Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Follow the Leader

Time for another round of follow the leader. Not knowing the name Ozan Musluoglu,  I decide to purchase his CD based on the supporting cast. The CD is his second, Ozan Musluoglu "40th Day" (Equinox Music 2011). 

Ozan Musluoglu | 40th Day (feat. Jeremy Pelt, Jd Allen, Danny Grissett & Darrell Green)
Musluoglu is a bassist of Turkish descent who was born and raised in Germany, and then attended the Bilgi University Music program in Istanbul on full scholarship beginning in 2001. He has an extensive resume of performances with names such as Marcus Miller, Roy Hargrove, Eric Reed and many others. Also, as bassist of the group Athena from 2003-2008, he recorded albums and toured nationally and internationally, including representing Turkey in the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest where they placed 4th.

In 2009 he released his first CD "Coincidence" (Recbyjazz 2009), with a group of players from Istanbul including drummer Ferit Oman. His latest, " My Best Friends are Pianists" (Equinox Music 2012) is a tribute to the "My Best Friends Series" of Ray Brown, who is one of Musluoglu's greatest idols, and features twelve Turksh pianists on twelve pieces. His CDs are all available through CDBaby.

While Musluoglu's other CDs feature a host of Turkish players, this particular CD finds him in the company of four American jazz players of note and thus is an appealing way to discover the music of Musluoglu. The four are Jeremy Pelt on trumpet, JD Allen on tenor sax, Danny Grissett on piano, and Darrell Green on drums, an all-start grouping of first class leaders in their own right.

All seven compositions are by Musluoglu, who dedicated the music to his departed grandmother, who was his biggest supporter.  "Requiem for K.C" and "40th Day" are beautifully crafted melodies crafted in her honor, the first featuring beautiful unison play from Allen and Pelt, the latter an uplifting waltz. Elsewhere the energy abounds in songs like "Fake Promises" and the swinging closer, "Panic." I'm a big supporter of the work of Grissett and here he does not disappoint with a number of ear catching solos and a lot of supporting rhythms for the others.

It's first rate modern jazz with nice melodies, intricate harmonies and a steady rhythm section featuring Musluoglu and Green. Recommended for those who like the modern mainstream.

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