Boston-based pianist, composer and noted scholar Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol released his new album An Elegant Ritual (DÜNYA) in July 2021, enriching his compositional portfolio with an innovative approach to the traditional piano trio format. Sanlıkol’s new music video for An Elegant Ritual’s fourth track, “Lost Inside” is a showcase of his arresting vision, here conveying the particular kind of frustration one feels when becoming disoriented.
James Heazlewood-Dale joins the trio on acoustic bass while George Lernis supplies drums, gongs and bendir (a wooden-framed drum typical in the music of the Middle East). An Elegant Ritual has a central composition in four movements modeled after the Sufi whirling (Mevlevi) dervish ritual (ayin), with influences from John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme. The spiritual journey that is depicted throughout these four movements begins with “Lost Inside”, a piece which portrays a person having lost direction in life/not being able to see clearly what’s ahead.
This impassioned story is one that Sanlıkol points out as common among musicians, including himself. “These feelings are familiar to me from the late 90s when I remember having to confront them as a very successful student jazz composer with not necessarily a clear career path ahead,” Sanlıkol shares. “My savior ended up being the discovery of my roots through which I connected with Turkish Sufism.”
Sanlıkol’s improvisational judgment is ingrained on “Lost Inside,” alongside the interplay of his rhythm section. The product is the artist’s assertion of what it means to exist, a stunning display of truth and its expansiveness.
With thanks to Lydia Liebman for this text
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