The last print issue of Jazz Magazine was published last April. We have thanked all the music lovers who have supported the magazine during its incredible journey since its first publishing in 1996 in this last issue. We started to question “How can we be more prolific for our readers?” while also following the ever-changing world of music closely, and planted the seeds for new ideas and formations.
It is such a big pleasure to be a part of this new, more colourful and richer “jazzdergisi.com” which will surprise and delight its readers with even stronger bonds!
In the last issue of Jazz Magazine, I have intoduced Esra Kayıkçı’s “Bozgun Hatıra”, released initially on digital platforms as a gift to all the listeners, and wrote that we shouldn’t look far to find good and high quality music. I wanted to dedicate one of my first articles in this busy and ever-changing new portal to Esra Kayıkçı’s “Bozgun Hatıra – Album Release Concert” performance at Zorlu Performans Sanatları Merkezi (Zorlu Performing Arts Centre).
Following my interview with Esra for Jazz Magazine, I had one question in my mind: “When will the album release concert take place?”. I had already listened to the album on several different sounds systems through different portals, thanks to the advancement in technology and ease in the access to music, but I was already filled with the excitement to listen to this album live with the contributions of some of the best jazz musicians of the country. After attending numerous concerts, I knew that the mood and the state of mind of the musicians differ in album recordings, when compared to their live performances.
Ezra did not surprise us in planning a solid release concert for this special album, and informed us that the first concert was to take place at Zorlu PSM on the 11th of May.
Zorlu did not stop at the concept of creating a “shopping centre” and build a very successful performance centre to emphasise another aspect that the company wants to support. Many famous musicals, such as “Notre Dame de Paris”, “Mamma Mia”, “Cats” and “The Phantom of The Opera” have been performed on its stage, so were countless concerts, and the venue established its recognisability among the art world of Turkey. Esra’s album release concert took place on the “PSM – Stüdyo Sahnesi” (Studio Stage) which is also a good recording studio. Esra, and her husband Hakan Kamalı who also performed on the album, announced that all tickets, including the extras that Zorlu PSM had provided, had been sold out. When we arrived to the venue, we were shown our place by a corner stand and were delighted to see faint-colored little boxes on this stand—Kabak & Lin Records had timely brought the first releases of the album to the concert! It was wonderful to see music lovers get in line and purchase one or two copies of the album, and we were all very happy to learn era would be signing the albums for us at the end of the concert.
Lights went out after a short wait, and following the loud applause, Esra and her fellow band mates got on the stage to perform “Hani”. I had listened to the album many times before the concert and was expecting the first song to be “Yollar”, so hearing “Hani” as the first song made me think “What a curveball!”. After realising that we were listening to “Hani” live for the first time, we all let go and slowly drifted into the soul of the piece through the successful PA System. We had initially thought “Yes, she must be incredibly excited before this first concert” despite knowing that Esra had performed live on countless stages before this one. Esra proved us wrong with her mature, passionate and solid vocals, even in the first seconds of “Hani”.
Esra introduced her bandmates after this piece, and Zorlu PSM – Studio was filled with incredible applause after hearing the names of these incredible musicians who would bring magic to our evening: Ediz Hafızoğlu on the drums, Volkan Hürsever on double bass, Hakan Kamalı on the guitar and the pianist Ercüment Orkut who also is the arranger, musical director and a contributor in every step for this album.
“Ayışığı” is probably the ‘sweetest’ song in the album. The song started with Hakan’s notes and it gave me the impression that I was attending a great concert at Village Vanguard. The piece also highlighted Ediz Hafızoğlu’s successful drum fills. I love the fact that this song awakens different but beautiful feelings every time I listen to it!
Following Ayışığı, Esra made mention of Mehmet Karadağ who wrote the lyrics for this song and the album’s namesake “Bozgun Hatıra”, a song that tells of “the past, the future and the hope of the future”. Before performing this song, Esra invited İmer Demirer, one of the most successful trumpet players of the country, on the stage and showed the audience “how to perform a good piece” and left the stage to him. İmer Demirer’s solo and Volkan Hürsever’s parts showed us a good example of modal jazz.
Album’s second single is “Bul Beni”, whose video was shot in London, introduced us to a concept I like to use: All Star Orchestra! İmer Demirer, Volkan Hürsever and Ercüment Orkut amazed us with their solos, and then the piece continued on with the trip format and went on with Ediz Hafızoğlu, and made me think that this group would be a hit at the Umbria Jazz Festival.
The album featured Cenk Erdoğan on the guitar, Bulut Gülen on the trombone and Engin Recepoğulları on the sax. Serhan Erkol and Eylül Biçer were successfully able to make up for the absence of these musicians. I was especially curious about the live performance for “Buradayım”. This piece highlighted Serhan’s performance and the delivery of the band for this song which notes in different timings was incredible. Just as the song says, it left nothing else to be said.
I think “Dünya” is Esra’s most personal song and it seems to tell of “her world”. The piece started with Volkan Hürsever’s bow and the audience witnessed the incredible harmony between Volkan Hürsever, Ediz and Ercüment. I even dreamt that they made a trio album together! The piece featured Ercüment’s best performance during the concert.
“Masalcı” speaks about “returning to the past” and Esra gifts us with two other musicians: Eylül Biçer and Seçil Kuran. Seçil played the xylophone during “Yollar” and “Paçavra” and played the vibraphone during “Masalcı”—my first time to hear this instrument live—and played in a pleasant harmony with Eylül, who I had listened to live in Çağıl Kaya’s band. Maybe not for this concert, but for the future ones, I can easily say that “Masalcı” would make a great closing song.
Mehmet Karadağ wrote the lyrics for a third song in this album, Paçavra, along with “Ayışığı” and “Bozgun Hatıra”. Sermon’s solo during this piece was very emotional. The concert ended with the first single of the album “Yollar” and the personal performances of all the musicians. The audience asked for an encore, one for the road if you will, and the band performed the relaxing piece “Hani” and drew this beautiful release concert to an end.
One of my favourite aspects of Esra, one that I found the most successful, was her ease in performing as if she had been singing these songs for such big audiences for years. The afterthoughts of Esra and her esteemed bandmates following the concert were as such:
“It was an incredible experience to share the stage with so many amazing musicians. There were so many valuable moments and to share these moments, and to be on this beautiful stage in Zorlu centre among the incredible audience was beautiful.”
“Impressive, exciting, gives hope…”
“It was one of the greatest albums I was a part of, and one of the most beautiful concerts!”
İmer Demirer:“ Esra Kayıkçı!”
“It was beyond our expectations, we had recorded the album about a year ago and this was a great first concert. Both Zorlu and our friends here have been very supportive. The audience and the atmosphere was great. Esra’s soft and smooth voice granted us a great concert.”
“Esra’s album is among my favourites when it comes to the projects I wrote and worked with. Many valuable musicians came together and gave a concert worthy of such an album. Thanks to everyone who contributed!”
“This was one of the best concerts I have played in for a long time. I was very moved when I first listened to the album. I played in Engin’s place tonight. I am very happy and it was an incredible concert.”
So was out great evening! Don’t frown over missing this album release concert, and keep following Esra, because she will be bringing us new concert and new projects soon. This is accurate information!