“Sanlikol avoids every world music cliché on Turkish Hipster, delving into microtones and rhythmic-harmonic dynamics.” – David Luhrssen, Shepherd Express

“In concept and execution this is an excellent recording.” – Stuart Nicholson, Jazzwise

“… it is exquisite music, superbly written and performed.” – Jack Bowers, All About Jazz


“Turkish Hipster: Tales from Swing to Psychedelic” (featuring Anat Cohen, Antonio Sanchez & Miguel Zenon) took about two years to complete with 7 different recording sessions and countless hours of post-production. It’s an important musical statement that is inclusive of non-jazz audiences with Hip Hop and Turkish folk/rock influences while including a number of complex compositions with musical innovations (such as all American trumpets & saxes playing precise Turkish microtones for the first time). We believe that the kind of cosmopolitanism found in this album presents many worlds without seeking to reduce or standardize them.


Commissioned by NEA Jazz Master Dave Liebman “The Rise Up: Stories of Strife, Struggle and Inspiration” is an extended composition that combines traditional Turkish instruments and voices with the jazz language in a cosmopolitan and an internalized fashion. Sanlıkol has been saddened and personally affected by the recent political turmoil and malignant stereotyping of Muslims and minority communities in the US lately. As a result, he decided to construct this piece around three episodes from Middle Eastern history which chronicle dark and traumatic events followed by human inspiration and/or transcendental creation in order to demonstrate my belief and hope that we, humanity will rise up and above these difficult times too… Not in a million years did he think that this message, central to this composition, will become relevant now during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests! Nevertheless, Sanlıkol’s position remains: “I am certain that we will rise up once again and manage to inspire generations to come.”

Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol released his critically-acclaimed first album with his unique jazz orchestra/combo, Whatsnext? in 2014. This self-titled album was was followed by “Resolution” featuring Anat Cohen, Dave Liebman, Tiger Okoshi and Antonio Sanchez in 2016. Sanlıkol pairs Turkish instruments such as zurna (double reed wind), ney(end-blown flute), kös (large kettledrums) and nekkare (small kettledrums) with the jazz orchestra/combo to perform his Turkish music-influenced compositions, in which Turkish makam (mode) and usul (rhythmic cycles) are intertwined with contemporary jazz as well as film noir influenced music. Lately, Sanlıkol adds a new discovery to his already eclectic instrumentation: a Continuum Fingerboard, which is a flat-surfaced synthesizer that allows him to play the characteristic Middle Eastern microtones and ornamentations unavailable to him on a standard keyboard.

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whatsnext coverPurchase/Listen to the self-titled first album here.

OnlineArtWorkPurchase/Listen to “Resolution” here.