Premiere: Dave Liebman Featured On Mehmet Sanlikol’s ‘A Vicious Murder’


Mehmet Sanlikol’s “A Vicious Murder,” from his upcoming suite, tells part of poet Rumi’s tale.

(Photo: Courtesy of Artist)

Commissioned by reedist Dave Liebman and supported through grants from the New England Conservatory, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music and The American Turkish Society, Mehmet Sanlikol’s The Rise Up: Stories Of Strife, Struggle And Inspiration spans continents, cultures and genres.

The nine-piece suite, released Aug. 21, aims to tell the stories of the Sufi poet Rumi, the expulsion of the Jewish people from Spain in 1492 and the embrace of Islam by Mimar Sinan—who, during the 16th century, designed mosques across the Ottoman Empire.

A video for “A Vicious Murder,” a work from the suite that tells part of Rumi’s tale, premieres below.

“Dave could have gone to many other jazz composers, but he came to me. And I took this very seriously. In fact, I gave this composition all I got, as it truly was the greatest honor of my life to work with Dave on this one-of-a-kind project,” Sanlikol said. “He, of course, made every single note I wrote sing in the most lyrical way possible, and the ones I didn’t write were improvised beautifully with his unmistakable voice.”

Combining the histories of seemingly disparate yet intertwined people while insinuating the music and instrumentation of the Middle East into a big-band jazz setting, Sanlikol relates stories of redemption and newfound grace while poignantly arranging a unique constellation of instrumentation—one that provides Liebman ample space to help narrate the story. DB

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August 2021
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