An Elegant Ritual
Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol
By Kabir Sehgal
Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol is a creative genius. Full stop. There is quite simply nobody like him in music today. He blends contemporary modern jazz and his Turkish aesthetic with dexterity. Sanlıkol’s music draws upon many influences to create a lush and interconnected sonic landscape. He has created his own sound, a fingerprint in the jazz world which so many have come to love and appreciate about him.
His latest album An Elegant Ritual is truly an awakening. From the first notes, you know that you’re in for an adventure, not just one that spans East and West. But that of a cognitive leap towards what music can be.
“The 7th Day,” the opening salvo of the album, features Sanlıkol scat-singing his heart out, only to be enveloped by his incandescent performance on the piano. While this is a trio album, the project feels ever richer, as Sanlıkol’s multiplicity is on full display with this soaring voice and performance of various instruments. Further broadening the scope of this trio album is the title track “An Elegant Ritual,” which incorporates Indonesian gongs. That musical elements from the South Pacific have drifted onto this project reveals Sanlıkol’s capacity to cast widely and to render beautifully.
An Elegant Ritual reminded me of the joy of staying-up-late and listening to music. Sanlıkol’s production is intriguing and masterful.