Burak Kaya: Climate Change (2015) reviewed by Hrayr Attarian
Published: April 6, 2015 – 4,5 Stars (All About Jazz)
Turkish guitarist Burak Kaya’s Climate Change is a socially conscious album with a definite political theme. It does not, however, “scream” its civic message boisterously or with an aggressive style. Instead, its nine originals unfurl with a peaceful yet gripping feel and pastel colored hues with a memorable vibe.
The dramatic “Gezi Park,” named after the location of the Istanbul protests against (initially) urban development, opens with a series of expectant brief bursts of collective phrases that roll with martial precision. Kaya ushers a nocturnesque ambience with his complex strums and intense poetic flair. His guitar takes center stage with a bluesy nostalgia and Djangoesque Joie De Vivre. Bassist Ozan Musluoglu’s lyrical solo progresses with thrilling agility before percussionist Yinon Muallem’s angular beats usher in the concluding head.
Musluoğlu showcases his oud like lyricism on the paean to “Emek Movie Theater,” the historic cinema that was torn down to make room for a mall. Tangoesque passion peppers the wistful, romantic piece adding to its mellifluous nature.
Kaya’s haunting refrains mark the title track with powerful emotive tones. Darkly hued elements lace the guitarist’s virtuoso improvisation while Muallem’s thrilling polyrhythms are full of elegant subtle anger.
The seamless camaraderie among the three musicians results in captivating harmonic textures on “Gerze.” The tune dedicated to the historic town threatened by coal mining brims with folk motifs, spiritual hints and a mystical rumble. The result is intriguing and captivating, as it is simultaneously raw and sophisticated.
There are also upbeat moments on this delightful album. The fast paced “He’s Off” for instance has plenty of humor but with a lilting undercurrent of melancholy. A celebratory atmosphere meanwhile characterizes the bright “Activists.”
With this stimulating and conceptually unified record, Kaya, with the support of his talented band mates, has created a refreshingly unique work. It is a disc that gracefully increases awareness to the environmental impact of human greed both in his home country and worldwide. This makes “Climate Change” an artistic statement that is both timely and timeless and one that also manages to charm and captivate.
Track Listing: Eylemcller (Activists); Gezi Parki (Gezi Park); Hasankeyf; Emek Sinemasi (Emek Movie Theater); HES’ Tir Git (HE’S Off); Agackesen Koprusu (Tree Cutter Bridge); Istanbul Bisiklet Yollari (Istanbul Cycleways); Iklim Degisikligi (Climate Change); Gerze.
Personnel: Burak Kaya: guitar; Ozan Musluoglu: double bass; Yinon Muallem: percussion.
Record Label: Self Produced
Style: Modern Jazz
Hrayr Attarian, 06 Nisan 2015
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