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The 'Resolution' of Mehmet Ali Sanlikol & Whatsnext? is an International Bonanza [REVIEW]

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Oct 08, 2016 09:26 AM EDT | Mike Greenblatt (

Mehmet Sanlikol

Turkish Pianist/Composer/Conductor Mehmet Sanlikol hopes you keep his 'Resolution.' (Photo : courtesy DUNYA)

First thing folks usually think of when they think fusion is jazz/rock and rightly so but Mehmet Ali Sanlikol's Whatsnext? big-band fuses jazz with Turkish folk melodies and classical for a worldbeat treat. Resolution (DUNYA) is not only delicious but it's good for you.

Mehmet, 42, originally from Turkey, after achieving a modicum of success as a composing jazzman, took a decade off to wrap his brain around the culture of his forebears. Ultimately, his appreciation for-and his studies of-all manifestations of the almighty keyboard filled him with a deeper and abiding curiosity of exactly how to mix'n'match Middle Eastern modalities and microtones (where the Western concept of 12 equal intervals per octave is thrown out the window in favor of 62 or more) with his ongoing love of .Duke Ellington, classical music and movie soundtracks,.

Thus, "The Turkish 2nd Line" fuses his country's folk with this country's New Orleans joyousness. "Whirl Around: Concerto for Soprano Saxophone and Jazz Orchestra in C" is a classical gas, complete with improvisation. And what soloists! Talk about an A-List of international multi-instrumental hotshots! Clarinetist Anat Cohen plies her trade in New York City but, before that, was a star in her native Israel. Mexican drummer Antonio Sanchez, Japanese trumpeter Tiger Okoshi and American saxophonist Dave Liebman also fly high herein.

Over the course of nine exquisite tracks, these aforementioned special guests have been granted music composed especially for them once they committed to the project. And they have a big-band of gargantuan proportions to play off of. Composer Mehmet conducts alto sax (2), flute, clarinet (3), tenor sax (2), bari sax, bass clarinet, trumpet (4), flugelhorn (3), trombone (3), bass trombone, piano, electric guitar, electric bass, drums, vocals and a wild assortment of rare percussive effects yet "Rebellion" is funky as hell. "Reminiscence" is balladry of the highest order. The title track is full-blown swing.

For his part, besides composing, Mehmet, thoughout, can be heard on a variety of keybs including piano, harpsichord, clavinet, Moog synthesizer, various Middle Eastern string/wind machines as well as percussion and a keyless fingerboard which allows him to play the kind of microtones that are not even possible on a standard keyboard.

The result is the kind of CD that stands out from the glut. Plus, you can charm a snake to it.

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