‘What’s Next?’ For Jazz Composer Mehmet Ali Sanlikol

Mehmet Ali Sanlikol at Futura Productions in Roslindale, Mass. (WBUR/Tim Skoog)

Mehmet Ali Sanlikol at Futura Productions in Roslindale, Mass. (Tim Skoog/WBUR)

Mehmet Ali Sanlikol is many things — a jazz composer, ethnomusicologist, educator and pianist.┬áHe’s a native of Turkey and it was music that brought him to Boston in 1993 when he enrolled at Berklee College of Music. Back then, he set his sights set on becoming a jazz composer.

But within a few years, Sanlikol’s initial enthusiasm for jazz began to ebb, as the scene in Boston decayed from ten major jazz venues to three. That’s when Sanlikol took a new interest in the music of the Middle East.

We first featured Sanlikol on our show in 2011, at the height of this “Turkish” phase. His multi-talented group, Dunya, fuses the music of the Ottoman people — Turkish, Greek and Jewish music. Dunya was very successful, giving Sanlikol the recognition and financial footing he needed to return to jazz.

Radio Boston’s Amory Sivertson and Tim Skoog visited Mehmet Ali Sanlikol at his group’s rehearsal at Futura Productions in Roslindale Wednesday night.

Sanlikol’s band will be at Regattabar in Cambridge tonight, celebrating the release of his new album of jazz compositions, “What’s Next?”


Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, composer and ethnomusicologist.

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Host Meghna Chakrabarti introduces us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and brings us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3 p.m. and 10 p.m.

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