On his brand-new sophomore release, Fusiolicious, Turkish Cypriot bassist Oytun Ersan has an all-star band on hand to present seven cooking original tunes. The music is expertly executed on an intriguing blend of electric and acoustic instruments, featuring giants of jazz fusion, including drummer Dave Weckl, saxophonist Eric Marienthal, and keyboardists Gerry Etkins and Gary Husband.
“Versatile” doesn’t begin to describe the prodigiously talented bassist, composer and educator Oytun Ersan. Since his mid-teens he has been a valued member of the International Nicosia Municipality Orchestra, the largest band in his home town in Northern Cyprus. The ensemble performs a varied repertoire including classical, regional and seasonal works composed by the masters of the genres. But when left to his own devices, Oytun Ersan is a master composer in his own right, as evidenced by the top-flight funk and progressive jazz presented on his aptly named second album, Fusiolicious.
Besides conducting workshops and appearing at festivals around the globe, Oytun has performed and recorded with a range of acclaimed artists including trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, trumpeter Rex Richardson, Nigerian singer/songwriter Ola Onabule, and many others.
Joining bassist Oytun Ersan on Fusioliciousare drummer Dave Weckl (Modern Drummer Hall of Fame; Mike Stern, Jeff Lorber, Chick Corea), saxophonist Eric Marienthal (Dave Grusin, George Duke, Yellowjackets), keyboardists Gary Husband (Allan Holdsworth, John McLaughlin, Billy Cobham) and Gerry Etkins (Billy Cobham, Kevin Eubanks, Dean Brown), guitarists Dean Brown (Marcus Miller, Brecker Brothers, Dave Sanborn), Mike Miller (Chick Corea, Quincy Jones, Yellowjackets), Brett Garsed (John Farnham, Nelson), and Okan Ersan (Al di Meola, Chick Corea, Robben Ford);trombonist Gökay Gökşen, trumpeter Utku Akyol, violinist Karen Briggs (David Grusin, Chaka Khan, Yanni), and vocalists Simge Akdoğu andAytunç Akdoğu.
Highlights from Fusioliciousinclude:
“Oh, That Butterfly,” floats like the winged beauty it’s named for, but also stings like a bee, with a contagious energy that defies the listener to sit still. Inspired by the butterfly logo on his Fodera guitar, Oytun dedicates the tune to the maker of his beloved instrument.
“Rise Up” is a shape-shifter of a song. It’s tender violin opening has a folkloric delicacy, but soon the entire band joins in with an anthemic intensity.
The soloists shine on “Rooms,” in particular the brilliant sax soaring over an ominously funky bass line. Heartfelt vocals and a spare solo piano are spotlighted in the soulful “Sacred Solace,” a compelling standout in its simplicity and beauty.
With his exciting new release, Oytun Ersan once again proves himself a jazz fusion force to be reckoned with. Any fans of progressive jazz, fusion and funk who aren’t familiar with this bassist and composer owe it to themselves to give Fusioliciousa listen.
Oytun Ersan Fusiolicious (Self-produced ) Street Date: June 1, 2018
Oytun Ersan (Bass), Dave Weckl (Drums), Eric Marienthal (Saxophone), Gary Husband (Keys) ,Gerry Etkins (Keys), Dean Brown (Guitar), Mike Miller (Guitar), Brett Garsed (Guitar), Okan Ersan (Guitar), Gökay Gökşen (Trombone), Utku Akyol (Trumpet), Karen Briggs (Violin), Simge Akdoğu (Vocals), Aytunç Akdoğu (Vocals)