Pianist Kerem Gorsev reaches creative high with mix of classical music and jazz on new CD


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Don't believe the myth: Thirteen is not an unlucky number. For pianist Kerem Görsev, his 13th album, Therapy, may be his best, the high point of a musical career that stretches back nearly 20 years. In 1995, Görsev released his debut, Hands & Lips. Since then, Görsev has sharpened his hybrid of classical music and jazz, not to mention expanding the sonic range of his compositions. For Therapy, Görsev has the powerhouse backup of the London Philharmonia Orchestra as well as top-of-the-line musicians like saxophonist Ernie Watts, bassist Kağan Yıldız, and drummer Ferit Odman. Together they create a wide-screen sound suitable for the cinema but intimate enough for solitary listening.

Görsev was born in Istanbul, Turkey in 1961. Receiving his education in music at the Istanbul Municipal Conservatory and the Istanbul State Conservatory in the late '60s, it was jazz that awakened Görsev's imagination to the possibilities of art. He began to perform at numerous clubs in Istanbul with local and foreign musicians. In the past few decades Görsev has participated in jam sessions with some of jazz's iconic figures such as Kenny Garrett, Pat Metheny, and Wynton Marsalis.

However, such a noteworthy résumé has little weight if there's no material to give it substance. Thankfully, Görsev's impressive talent, his seemingly effortless way with stirring, indelible melodies, is consistently displayed throughout his extensive discography. On Therapy, though, Görsev raises the ceiling, reaching creative and emotional highs. On “Sunday," Görsev strikes various moods. Caught in the whirlpool of haunting orchestration, Görsev's piano is at first reflective but then lightens up; it's as if he is illustrating the view of the sun as it gently rises in the morning, peering from the dying evening's darkness before blooming like a bright, yellow rose. The blissful beauty of Therapy is a feast for the ears but also for the eyes of the imagination.

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