“Groove alla Turca” brings together the traditional rhythms of Turkey with afro-american musical forms such as jazz, blues, funk, hip-hop and soul. Turkish percussion virtuoso Burhan Öçal and his Turkish band join forces with bass master Jamaaladeen Tacuma and some of the finest musicians from New York and Philly (Art Baron, Jack Walrath, Ben Schachter and Daryl Burge to name a few) to create a funky sound with many colors and intricate details. Natasha Atlas’ ethereal voice is heard on four tracks, where her Arabic vocals flow meticulously with the groove.
“Groove Alla Turca” is a project that brings together two worlds apart; the world of Burhan Öçal, who grew up playing traditional rhythms of Turkey, with that of Jamaaledeen Tacuma, a world of jazz, blues, funk and soul. This is a meeting of percussion and bass, rhythm and groove, of traditional players on kanun, oud and clarinet, darbuka and violin. Jamaaladeen Tacuma is joined by some of the finest musicians from New York and Philadelphia, Jack Walrath, a long time associate of Mingus, is the trompet in the horn section. Art Baron and Ben Schachter complete the front-line on the trombone and tenor, Daryl Burge and Rick Iannacone, both from Phili, are the force behind, on the drums and the guitar. It was a destiny to have Natacha Atlas on four tracks, as she happened to be in town during the recording sessions. Her presence seems all planned as her Arabic vocals flow wih the groove. The result is a funky sound with many colors, a big sound with many details. This is jazz, funk, ethnic, tradition. This is groove in a Turkish way.
Burhan Öçal, born in Kırklareli, a town in Thrace, was introduced to percussion through his father and to religious vocal music through his mother. As well as “seraille” and folk music, he was also influenced by Turkish neo-classical music. He is a master of all kinds of percussion such as “darbuka”, “kös” (kettledrum), “kudüm” and “bendir” also of Turkish stringed instruments such as “divan-saz”, tanbur and “ud” (oud). Combining Turkish classical and folk influences with western classical music, or Turkish folk music with jazz, he performed with celebrated pianist Maria Joao Prires, Joe Zawinul, Eliot Fisk; among others he has a duo with pianist Peter Waters and generally performs in and out of Turkey with his İstanbul Oriental Ensemble. His first recording with İstanbul Oriental Ensemble, “Gypsy Rum” won the 1995 German Record Critics’ Award. The second recoring “Sultan’s Secret Door” also won the German Record Critics’s Award in 1997. “Jardin Ottoman” received Prix Choc in 1996.