Mehmet Polat & Embracing Colours
1. Expanded lives
2. Dancing statues
3. Playing the time away
4. Falseta Mesopotámica
6. All connected
7. Breathing again
8. Conveyed emotions
11. A deserved distraction
All compositions by Mehmet Polat.
Mehmet Polat - Ud & Compositions
Joan Terol Amigo - Drums
Hendrik Müller - Bass
Bart Lelivelt - Accordion
Ciğdem Okuyucu – vocals, track 4
Eric Vloeimans – trumpet, track 5
Imamyar Hasanov – kamancha, track 6
Michalis Kouloumis - violin, track 8
Aftab records | MP63
The melodies, grooves, ideas and emotions wrapped up in this album mark the new and exciting path I embarked on with the creation of ensemble Embracing Colours. It’s one of the most important and daring steps in my musical life so far. A quantum leap.
Embracing Colours is a new jazzier ground for my - mostly modal - jazz compositions. After years of international touring and inspired by the rich musical traditions of the Middle East, Africa, India, Europe and the Balkans, I decided to explore my music within this new jazz band. I’ve often felt jazz to be present when improvising, composing, playing a groove. Bringing the musicians of Embracing Colours together has brought these jazz-inspired compositions to life. Joan Terol Amigo is a genius on drums, Hendrik Müller is a master of grooves on bass and Bart Lelivelt is a brilliant accordion player. The ud is a traditional instrument played in all Arabic countries, West Asia and Eastern Europe, and can be a great connector of cultures. Making the album together has enriched my compositions, pulling me out of my harmonic comfort zone and into new chord progressions. It’s been a pleasure and thoroughly rewarding experience. The compositions on this Quantum Leap album come from the heart and tell a musical story of discovery, growth and progress in a world of learning.
* The first melodies of 'Expanded lives' reveal the way the legendary Turkish poet, Ahmed Arif wrote his poems. In his lyrical style we can experience a sincere touch of Anatolia, which has been coloured by a touch of jazz too.
* Dancing statues evokes Balkan/Anatolian Jazz with its subdivisions, shifted beats and syncopations from Latin music, an accordion solo reminiscent of a Bulgarian wedding song, and an ud bridging the spaces in between.
* Playing the time away starts in a meditational Indian music-like atmosphere, with the ud and accordion in quiet conversation before gently crossing over into a jazzy lyrical contrabass solo and adventurous drumming on a subdivided melody in double tempo.
* Falseta Mesopotámica is combines the idea of a ‘short Flamenco melody’ with a Bulerias rhythm and the vocal improvisation tradition ‘hoyrat’ of Urfa, Turkey. Instead of a traditional tenor voice, we hear the brilliant mezzosoprano voice of Çiğdem Okuyucu singing:
Yay tutar elim, keman ağlar
Sevip te ayrılanın
Her günü yaman ağlar
Yaralıyam, nasıl edem..
The violin cries
My hand holds the bow, the violin cries
The one who loves and stays away
All his/her days are full of tears
My heart is wounded by your love, your beauty.
* Segue is a romantic waltz piece with melodic and rhythmical variations, enriched by an adventurous bowed contrabass solo. Playing the time away, Falseta Mesopotámica and Segue were composed as a suite to be played consecutively.
* All connected creates a peaceful space for listening, and features the delicate soothing tone of master trumpet player Eric Vloeimans playing melodies and improvisations.
* Breathing again is a melodic mantra that lets one sync to one’s most true self. This composition is imbued with Azerbaijani music elements from young kamancha master Imamyar Hasanov.
* Conveyed emotions is a solo ud composition. I embrace my solitude, sadness, even anger and vulnerability here.
* The melodies of Contemplation are reminiscent of Sur, the old city center of Diyarbakır, Turkey, particularly it’s strength, vulnerability and complexities. Agelessness is expressed in the ud solo that plays with timing on the solid base of the band’s grooves.
* Entropy stands out with its microtones from the Turkish 'saba makamı' scale used. The piece includes a 'gazel', a vocal tradition from the East and inspired by the recordings of Urfa legend Kazancı Bedih. Guest musician Michalis Kouloumis adds a beautiful violin colour to this track, which concludes in the beautiful Persian makam 'chahargah'. The lyrics are from a poem by Şâir Eşref:
Bir günüm asude geçmez âh-ü efgan etmeden,
Bir gecem bulmaz sabahı gamla itmam etmeden,
Her felaket başvurur bir kerre bab-ı lûtfuma,
Kudretimce boş çevirmem ben de ihsan etmeden.
None of my days end without grieving
None of my nights end without sorrow
Every trouble calls to me for help at least once
I don't refuse them any help, as far as I can
* A deserved distraction is a cheering up moment, with its high energy, super syncopated melodies and drum solo.
* Aftermath takes us from tradition to the future, from a makam improvisation to a jazzier chord progression that is at the core of the Quantum Leap album.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Alex Geurink in Studio West Hoogland, the Netherlands
Photos by Ali Çağlar Erdoğan. Album layout by Studio Kechi.
This album was made possible with the support of Sena Performers Music Production Fund and a grant from the Performing Arts Fund NL for composing the repertoire.