Review by Wade Vonasek
After coming to the U.S. from Turkey, where he performed regularly with some of the country's prominent jazz musicians, bassist/composer Alper Yilmaz first ventured into economics, not music, getting his Ph.D. Lucky for listeners, he hasn't become the Federal Reserve Chairman and is still making quality music like Clashes, his debut release on Kayique Records. Combining outstanding musicians with above-average compositions, Yilmaz brings a sense of musical integrity to Clashes, leaving listeners with the impression that the musicians were having a good time displaying what they can do on their respective instruments. And they all can do quite a bit.
The opening track "Kuke" features a driving, solid bassline from Yilmaz, bursts of punctuating Rhodes from Matthias Bublath and a horn melody zigzagging above it all, courtesy of Michael McGinnis' soprano sax and Nick Kadajski's alto saxophone. "XX" has Yilmaz laying down some tasty bass licks on the breakdown and features an excellent ending with single notes and smart dynamics. David Binney's alto saxophone vibratos and flourishes pepper the title track, which starts off with a moody intro but turns into somewhat of an extended jam feel. The funky "Junk Mail" features slap bass, sweet Rhodes from Jon Davis and superb sax from Binney, which seems to lead the piece. On "Landscapes," the album closer, Yilmaz plays a pleasant, subdued bass melody that gives the listener the sensation of driving down the highway, looking out the window at passing landscapes from the passenger seat. The chops and feel of the musicians, coming from both New York and Turkey, is top-notch all over this record, which also features performances from Andy Sanesi and Volkan Oktem on drums.
Overall, Clashes is a winner, a more than fine first release from Yilmaz, which will leave the listener anxiously awaiting release number two. It should also keep Yilmaz out of the field of economics for a while.