He started playing the classic guitar at the age of 11. Sezin Ahmet Türkmenoğlu started playing the bass when he was 15 years old, and completed his high school education at the Guitar department of Istanbul Fine Arts. He received his high education degree from Bass Guitar and Double Bass departments of Bilgi University. He accompanied many pop musicians during concerts and album recordings. He also participated in many festivals both in Turkey and overseas with jazz musicians, and played in jazz clubs. Then he suddenly disappeared. I found his trail in Los Angeles.
Where have you been Ahmet, what are you working on?
My Los Angeles adventure started out like this: I came to Los Angeles in August 2012 when I was accepted into the graduate certificate program of University of Southern California (USC) following a video audition. I heard about this school from Ercüment Orkut.
Who are your teachers at school?
Many prominent musicians such as Alan Pasqua, Peter Erskine, Russell Ferrante, Otmaro Ruiz, Bob Mintzer, Ndugu Chancler, Patrice Rushen and Bruce Forman teach at USC. Alan Pasqua was one of the biggest influences in me enrolling. He was the head of the department the year I applied.
Did you just continue on with your studies in the meanwhile, or have you been playing?
I had the opportunity to play with some of these musicians after getting to know them closely at school, I still play with them. For example, I played with Alan Pasqua in popular LA venues like LACMA, Blue Whale and Vitello. I accompanied him with my bass during some of his workshops.
In addition to that, I have been playing with Venezuelan pianist Otmaro Ruiz. I played with him at these venues as well, and in Tijuana, Mexico, for drummer Israel Varela’s project. Otmaro is a Grammy-nominated composer and arranger. The “Girl From Ipanema” arrangement he made for the album of his band with his wife, “LADO B”, has been nominated for the Grammy Award for the best arrangement. I played the double bass for three pieces in Sylvia Brook’s album, arranged by Otmaro. The album was released in May-June 2017. LA’s best musicians played and arranged the pieces in this album. It is currently in the official pool of Grammy nominees and hopefully it will be nominated this year.
Other than that, I constantly play with Otmaro’s own band. Usually drummer Jimmy Branly, guitarist Larry Koonse and saxophone and flute player Katisse Buckingam play in this band. We played a gig at Alvas Showroom in 2014 with drummer percussionist Alex Acuna and Jimmy Branly.
We were very surprised to see you in a Youtube video with Aubrey Logan, a musician whom we really wish to invite a Nardis Jazz Club?
I played with singer Aubrey Logan for a while and I had to take a break due to how busy school got. However, I started to play with Aubrey again recently. Aubrey recorded her first album and we started giving its c. She also tours with the band “postmodern jukebox” occasionally.
What else is going on over there?
I have been playing in guitarist Will Brahm’s band Homenaje for about 2 years now. We recorded our first album ‘La Mariposa Y el Mentiroso’ this year. Will wrote all the pieces but we all contributed to the arrangements and the production. Drummer Chris Wabich and percussionist Diego Alvarez also play in this band.
I occasionally play with guitarist Stanley Jordan. I played with Stanley for the first time in 2016 during Long Beach Jazz Festival. I got this gig through my drummer friend Chris Wabich, who played in his album. Then we played in San Francisco Yoshi’s and some other places with Stanley.
Saxophone player Bob Mintzer also played two pieces in this album. Carey also finished his graduate studies at USC.
I play with one of John Coltrane’s daughters, singer Michelle Coltrane. She recently released her first album.
I had the opportunity to play with guitarist Lee Ritenour. I played a gig with Lee and his son Wesley in Malibu last year. I also played a few of Lee’s compositions with a band at LA’s Vibrato Jazz Club, Lee also played as a guest.
I play in pianist Todd Hunter’s trio with drummer Steve Hass. Steve Hass and I also play in vibraphone player Nick Mancini’s trio at a club every Thursday in downtown LA.
I played a few gigs with Blue Note singer Kandace Springs in LA. I also played with smooth jazz singest Lindsey Webster in Newport Jazz Festival. Lindsey and I have some upcoming concerts in September and October.
I took composition lessons from Vince Mendoza, I still continue to. I wrote some big band compositions and USC Thronton big band played them.
Do you have plans to do something on your own?
Yes, I am preparing to record an album that consists of my own compositions. It is possible for me to work with some surprise names for this album.
What are you doing these days?
I got accepted into Thelonious Monk Institute, in which Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter teach, after I finished my certificate program at USC. I wasn’t able to start due to some unfortunate events. I was then accepted as an assistant by Bob Mintzer (he is the head of the department) in USC and did my masters degree between 2015-2017. I graduated in May 2017 and applied in doctorate exams. I got accepted for the doctorate program at USC. I am currently finishing my degree and am an assistant at USC.