Faces & Places (Far & Here) Since 2003, Turkish composer and pianist Fahir Atakoglu has made seven records, among them Live in Istanbul; East Side
Story, an 18-part ballet score; and three jazzy releases. This disc opens with the first of 11 Atakoglu tunes, “Into You.” This is funky, high-energy stuff: layered drums, bass, and keyboards, plus a wild tenor solo by Bob Mintzer. After the slow, summery “High Street” comes the first half of the title. “Faces” starts with harplike acoustic piano, followed by light, beautiful lines from the piano and guitar in unison, and then choruses of voices (apparently Atakoglu, multitracked) and an extended 14/8 section with piano and strings. The mix is gently complex, rich, and gorgeous. Six tracks down is “... And Places,” a much subtler piece featuring flamenco guitarist Rene Toledo and Atakoglu in a mood at once melancholy and fervent. The standout song, “Rio da Noite,” begins with Atakoglu, waxing exotic (think Return to Forever) and then opens into a hard swinger with the leader insane-busy on keyboards, Mintzer playing soprano, Romero Lubambo adding beautiful guitar, and just dazzling work by percussionist Rogerio Boccato. This music is usually exuberant, with an opulent layering of instruments that also include John Patitucci’s bass, Randy Brecker’s trumpet, Wayne Krantz’s electric guitar, and Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez’s drums.