I have mentioned this previously in my articles; David Gilmour, the guitarist of the world-famous progressive rock band Pink Floyd, has a legendary comment on their unforgettable album The Dark Side of The Moon: “We have worked so hard on the album that I will never be as lucky as someone who listens to it for the first time on their headphones.”
I have witnessed an unforgettable and rather unique evening on the 12th of October, Thursday, at Zorlu PSM. We have accepted Ediz’s Nazdrave as an established project after his first Kabak & Lin album, and he has raised the bar higher with each of his performances, mainly because of the strong bond between the band members. Through this, Nazdrave has become a unique and strong band. Nazdrave came to life in Ediz’s hands, and they have given us yet another impeccable performance on this evening.
We have seen Nazdrave, which brings together some of the most established group members, ripen. This was the third concerts I was attending at Zorlu Performance Arts Center/PSM Studio that Ediz Hafızoğlu was playing, and I always do a little “pop-quiz” for whatever reason, trying to guess what is going on in Ediz’s head and what his plans for the concert are. However, Ediz has surprised me once more, mentioning an album “that hasn’t been recorded yet” with the ease and professional attitude that seemed to say “Friends, these are the things that we have been thinking about and if everything goes well and we have a good recording session, you will listen to more of less these things.” in a manner similar to Mozart writing down the notes in his head on his only copy of paper.
Let’s go over the prominent musicians that make up Nazdrave: Ediz Hafızoğlu on the drums, Cem Tuncer and Cenk Erdoğan on the electric guitar, Orhan Deniz on the electric bass guitar, Engin Recepoğulları on the soprano saxophone, Serhan Erkol on the alto saxophone, Barış Doğukan Yazıcı on the trumpet and Ercüment Orkut on the keyboard. It is possible to add Ülkü Aybala Sunat to this band, as Ediz Hafızoğlu says that she has always kept them company during the tour concerts, but we also should mention the other vocalists who has contributed to this special evening and influenced the album: Jülide Özçelik , Birsen Tezer , Elif Çağlar Muslu and Ece Ünsal.
We will make a great start with one of the most dynamic sounds I have ever listened to if the album recordings will go in the same order as Ediz’s setlist for this concert: “Girdik”. Ediz has picked the memorable “Cereyanlı” as the opening piece for his first album, and he reaches the peaks of jazz-rock with “Girdik” and makes us headbang as if we are listening to ZZ Top’s La Grange. We cool down the flame a little after “Girdik”, and listen to Ülkü Aybala Sunat sing “Bulut Gelir ”, which is an Üsküp folk song we have listened to during the 22nd Istanbul Jazz Festival previously, a capella with her clear voice. Not even a leaf moves in PSM Studio as she sings; the aura Ülkü has created envelops us and our attention is entirely focused on Ülkü and the story she is telling… “Balkansko” is one of the most fun pieces in the album and it grabs the attention of the audience with its rhythm changes. It is possible to call Cenk Erdoğan and Serhan Erkol one of the most established guitarists and saxophone players in the country after listening to their solos and witnessing the applause they receive. Ediz mentions that “Sabah”, possibly the most melancholic piece in the album, doesn’t have a story. It is a good ballad. Birsen Tezer shines even brighter while singing “Kül”, written especially for her, and it was worth listening to the screams of her devoted fans! I believe “Keşiş” might be the most challenging piece in this album for the listener. It makes the listener question which musician plays the lead rhythm in the piece due to its constant rhythmic changes, frequent Dream Theater-esque progressive instrumental solos, and its fast opening and climax cycle. I think this is a high quality piece which will become one of the favorites in the album as one listens to it repeatedly. I cannot wait to listen to this piece on the album, which will make people “think” as much as it will give them enjoyment! Elif Çağlar Muslu steps on the stage to sing “Doğru”, followed by Jülide Özçelik who sings “Renkli Düşler”, a Tracian influenced piece. In-between the pieces, we learn that Ediz will play in Elif Çağlar Muslu’s new album, accompanied by Volkan Hürsever on the double bass and Çağrı Sertel on the piano. “İki Taraf”, written in the Kara Orkestra period, starts with Serhan Erkol’s notes, which then leave their place to Korhan Futacı. Heavily relying on the wind instruments, this piece is one of the albums ‘greyer’ ones. “Hayat”, which is recognized by the audience from Kolektif Istanbul era, is interpreted once again, and Ülkü expresses her excitement to the listeners while singing “Uzaklarda”, followed by “Kimse Bilmez” from the first album. We share in this excitement. Finally, “Nazdrave – 13”, which is a personal expression of Ediz Hafızoğlu, brings Ece Ünsal and bağlama (a stringed folk instrument) player Engin Arslan on the stage. Ece sings a folk song for the first time on the stage while performing “Yar Gelir”, written by Ediz himself. We cannot help but mention “Cherno More” here. Cherno More, created by Bulgarian theater artist Todor Kolev, is one of the most dynamic, the reddest, the fiercest, the most Tracian, the most Balkan pieces I have listened to for a long while. It was an experience to watch many members of the audience dance as if there were no tomorrow at Zorlu PSM Studio, sharing the excitement of this piece.
This great and special album will be released through Kabak & Lin soon, the anticipation is at an all time high!