Why Emirgan? Born and raised in Istanbul, I have started exploring my city with my friends and visited Emirgan a few times, especially during spring time when we couldn’t resist skipping school and enjoying ourselves at Çınaraltı tea house. Around the same time, year 1976-77, my childhood friend, Cevat’s late father Kemal Amca would also take us to Emirgan and enjoy himself while we went swimming. Several years have passed and 2001, a friend asked us if we would be interested in a historic but rundown house in Emirgan. My wife, Pinar, and I went to look at it and in the next 10 minutes, we became part of the Emirgan community. This place is still like seaside town in a big city. When I am at home, I spend a significant part of my time at Rıfat Ağabey’s Çınarlı Café. This is where I reflect and make plans to realize my dreams. On one of those days, a melody that came to my mind when I was relaxing at Çınarlı Café, the beautiful place the most when I am out of Istanbul, made me go running home and compose “Emirgan”. And my new album project started with that.
I started to rehearse the pieces with Ferit Odman and Kağan Yıldız, who joined my group in 2006 and we also started to play them at the sound checks for our other concerts. Then, we contacted Ernie Watts, a renowned musician that we had the pleasure of working together at my earlier album, “Therapy” that was recorded in 2010 with Philharmonia Orchestra in London. He came to Istanbul and we had to very high volume rehearsals at home. Emirgan residents were the first ones to hear the album. We had our tour after the rehearsals and finally recorded the album on September 21st, 2014. All nine pieces were done in five hours. This is the story of “Emirgan”!
Mr. Barron — for legendary pianist Kenny Barron, Marathi Island – magnificent island off Patmos Island, Maasai Mara –Kenya’s national park and wildlife reserve, Summer Breeze – Sweet breeze of the Aegean Coast, V8 — Sound of the American car engines that I love, Coltrane – my composition for John Coltrane, Weekend — A happy Sunday morning, Emirgan – Home , Flying Notes—One of my earlier compositions.
For this album, I want to thank Ernie Watts for taking me to a musical wonderland and Ferit Odman and Kağan Yıldız for their musicality, performance and friendship during the recordings as well as their contribution to the album’s mix. My final thanks to our sound engineer Alp Çoksoyluer.