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İlhan Erşahin

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Born in Stockholm to Swedish and Turkish parents but raised mostly in Turkey, Ilhan Ersahin fell in love with jazz growing up and moved to the U.S. after high school to pursue a career as a jazz saxophonist. Ersahin studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1983 before studying with saxman Joe Lovano and making New York his permanent home. Ersahin, whose influences on the tenor include John Coltrane and Joe Henderson, soon found himself gigging regularly in Manhattan and has played with trumpeters Eddie Henderson and Wallace Roney, as well as pianist George Cables and bassist Ben Allison. By the late 1990s, Ersahin had recorded two albums: 1996's She Said for the Turkish Pozitif label, and 1997's Home on Golden Horn. Ersahin has said that Middle Eastern culture had a greater impact on his music than Scandinavian culture, and to be sure, the influence of Turkish music has done its part to enrich his CDs and live performances. In 1998, Ersahin explored club and dance music with his side project, Wax Poetic, who combined electronica with jazz and Middle Eastern elements. ~ Alex Henderson


03 September 1965 in Turkey

Years Active:

'90s, '00s