Sunday, January 14, 2007

C.D. Review; Bosporus Bridges; Turkish Jazz Funk 1968-78

Bosporus Bridges; Turkish Jazz Funk (1968-'78) (TWIMO 001)

I have read more than one person suggest this album might be a bootleg. The cover art certainly looks like a boot, but this is a well compiled collection. The record sides split the funkier cuts from the more jazz oriented tracks. Lasarus and Roskow have done a commendable job of collecting some serious rarities and adding information that plenty of collections do not bother providing. Of course, at a shade over forty minutes, the album could have fit an extra track or two, but the material on here is strong, and "Bosporous Bridges" doesn't overlap with existing collections. This one came out in early 2006, following on the release of a few exciting compilations of Turkish recordings like the "Hava Narghile" set, featuring a decidedly West-meets-the-Mid-East hybrid sound.
The opening cut by Emin Findikoglu is a flute-led slow cooker of an instrumental which wouldn't sound out of place on a Bluenote compilation. The next few cuts get funkier, until the sixth tune which is devastating, with it's unrelenting bass line and some sirens thrown in to boot. Surprisingly, this piece of music, ("Bermuda Seytan Ucgeni"), performed by the Aksu Orkestrasi comes from a Turkish television special on the Bermuda Triangle, and it is the thickest slice of funk on "Bosporous Bridges". It is followed by a track by one Ferdi Ozbegen which starts with a psychedelic moment that sounds like the beginning of the Temptations' "Cloud Nine" before the Turkish singing starts.
Other songs like Erkin Koray's "Karli Daglar" feature that soaring, Middle Eastern singing style, which serves to remind the listener this music is from Turkey, after all. Unlike many Latin and Brazillian compilations feature songs in English mixed liberally with those in Spanish or Portuguese, but I have yet to hear a Turkish compilation featuring any songs in English.
The jazz-oriented B-side of this album has some rather ordinary sounding tunes like Erol Pekcan's "Senlik", along with spacier efforts like the Okay Temiz track "Denizalti Ruzgarlari" which sounds like something Jean-Jacques Perry might have recorded. Overall, this is a great record, but it might have worked even better if Lasarus and Roskow split their funk and jazz picks over two whole albums, instead of encompassing such a wide array of music on one record. It is still well recommended to those with a musical sense of adventure.

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