Fahir Atakoglu
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Fahir Atakoglu

Potomac, Maryland, United States

Potomac, Maryland, United States
Band Jazz World

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Nov
25
Fahir Atakoglu @ Sardinia Jazz Festival

Sardinia, Not Applicable, Italy

Sardinia, Not Applicable, Italy

Nov
10
Fahir Atakoglu @ Izmir

Izmir, Not Applicable, Turkey

Izmir, Not Applicable, Turkey

Oct
15
Fahir Atakoglu @ the SEED

Istanbul, Not Applicable, Turkey

Istanbul, Not Applicable, Turkey

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Music

Press


As a followup to his hard-hitting fusion offering, 2008’s Istanbul in Blue (a guitar-intensive project that featured the dazzling six-string work of Mike Stern and Wayne Krantz), the accomplished Turkish-born pianist-composer-arranger Fahir Atakoglu casts a wide stylistic net on Faces and Places, deftly incorporating musical elements from Spain, Brazil, the Middle East and New York City into the compelling mix. On board for this dynamic outing are such world-class players as trumpeter Randy Brecker, guitarists Wayne Krantz and Romero Lubambo, Yellowjackets saxophonist Bob Mintzer and the outstanding rhythm tandem of bassist John Patitucci (a longstanding member of the Wayne Shorter Quartet and a composer-bandleader in his own right) and the great Cuban drummer Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez. Together, with the addition of some challenging and highly interactive string arrangements, they make a potent statement on what stands as Fahir’s most impressive and ambitious outing to date.
“It’s great, of course, to play with these musicians,” says the celebrated 46-year-old pianist-composer from Istanbul. “They bring the best to my compositions. They bring their color, their timbre and, most importantly, their personality. So when I get together with these great musicians, all I want is to capture the moment. That’s very important to me.”
A prolific composer who first gained fame in his native Turkey in 1994 for his best-selling soundtrack to a popular documentary film, Atakoglu has also written orchestral music for the Istanbul National Opera and Ballet. Since resettling in the United States (he currently lives in Maryland), he has collaborated with several notable jazz musicians there. “This is where all the musicians come from all over the world,” says Fahir. “I started playing with these musicians and it actually improved me as a composer. And for me, it’s a dream come true. I came from Turkey almost 20 years ago and in the last 10 years I got to meet all these great musicians who love playing my music. I’m very lucky.”
Growing up in Istanbul, Atakoglu became hooked at an early age on the music of two iconic American pop bands from the ‘70s, Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears. “I was really attracted to their very intricate horn arrangements,” he recalls. “I used to go to sleep and dream that I was on stage with Chicago or BS&T. And loving that music so much is what led me into jazz.”
Other influences soon came into his sphere as he began investigating music from around the world, particularly Brazilian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern. “I listened to many artists as I was growing up,” he says, “and I just wanted to bring out those different things inside me on this album.”
The collection opens with the invigorating “Into You,” an energized romp with a chops-busting head that actively incorporates the strings along with Mintzer’s tenor sax, Krantz’s slinky rhythm guitar work and Atakoglu’s surging piano lines. Patitucci holds down the groove on electric bass, locking in tightly with El Negro’s slamming backbeat, while the rest of the ensemble double-times its way through the challenging line that Fahir devised.
“High Street” opens with Patitucci’s singing electric bass lines carrying the tender intro theme before the piece launches into a surging polyrhythmic whirlwind. A slight Middle Eastern flavor can be detected throughout this intriguing piece in the tight counter melodies played by the strings. Romero Lubambo, the masterful Brazilian guitarist who is a ubiquitous accompanist as well as a founding member of the superb samba jazz group Trio da Paz, offers a passionate solo on nylon string acoustic guitar here. Atakoglu follows with a fiery, harmonically probing solo of his own, spurred on by the throbbing pulse created by Patitucci and El Negro. They build to a heated crescendo with Mintzer’s intense soprano sax wailing against a Middle Eastern counter line by the strings. And Negro puts a cap on the exhilarating proceedings by erupting into one of his patented whirlwind drum solos.
Fahir’s Turkish roots come into play on the challening 14/8 vehicle “Faces.” But as he notes, different musicians interpret 14/8 in different ways. “When it’s counted in 14/8, it sounds more Turkish. But when it’s counted in 7/8, it becomes more of a samba flavor, which you can hear more toward the end of the piece.” Lubambo’s flawless comping helps ground the track alongside Patitucci’s deep upright bass tones and El Negro’s supple drum work. The strings are particularly interactive here, playing intricate counter melodies against the piano while also doubling the melodic line alongside Mintzer’s tenor sax. Both Atakoglu and Mintzer turn in stirring solos on this dramatic track, which also features Fahir’s wordless vocals.
“Mediterranean,” which conjures up the vibe of Chick Corea’s ‘70s classic, My Spanish Heart, opens with Patitucci’s bold upright bass tones played against El Negro’s agile hi hat pulse. The full - Bill Milkowski


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

As a followup to his hard-hitting fusion offering, 2008’s Istanbul in Blue, the accomplished Turkish-born pianist-composer-arranger Fahir Atakoglu casts a wide stylistic net on Faces and Places, deftly incorporating musical elements from Spain, Brazil, the Middle East and New York City into the compelling mix. On board for this dynamic outing are such world-class players as trumpeter Randy Brecker, guitarists Wayne Krantz and Romero Lubambo, Yellowjackets saxophonist Bob Mintzer and the outstanding rhythm tandem of bassist John Patitucci and the great Cuban drummer Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez. Together, with the addition of some challenging and highly interactive string arrangements, they make a potent statement on what stands as Fahir’s most impressive and ambitious outing to date.
“
A prolific composer who first gained fame in his native Turkey in 1994 for his best-selling soundtrack to a popular documentary film, Atakoglu has also written orchestral music for the Istanbul National Opera and Ballet. Since resettling in the United States (he currently lives in Maryland), he has collaborated with several notable jazz musicians there. “
The collection opens with the invigorating “Into You,” an energized romp with a chops-busting head that actively incorporates the strings along with Mintzer’s tenor sax, Krantz’s slinky rhythm guitar work and Atakoglu’s surging piano lines. Patitucci holds down the groove on electric bass, locking in tightly with El Negro’s slamming backbeat, while the rest of the ensemble double-times its way through the challenging line that Fahir devised.
“High Street” opens with Patitucci’s singing electric bass lines carrying the tender intro theme before the piece launches into a surging polyrhythmic whirlwind. A slight Middle Eastern flavor can be detected throughout this intriguing piece in the tight counter melodies played by the strings. Romero Lubambo, the masterful Brazilian guitarist who is a ubiquitous accompanist as well as a founding member of the superb samba jazz group Trio da Paz, offers a passionate solo on nylon string acoustic guitar here. Atakoglu follows with a fiery, harmonically probing solo of his own, spurred on by the throbbing pulse created by Patitucci and El Negro. They build to a heated crescendo with Mintzer’s intense soprano sax wailing against a Middle Eastern counter line by the strings. And Negro puts a cap on the exhilarating proceedings by erupting into one of his patented whirlwind drum solos.
Fahir’s Turkish roots come into play on the challening 14/8 vehicle “Faces.” But as he notes, different musicians interpret 14/8 in different ways. “When it’s counted in 14/8, it sounds more Turkish. But when it’s counted in 7/8, it becomes more of a samba flavor, which you can hear more toward the end of the piece.” Lubambo’s flawless comping helps ground the track alongside Patitucci’s deep upright bass tones and El Negro’s supple drum work. The strings are particularly interactive here, playing intricate counter melodies against the piano while also doubling the melodic line alongside Mintzer’s tenor sax. Both Atakoglu and Mintzer turn in stirring solos on this dramatic track, which also features Fahir’s wordless vocals.
“Mediterranean,” which conjures up the vibe of Chick Corea’s ‘70s classic, My Spanish Heart, opens with Patitucci’s bold upright bass tones played against El Negro’s agile hi hat pulse. ...

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