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Istanbul Improv Sessions May 5'th'

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Mark Lotz & Islak Köpek

Mark Alban Lotz: Istanbul Improv Sessions May 5th (llr 035) and Mark Alban Lotz & Islak Köpek: Istanbul Improv Sessions May 4th (Evil Rabbit Records ERR 16)

More below the Jazz radar than its equivalent in any city of similar size, Istanbul’s Free Music scene is still evolving. Nevertheless, as these demonstrated by these CDs, recorded on subsequent days by a Dutch-based German flautist plus local Turkish improvisers, many of the city’s players are ready for prime time.
A bandleader and composer who plays most members of the flute family and has worked with musicians as different as the Zapp String Quartet, vocalist Fay Victor and trombonist Wolter Wierbos, German Mark Alban Lotz is cast in a distinct role on either CD. Although each intermingles the flautist’s playing with subsets of local musicians, those on May 5 are a motley group who often work in different combinations. The date from the day previously however, has Lotz alongside members of Islak Köpek (IK), who have regularly played together since 2005, including a festival appearance with French percussionist Lê Quan Ninh.
Because of this, Istanbul Improv Sessions May 4th, avoid unneeded echoes of sessions which more often than not try to shoehorn together contributions from different local players and a visiting soloist into an untenable mixture. Full band tracks such as “Our”, “Mouths” and “Us” – especially then latter two – capture an organized unit comfortable with novel sonic impulses. “Us” for instance balances Lotz’s low-frequency flute vibrations against split-tone slurps and ney-like yelps from IK’s two tenor saxophonists: American Robert Reigle and Volkan Terzioğlu. As this exercise in lighter and darker reed vibrations plays out, the jousting is underscored by finger-style patterning from guitarist Şevket Akinci and American cellist Kevin Davis, plus percussive input from Korhan Erel’s laptop programming. Erel’s programming is most distinctively electronic on “Mouth” when it creates signal-processed gongs to complete the sound picture that mingles expressive reed blows plus tremolo transverse flutters.
In an analogous fashion Lotz’s experience with any of the IK members demonstrates a similar comfort level. For instance, Watery sax vibrations plus flute twitters are propelled by a spiccato cello riff on “We”; while Lotz’s balanced bass flute textures nestle comfortably within sparkling music-box-like echoes from the laptop on “Mouthstrap”. Familiar with preparations himself, Lotz’s wide vibrato creates multiphonic echoes perhaps further processed by Erel.
If only such cohesion was demonstrated the next day. Not that the musicianship is lesser among Lotz’s six collaborators here. After all some of them have played with direct stylists such as saxophonists Peter Brötzmann and Evan Parker, respectively masters of bombast and chance. In any case the most dexterous improvisations involve the visitor with clarinetist Alexandre Toisoul, trumpeter Can Ömer Uygan and guitarist Umut Çağlar. “Ursuppe” finds the guitarist’s slurred fingering and irregular flanges providing an ever-shifting backing for the intermingling of trumpet grace notes, contrapuntal clarinet peeps and bass flute sonority. Herding errant timbres together with descending strums, Çağlar guides the horns’ wiggles and pants to a satisfying conclusion.√ “Open Air Party” is equally organized as fuzz-tone-encrusted guitar pumps plus rubato trumpet runs create a contrapuntal response to Lotz’s legato lines. Eventually aviary-suggesting clarinet licks add to the piece’s overall lyricism. Despite juddering flute textures, non-Western-styled reed explorations and steadying rhythm work from bassist Michael Hays and drummer Florent Merlet however, most other interactions appear more tentative, no matter the remaining personnel. Instructively, “Friction”, the only other completely satisfying track, involves all the participants. Committed to express every abrasive timbre that can be pulled, pushed and whapped from an instrument, the cacophonous result of mouthpiece squeezed split tones, twittering bird calls, buzzing guitar reverb and brassy, flat-line trumpeting becomes as exciting as it is impudent.
With both these discs disseminated past the confines of Turkey, Lotz helps to show off the skills of Istanbul improvisers. Islak Köpek in toto is evidentially ready for more western exposure, as individually are some players on the other CD. (Ken Waxman, January 25 2012 http://www.jazzword.com/reviews/106339)

Track Listing: May 5th: 1. North Star 2. Animal rites 3. R.R.K. Rahasaan 4. Ursuppe 5. Küsendem 6. Dr. No 7. Open Air Party 8. Friction 9. Sintactics 10 Soraster
Personnel: May 5th: Can Ömer Uygan (trumpet, analog effects); Mark Alban Lotz (piccolo, c, alto, bass and prepared flutes); Alexandre Toisoul (clarinet); Umut Çağlar (guitar and analog effects); Michael Hays (bass) and Florent Merlet (drums)
Track Listing: May 4th: 1. We 2. Mouths 3. Mouthstrap 4. Stop 5. Throat 6. Us 7. Scared 8. Talking 9. Down 10. Short 11. Sacred 12. Mouthstrap 13. Diamond 14. Our 15. Mouthwater
Personnel: May 4th: Mark Alban Lotz (piccolo, c, alto, bass and prepared flutes); Robert Reigle and Volkan Terzioğlu (tenor saxophones); Şevket Akinci (guitar): Kevin W. Davis (cello) and Korhan Erel (laptop and controllers)

Istanbullmprov Sessions May 4th and May 5'th

Evil Rabbit Records! ToonDist!Loplop IMPRO ****
In mei 2010 had fluitist Mark Lotz een vruchtbaar verblijf in Istanbul dat zich steeds meer ontwikkelt tot een internationale muziekmetropool. Vreemd genoeg zijn deze twee concerten op verschillende labels uitgebracht. May 4th is een samenwerking met de band lslak Köpek. Deze groep klinkt met zijn ongewone bezetting vrij organisch, dat wil zeggen dat de elektronica natuurlijk ingepast wordt in de akoestiek van de overige instrumenten. Zo komen de percussieve elementen ook voor rekening van laptopspeIer Korhan Erel. Het kwintet is een Turks- Amerikaanse aangelegenheid met verder twee tenor saxen (Robert Reigle en Volkan Terzioglu), een gitaar (Zevket Akinci) en een cello (Kevin W. Davis). De stukken zijn geïmproviseerd, maar worden wel bedachtzaam opgebouwd met een duidelijke jazzsound, terwijl de musici elkaar goed de ruimte geven. De fluiten van Lotz, van piccolo tot basfluit, produceren zo mogelijk een nog grotere klankbreedte op May 5'th, waarop hij met een ander, gemêleerder gezelschap improviseert. Hier is de muziek minder eenduidig en wordt in wisselende bezettingen gespeeld met een klarinettist (Alexandre Toisoul), een trompettist (Can Öner Uygan), een gitarist (Umut Çaglar), een bassist (Michael Hays) en een drummer (Florent Merlet). Na een vrij strak, sfeervol triostuk wordt het samenspel al gauw informeler en losser. (Ken Vos, nov./dec. 2011 www.jazzism.nl)

Mark Alban Lotz

De Utrechtse fluitist Mark Alban Lotz was in mei vorig jaar uitgebreid aanwezig in Istanbul. Binnenkort verschijnt er nog een tweede cd van zijn muzikale ontmoetingen in de Turkse metropool bij Evil Rabbit Records. Allereerst is er 'Istanbul Improv Sessions May 5th', met duo's, trio's, kwartetten en collectieve improvisaties met een vijftal musici van de lokale improvisatiescene. Veel van de muziek speelt zich af in de klankimprovisatiehoek. Daar is Lotz als een vis in het water, want met zijn arsenaal aan fluiten weet hij de wonderbaarlijkste geluiden te produceren. In de openingstrack gebeurt dat in combinatie met de analoge elektronica van trompettist Can Ömer Uygan (met de nodige late Milesassociaties) en gitarist Umut Çaglar. Mooie, atmosferische muziek die zich onttrekt aan ritmiek en tempo. Wat verder opvalt, is attent luistergedrag. Er zijn hier geen ego's aan het botsen of mannetjesputters zich aan het bewijzen. Ook wanneer de andere drie (klarinettist Alexandre Toisoul, bassist Michael Hays en slagwerker Florent Merlet) zich erbij voegen, wordt het nergens een muzikale brij of een richtingloos gefreak. Alle zes hebben ze subtiliteit hoog in het vaandel, en vinden ze een goede balans tussen akoestische en elektronische klankmanipulatie. Zo blijkt dat improvisatie anno 2010 een internationaal gesproken taal is. (Herman te Loo, Jazzflits, April 11, 2011)

Sprankelend klankschilderij

De Duits-Nederlandse Mark Alban Lotz is niet alleen een uitstekend fluitist, hij beschikt ook over scherpe, open oren.
Zo heeft hij naast jazz ook Cubaanse en Senegalese muziek gespeeld, en vrije improvisatie. Dat laatste overheerst op deze cd, vorig jaar mei opgenomen in Istanbul, waar Lotz een maand lang met lokale muzikanten samenwerkte.
In diverse samenstellingen, met een trompettist, klarinettist, gitarist, bassist en slagwerker, worden er abstracte stukken gespeeld, in geconcentreerde interactie, met veel lieflijke of beeldende geluiden, grappige stemmetjes, en hier en daar een flard melodie of zelfs een swingende 'walking bass'.

Het lange openingsstuk, North Star, is heel geslaagd en atmosferisch: lange, statische tonen die langzaam openbloeien tot een sprankelend klankschilderij door dwarsfluit, trompet en elektrische gitaar, aangevuld met mooie analoog-elektronische effecten. Elders is de frasering wat springeriger, maar het geheel blijft verrassend toegankelijk.
(By Frank van Herk, De Volkskrant, May 2011)

Mark Alban Lotz: Istanbul Improv Sessions May 5th

German-born flautist Mark Alban Lotz grew up in Thailand and Uganda, and has had an interesting career path. He began playing the flute when he was 17, and went on to study jazz and classical music as well as contemporary musical idioms. His music is nourished by all three forms, but he also has a healthy approach to open improvisation and various strands of world music.
Lotz has been shaping his professional career from the time he formed his first band, Albanism Quartet, in 1988. He has constantly searched for something new and different; even as he blended his various influences, he was seeking new pastures. This led him into several world music concepts, from playing with the Global Village Orchestra to collaborating with Indian classical musician Raj Mohan. To make it all the more germane, he played with some of the finest improvisers around including trombonist Johannes Bauer, drummer Han Bennink and bassist Vitold Rek. Here, he teams up with an eclectic band of improvisers in Istanbul to forge interactions that are both articulate and intriguing.

The musicians are of a mindset: inquisitive, and ready to grab on to an idea and extrapolate. It is the perfect setting for duo, trio, quartet improvisations and collective engagement. "North Star" navigates an introspective line to resolution. Lotz— the minstrel, beckoning the others through the changing consonance of his flute—initiates the dialogue with trumpeter Can Ömer Uygan, and electric guitarist Umut Çaglar. The ambit is expanded in Uygan's forlorn trumpet and the effects injected by Çaglar into his electric guitar. The atmosphere turns electric as the pulse continues to change intensity and trajectory. Sound is captured and manifested into startling shapes and becomes not only a harbinger of the essence of this record but also the messenger of the power of invention.

The collective improvisations "Friction" and "Sintactics" move in two distinct directions. The first is propulsive building lines of searing intensity that cross paths, intertwine and explode. It's all heady and exciting, but the slivers of calm that float in and out add not only to the body but to the impact. The modulated discourse of the latter leads to a more open structure. Each player adds to the tableau, shifting, turning and sparking an ensemble of motifs that celebrate cohesive logic. Lotz fills the context of "Dr. No" with a powerful harmonic incursion. His approach is dynamic on this duet with drummer Florent Merlet, who adds the right accents and shades to build a glow below Lotz's vivid impulses.

Lotz and his team mates transcend the ordinary in creating a host of flexible dynamics and harmonic inventions to make for an affecting experience.

Track Listing: North Star; Animal Rites; R.R.K. Rahasaan; Ursuppe; Kusendem; Dr. No; Open Air Party; Friction; Sintactics; Soroaster.

Personnel: Mark Alban Lotz: piccolo, c-flute, bass flute, alto flute, prepared flute; Alexandre Toisul: clarinet; Can Omer Uygan: trumpet, analog effects; Umut Caglar: electric guitar, analog effects; Michael Hays: upright bass; Florent Merlet: drums.
Record Label: Lop Lop Records
(By Jerry D'Souza, All About Jazz, may 18, 2011 www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=39480)

Mark Alban Lotz

Mark Alban Lotz is een buitengewoon avontuurlijke fluitist die al jaren vanuit Nederland opereert, maar die vooral heel veel op avontuur is, op muzikaal gebied. Hij was nog niet zo lang geleden te horen met de Afrikaanse Omar Ka in de band A Fula's Call, hij maakt soms zijn eigen vorm van free jazz, waarin ook altijd wereldmuziekelementen zijn terug te vinden, en hij is altijd te vinden voor een spannende avond muziek maken met gelijkgezinden die ook het avontuur aandurven, op een manier die ook voor de luisteraar interessant en spannend is.

De Istandul Improv Sessions May 5th laten vrije improvisaties horen van fluitist Lotz (piccolo, c- alt- bas- en geprepareerde fluiten) met klarinettist Alexandre Toisoul, trompettist Can Ömer Uygan, elektrisch gitarist Umut Çaglar, bassist Michael Hays en drummer Florent Merlet. Ze speelden in verschillende bezettingen, en de cd die als resultaat van de sessies werd uitgebracht is spannend van begin tot eind. En bovendien op momenten erg grappig. Luister maar eens naar het fragment van het slotnummer Soroaster, met Lotz, Hays en Merlet. Eigenlijk kun je deze muziek niet goed ergens onderbrengen - "freejazzwereldfusie met een knipoog" misschien? Voor iedere muziekliefhebber met open oren en zin in avontuur.
(Moors Magazine, May 2011)

Mark Alban Lotz: Istanbul Improv Sessions May 5th

Istanbul Improv Sessions May 5th is an apt, if rather prosaic, title for this collection of improvisations, all of which were recorded in one day during 2010 in Istanbul. The leader and producer of the sessions is flautist Mark Alban Lotz, a German-born resident of Holland with over a dozen albums to his name. Lotz' collaborators all come from the Istanbul improvisation scene which, on the evidence of this album, seems to be full of invention, ability and humor.
Lotz is an emphatic presence across all ten tracks, with the other musicians joining him in an array of combinations from duets to sextets. This variation in lineups helps to ensure an ever-shifting set of moods and sounds. There's the almost laugh-out-loud humor of "Soroaster" and Roland Kirk tribute "R.R.K Rahasaan" both featuring Michael Hays on bass and some uncredited vocalizing, the tensions of "North Star" or "Ursuppe," and the light-heartedness of "Animal Rites" with its mix of Alexandre Toisoul's clarinet, Lotz' flute and Can Ömer Uygan's trumpet.

Much of the contrast in mood is due to the use of effects and electric guitar to create tension and mystery—Umut Çağlar's rasping, metallic, guitar makes parts of "Küsendem" and "Open Air Party" genuinely unsettling. The improvisations that are wholly performed on acoustic instruments are generally lighter and more welcoming. "Dr. No" is the exception: a spacious duet on which Lotz' hard-toned flute and Florent Merlet's sparse percussion set up an almost threatening atmosphere.

Lotz's Bite! (LopLop Records, 2009) was inspired by fish. While this album sports a similar fish-related cover design, the music has no such inspiration, but it's filled with inventive improvisations nonetheless. At times troubling, at others funny and warm, the music on Istanbul Improv Sessions May 5th has impressive depth and richness.

Track Listing: North Star; Animal Rites; R.R.K. Rahasaan; Ursuppe; Küsendem; Dr. No; Open Air Party; Friction; Sintactics; Soroaster.

Personnel: Mark Alban Lotz: piccolo, c-flute, alto-flute, bass-flute, prepared flute; Alexandre Toisoul: clarinet (2, 4, 5, 7-9); Can Ömer Uygan: trumpet, analog effects (1, 2, 4, 5, 7-9); Umut Çağlar: electric guitar, analog effects (1, 4, 5, 7-9); Michael Hays: bass (3, 8-10); Florent Merlet: drums (6, 8-10).

Record Label: LopLop Records | Style: Beyond Jazz
(Bruce Lindsay, All About Jazz, May 22, 2011)

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