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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

CD Review: Burak Bedikyan - Circle of Life

Burak Bedikyan (pno); Chris Potter (ten); Peter Washington (bs); Bill Stewart (dms).
(Review by Lance)
The moment I heard the opening First Steps I said "Monk with Charlie Rouse." Then it dawned on me that this guy was playing a lot more notes than Monk even though some of the harmonies and intervals were similar. However, unlike Monk, these sounded right first time round!
Bedikyan could be the greatest Turkish jazz musician ever - I've forgotten the name of the other one, so maybe he is.
What is certain is that, irrespective of nationality, the Turkish pianist is set to make his mark on jazz piano playing. Rich probing harmonies on tunes such as the Beatles' Here, There and Everywhere firmly entrenching this otherwise insignificant song into the jazz repertoire. Now 35, Bedikyan, possibly because of a Christian upbringing in a Muslim community, cites his early influences as western pop and rock music, discovering jazz through his fathers record collection - Peterson, Garner etc.
Those influences and many more were absorbed into his playing (and indeed into that of every other jazz pianist in the world!) Gradually the influences were put on the back-burner as he developed his own individuality which is what we hear on this recording. 
Potter, forward thinking New York saxist, ventures outside of the comfort zone on Prayer For Forgiveness Part One taking Bedikyan along for the ride. It's a bumpy journey but they survive as can be heard in the Serenity of Part Two.
The Joy of Giving is just that - sheer Joy all round. Potter's contemporary hard bop sound, Bedikyan's comping, contra lines and solos, Washington's bass, Stewart's drum take out - all combine to achieve as near perfection as, by the nature of the beast, you'll ever get in jazz.
TF, BB's tribute to the late Tommy Flanagan raises Bedikyan himself into the great man's inner circle. Perhaps even his spiritual heir...
There have been so many good discs released this year that to select one is nigh impossible. Tell you what though - I don't know how long my short-list will be but I guarantee Circle of Life will be high up on it!
Burak Bedikyan - Circle of Life is available on Steeplechase Look Out Records.
Lance.

1 comment :

Burak Bedikyan (on f/b) said...

A fresh review about "Circle of Life" is published on the highly regarded blog "Bebop Spoken Here" ! With all my gratitude to Mr. Lance Liddle !

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