather new sound. It brings Brad Mehldau, Joshua Redman, Christian McBride and Brian Blade quartet to mind. The saxophone sounds clear.
This album isn’t currently released, actually. This single was released to promote it. This is the first new album by the quartet after 26 years, following their famous Moodswing. It is called RoundAgain. The title of the piece is Right Back Round Again.
Yes, I listened to this quartet live in Istanbul. I remember listening to the piece as well, but I recognized Joshua Redman from the saxophone sound. I listened to all these musicians live. I listened to Brian Blade twice with Chick Corea Trio. I watched Brad Mehldau in 2009 with his own trio at İş Sanat. I listened to Joshua Redman and Christian McBride here two years ago during their concert with TRT Big Band. Ozan Musluoğlu played the double bass for a while during the concert, and then handed it to Christian McBride. Kandace Springs was featured on the vocals. I also listened to Mehldau and Redman’s duo album many times.
Blue Note – 2019
Palindrome – Jacky Terrasson
Jacky Terrasson (p)
Sylvain Romano, Thomas Bremarie (b)
Gregory Hutcherson, Lukmil Perez (d)
I realized that I listened to jazz between its early eras and 2000s more so. I listen to modern jazz after the 2000s less. I really enjoy hard bop era. Here we have a rather new sound again. There is a piano trio and vocals. I initially wondered if this is a band from the Middle East but they sound American. I thought of Brad Mehldau’s Bach album when the piano started playing but then it changed, of course. It could be Jason Moran… Is it Jacky Terrasson? With vocals in the foreground? Could be Bad Plus Trio… They play complicated music with less time spared for solos with their arrangements written out.
Jacky Terrasson’s new album 53.
I listen to Jacky Terrasson a lot, especially during trips and on planes. He is a New Yorker favorite. I have been listening to him since 2016, I watch his videos on YouTube as well. One of my friends mentioned Terrason when I asked them about who plays modern jazz these days in New York while they were on Erasmus Program. He has pieces about Paris, my girlfriend loves Paris so she frequently sent me his pieces. He motioned 5 and 3 on the cover design.
Yes, he is 53 years old this year, I read that’s why.
Jacky Terrasson and Stephane Belmondo gave a concert in Istanbul. I really enjoyed the sound of the trumpet and piano duo as well as the pianist playing in unison with the trumpet with his right hand while providing the rhythm. They have a piece called Mother that they play together. I was influenced by that piece and composed Blue Love in Turgut Reis in Bodrum. I performed it with Gürtuğ Gök on the saxophone and uploaded it on YouTube as a single. I wanted a dark and foggy tone for that piece and Gürtuğ chose the saxophone reed according to that.
Telarc – 2019
Spectrum – Hiromi Uehera
Hiromi Uehera (p)
The piano sounds dark. It is a 7/8 piece. The strong touch reminded me of Tigran Hamasyan. It could also be Shai Maestro. He uses odd rhythms, 7/8, 9/8 and 11/8 often. Tigran Hamasyan plays folk melodies like this. It is a hard and accented playing style, that’s why it can’t be Maestro, he is has a much softer touch. It could be Eldar Djangirov because he is really fast and very technical. Both of his hands are really fast. It is an American pianist who plays Eastern melodies. Is it Keith Jarrett? Could be a Turkish pianist as well?
Hiromi’s solo jazz piano album. Spectrum.
Hiromi! I didn’t mention her on purpose! It is a really hard touch, I went to her concert as well. I didn’t even think of mentioning her name because she can play double piano (pp) during fast passages! I imagined it as being someone with male strength… I thought about it three times but changed my mind at the last second! Far Eastern pianists have a special approach to piano which comes from their childhood. I listened to her with Anthony Jackson at İş Sanat. It sounded like Eldar because she uses both of her hands really fast and can change the harmony gast. I wrote a piece called İmbat with inspiration from one of her 10/8 pieces called Point of View.
This Land Abounds With Life
Biophilia Records – 2019
Benjamin – Fabian Almazan
Fabian Almazan (p)
Linda May Han Oh (b)
Henry Cole (d)
I am thinking of Tigran again! He released an album with bass guitar in 2017 (I am not entirely sure), it sounds like this piece. I can relist the three names I mentioned for the previous album here as well. Aaron Parks came to Istanbul with an oud player. He is very interested in odd rhythms as well. It is not Joey Alexander? It is a rather chromatic piece. Again 7/8 is used on occasion. There is a Canadian pianist who played in a Gilad Hekselman album; Jean Michel Pilc; might be him.
Fabian Almazan. He works with Terence Blanchard. The title of the album is This Land Abounds With Life.
I am reminded of Aaron Parks when Terence Blanchard is mentioned. I listened to him with oud player Dhafer Youssef at CRR. It smelled like New York while the curiosity towards the East could be felt as well. I lingered on Eldar here. I do not know this name.
Thank you for this great Blindfold.
Thank you as well.