Okay Temiz Magnetic Band
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cd cover Okay Temiz Magnetic Band
Magnetic Orient

The Turkish percussionist continues his explorations of folk and jazz fusion with Magnetic Orient, joined by an ensemble that reflects global aspirations while maintaining a truly local sound, wherever 'local' might be.

Okay Temiz - drums, talking drums, qicca, timbales, congas, darbuka, tablas, synth
Hüsnü Senlendirici - clarinet, ud, double bass
Ergün Senlendirici - trumpet
Nuri Lekesiz Göz - kanun
Anders Westergård - drums

Tracks (links have audio samples)
1. Tekez Zortlatmasi
2. Cökertme
3. Sari Kiz
4. Kürdali
5. Kemalpasa Ciftelli
6. Aydin Zeybegi
7. Semah
8. Gayda
9. Misket
10. Merkeze
11. Karsilama
12. Kim O Tomi

Press info from the record label:
A Turkish musician with ideas and ideals that were not only global but infiltrated with jazz … What could someone like that do in Ankara or Istanbul in the late ’60s? Little to nothing. A more or less original form of folklore with a tendency towards pop dominated the Turkish music scene of the day; jazz led a shadowy existence on the sidelines. And the style which has since proven its "chartworthiness” — that which is referred to as ethno or world music — hadn’t even been invented yet. Born in Istanbul in 1939, Okay Temiz grew up in Ankara and received his musical education as a drummer and percussionist at the conservatory there. He felt a pull towards a kind of global musical idiom at a very early stage, perhaps too early: After completing his studies he was compelled to earn his bread by playing in Turkish show and dance bands. In his spare time, though, he kept an ear out for kindred musical spirits.

He finally found what he was looking for in Stockholm. Not, as one might expect, among Swedish jazz musicians, but among the Africans and Afro-Americans who had settled in that northern metropolis. More specifically, it was Okay Temiz who was found: Don Cherry, truly a pioneer of global musical thought, took notice of the Turkish drummer with the unusual ideas.

The drummer thus gained admission into quite an illustrious circle comprising musicians such as Mongezi Feza, Chris McGregor, Dudu Pukwana, Harry Miller (i.e. a large majority of McGregor’s "Brotherhood of Breath”), as well as Palle Danielsson and Charlie Mariano, all of whom were in one way or another concerned with introducing melodies and rhythms from the far corners of the earth into jazz.

Okay Temiz settled in Sweden and initially joined the Turkish-Swedish band "Sevda” which enjoyed much popularity in Scandinavia. He then formed his own band — "Oriental Wind” — which soon existed in two editions: a Swedish one and a Turkish one. In retrospect it can be said that with this band Temiz risked his first tentative steps onto territory that was not thoroughly explored until much later: The point of departure for this ethno jazz — which bore no such designation back then — was jazz, to which the incorporation of unusual metres (Turkish or generally Arabic) was subordinate

The Swedish reed player Lennart Åberg and the Turkish ney player Haci Tekbilek were core members of "Oriental Wind” for a long time. They were joined by numerous well-known musicians such as Johnny Dyani, with whom Temiz had also made duo recordings, and the former "Embryo” guitarist Roman Bunka, to name only two. The drummer Temiz, in the meantime, had gained mastery of a wide range of percussion instruments (the Brazilian berimbau, for example, an electronic version of which he still plays today). "Oriental Wind” became a kind of springboard for Temiz, for he toured widely with the band, appearing in India (as in 1980 at the Jazz Yatra Festival in Bombay) and at festivals all over Europe and making a distinguished name for himself. Slowly but surely, Temiz was becoming a percussion institution At such events he frequently met like-minded musicians such as the Indian T.A.S. Mani from the Karnathaka College of Percussion or the "world beat” champion Doug Hammond.

To the present day, Okay Temiz has remained true to his ideals of an Orient-Occident fusion. Three years ago — in a sense with "drums beating and trumpets sounding” (or, more correctly, with davuls beating and zurnas sounding) — the album "Karsilama” was released, recorded by Temiz with four zurna players and a lot of powerful percussion. The zurna is a type of shawm with a penetrating sound somewhere between that of a trumpet and that of a clarinet, popular throughout the Arabic regions, while also used by folklore groups in the area between the Balkans and the Black Sea He undertook a similar process in Finland in 1995 with his "Magnetic Band,” a Scandinavian-Turkish quintet: Here as well, the strains of the Orient (the Turkish dulcimer kanun and the Turkish lute oud) join western (jazz) instruments such as the trumpet and the electric bass and Temiz’ percussion instruments from the many regions of the globe in a breakneck rhythm slalom to achieve a fusion of the music of the Balkans and the Turkish-Arabic region with jazz, rock and Latin: a course ideally laid out for the master drummer!

In a sense, Temiz’ "Magnetic Band” is the logical consequence of the "Oriental Wind” idea with other means. On the one hand, the twelve pieces on this CD continue along the road taken by "Oriental Wind” — i.e. they combine improvisational, jazz-inspired ideas with traditional "crooked-time” themes. At the same time, however, Okay Temiz has become more roots-conscious, for in the meantime his road has crossed a few footpaths which have left their mark: A certain Balkan/Gipsy/Klezmer sound makes itself heard, and the encounter with folklore — taking place precisely on the border between Orient and Occident and thus particularly with the folklore of Turkey — has become more distinct. In the course of the centuries, many a musical idea has been exchanged within the framework of this lively border traffic: The roots of pieces like "Çökertme” or "Gayda,” for example, defy clear definition as ‘originally Turkish later incorporated into the music of the Balkans’ or vice versa. "Kürdali,” on the other hand, could just as well have originated in the repertoire of a gipsy brass band of Romania or Walachia, while in "Kemalpasa Çiftetelli” we encounter the "talking” clarinet known from Klezmer. Cross-references of this kind apply to virtually every track on the CD: On this exciting exploration of musical border regions, every listener can make his own discoveries! Christian Emigholz

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