Review by Fiona Mactaggart
In all seriousness, fasten your seatbelts for bassist Oytun Ersan’s high energy, sometimes Zappa-reminiscent, funk-heavy jazz fusion new release Fusiolicious. It’s a blast, and you may need a lie down after.
Nicosia based Turkish-Cypriot Ersan is renowned on his home island for his composition, teaching and playing, notably in the International Nicosia Municipality Orchestra which plays both Western classical and regional music.
In this entirely self-penned second album, the material is perfectly interpreted by an international group of 13 top-level musicians whom Ersan has gathered together – names such as Dave Weckl (drums), Eric Marienthal (saxophone), and Gary Husband (keys). With the addition of esteemed producer Ric Fierabracci, it is no surprise that the end product is so successful.
Whilst most tracks start tranquilly and sparsely, Ersan is not to be held back. Inevitably the rest of the band soon break from their leashes, racing off in formation into beautifully executed, lusciously funky jazz fusion.
The entire album is uniformly strong so it is hard to pick standouts, however particular mention can be made of “Rise Up”, with its lush piano entrance, joined 50 seconds in by Karen Brigg‘s violin. At 2 minutes the rest of the crew leap in, culminating in some spectacular drumming from Weckl in the final 2 minutes.
Meanwhile “Rooms’”opens with some lovely, gentle guitar over a smir of keys, the breaks soon coming off for some scorching sax from Marienthal, again during the last 2 minutes.
An interesting choice for the end piece “Sacred Solace” is vocalists Simge and Aytunc Akdogu, sparely accompanied by Husband’s keys and Briggs’ violin. This brief finale is wistful and slow, with an eccentric central section which sounds like the tape played in reverse.
This quality of music deserves to be heard live so it is to be hoped that Ersan and colleagues will be able to tour with it. Festival programmers out there, take note!