Artist picture of İlhan Erşahin

İlhan Erşahin

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Born in Stockholm, Sweden on September 3, 1965 to a Turkish father and Swedish mother, İlhan Erşahin is an extremely prolific saxophonist and the owner of Nublu, the influential Manhattan bar and musical hub. Erşahin early musical influences included Jamaican reggae toaster U-Roy. His fascination in reggae led him to appreciate punk, hip hop, dub, and other styles of music. He was inspired to pick up a saxophone and, deciding to pursue a career in music, he relocated to New York. Erşahin was briefly enrolled at Boston’s Berklee School of Music in 1986, but left to immerse himself in the live and studio circuit. He studied under Joe Lovano and John Purcell. His live work including collaborating with Cindy Blackman, Eddie Henderson, Wallace Rooney, and many others. He released his first album, She Said, in 1996. He formed Wax Poetic in 1997, a jazz and electro outfit that worked with vocalists like Norah Jones, Saul Williams and N'Dea Davenport. They released their first album, Three, in 1998. Wax Poetic would continue to release albums over the next 15 years including Nublu Sessions (2003), Copenhagen (2006), and On a Ride (2012). Alongside the Wax Poetic albums, he issued other solo and collaborative albums including 1997’s Home (with Eddie Henderson, Larry Grenadier, Doug Weiss and Kenny Wollesen), Virgo (2000) and 2002’s Harikalar Diyan (Wonderland). In 2002, he founded the Nublu club in Manhattan, which became a hub for local musicians and music lovers. Erşahin also set up Nublu Records in order to release projects by himself and likeminded artists. One of those releases was the 2007 self-titled album by Love Trio in Dub featuring U-Roy, the reggae artist that inspired Erşahin’s musical career. He has continued to be involved with various projects include Our Theory, whose 2008 album featured Erik Truffaz, Jochen Rückert, Matt Penman and Thor Madsen. His Istanbul Sessions project released Istanbul Underground in 2015. More releases on his Nublu label included Night Rider (2011), Afternoon in Rio (2015) and Solar Plexus (2018) ), featuring trumpeters Ibrahim Maalouf and Nils Petter Molvaer. Silver (2019) saw him reunite with his former trio partners Eddie Henderson and Kenny Wollesen. Erşahin  issued Bir Zamanlar Simdi, the next installment of his Istanbul Sessions series in 2020.