hese WDR recordings of Mustafa Kandirali capture the foremost clarinetist of Turkey at the pinnacle of his musical career. Kandirali, as no performer before him, embodies the melting pot that is Turkey – a bridge between the multifaceted musical cultures of East and West. His astounding absorption and synthesis of diverse jazz idioms earned him the nickname "Benny Goodman of the Near East". No wonder that, after hearing Mustafa Kandirali play in Istanbul, Louis Armstrong immediately seized the opportunity to jam with him.
His mastery is underscored by his playful treatment of seemingly disparate elements of popular and classical music, belly dance and jazz, which he never fails to drive to the peak of ecstatic perfection. Packed football stadiums attest to the fact that many consider him to be the last great soloist on this instrument.
On these WDR recordings, Kandirali is accompanied by the kanun, (a trapezoid zither), darbuka drums, bongos, and oud. During a subsequent performance in Düsseldorf, this carefully groomed ensemble caused such a furore that they were literally held hostage until they played a full hour’s worth of encores!
International Phonographic Award