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Renowned Turkish drummer/composer Ferit Odman discusses roots of new Tadd Dameron tribute album
(Published: January 23, 2016)

Q: When did you learn how to play drums and who taught you?

A: I was 11 when I first started playing drums, and I'm self-taught banging on pillows and everything when I first started. Then a long journey of jazz education started: Sweden, Istanbul, New York. I have a Masters Degree in Music (Jazz Performance) from WPUNJ.

Q: What inspired your passion for music?

A: I'd like to say I got into music personally because I picked up the sticks and taught myself to play along to tunes when I was about 11. Jazz LPs has always been spinning in our house; so fortunate about that environment.

Q: What artists influenced you the most while you were growing up?
A: I think Max Roach has been my biggest influence, but, of course Art Blakey, Roy Haynes, Philly Joe Jones, and Tony Williams are all my heroes.

Q: Who are the other musicians in your group and how did you meet them?

A: The great Peter Washington has always been my first call for the bass chair; he played on all three albums of mine. I love him. Terell Stafford is on trumpet; this is the second time that we are working together, and he is one of the best trumpeters in the jazz world today. It's the first time that I worked with Danny Grissett. He has become well-established in the jazz world, and it's been a great pleasure to work with him. The string sextet played beautifully and the arranger/conductor David O'Rourke is one of the go-to people for swinging string arrangements in NYC. He wrote some amazing stuff.

Q: When did you discover Tadd Dameron and what inspired you to record a tribute album to him?

A: I don't even remember when I first heard Tadd's music but surely he is my favorite jazz composer. Dexter Gordon called him as the "romanticist" of the bop movement; that is so true. And I have always wanted to do some kind of tribute to him. I would never imagine that I'll do a tribute album in this caliber, all analog with strings. The result is beyond my dreams, and I'm so happy about it.

Q: What are the unique qualities to Dameron's compositions that attract you the most?

A: Quoting Paul Combs (The Author of Dameronia), who wrote the liner notes for my album: "Ferit Odman has, perhaps intuitively, brought out an aspect of Dameron's music that the composer himself might well have wanted to explore to a greater degree, if only his all-too-short life allowed." That is exactly how I feel, too. I think Tadd would write many more string arrangements if he lived longer. His music is very romantic, yet has all the great qualities of bop. That's the main thing that attracted me to create this project.

Q: How has your music evolved over the years?

A: It is a never ending process. I'm just practicing and trying to be a better musician/person. The answer should come from the listeners and critics to that question.

More Information: http://feritodman.com

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