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Music Review: Timucin Sahin Quartet – Bafa

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Guitarist Timucin Sahin fills Bafa with complex, uncompromising compositions but maintains a simple flow throughout that suggests a man passionately in love with his instrument. He plays 6-string electrics and 7-string fretless electrics, invoking a slew of inspirational sources ranging from Ornette Coleman to Eddie van Halen.

His quartet features alto saxophonist John O’Gallagher, drummer Tyshawn Sorey and bassist Thomas Morgan, uniting some of New York’s finest young musicians under one roof of contemporary jazz. The resulting sound of the Timucin Sahin Quartet is both uniquely fresh and comfortably familiar.

Sahin was born in Turkey in 1973 and made his way to Holland in 1992. There he studied jazz guitar at Hilversum and Amsterdam before studying at the Manhattan School of Music. Winning a number of prizes, including the Deloitte Jazz Award, Sahin soon became a teacher at NYU and the Amsterdam Conservatory.

In forming his quartet, Sahin picked musicians capable of meeting the high demands his elaborate compositions can put on a group. The four meet those demands with flying colours, however, and the music springs out of the speakers with enthusiasm and warmth.

Bafa cuts in with “Around B,” a searing track that shows off Sahin’s guitar work. His sound on the doubleneck is impeccable, as is his emotionally-fuelled control of his instrument. As the song screeches to a close, Sahin drills the frets with exciting force.

Other tracks allow the quartet’s other musicians a chance to shine. O’Gallagher’s sax opens “I Also Know How to Live Like Stars” with a poignant passage before letting Morgan’s bass strut a little.

O’Gallagher makes for the perfect lead companion to Sahin because he’s got the speed and ability to match some of the more high-spirited, exploratory passages. Where lesser musicians would have seemed out of place matching paces with Sahin’s guitar on pieces like the intricate “It’s Time,” O’Gallagher matches the pace and then some without losing an ounce of feeling.

With almost an hour of music, Bafa showcases Sahin in his element working with electrifying, gifted musicians. The chemistry of the players forms the foundation of this record, allowing the guitarist’s performance to soar up where it belongs.

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