As both a saxophonist and composer, Ilhan Ersahin has grown into one of the most creative and adventurous music artists on the contemporary improvising scene since moving to New York from Istanbul, Turkey 12 years ago. While he is influenced primarily by American post-boppers, Ersahin has also absorbed the essentials of reggae, hip-hop, and pop in addition to middle eastern folk music. The profound impact of these diverse influences is clearly evident in his musical expressions. Unlike many other instrumentalists of his generation Ersahin is writing for a trio of sax, bass and drums-one of the most challenging instrumental formats in jazz-while also putting out some very strong hip-hop charts as well as leading a killer post modern jazz quintet.
For the past three and a half years Ersahin's New York based trio has been the main attraction of the brunch held every Saturday at the popular jazz club, Sweet Basil. He has also directed Istanbul's Akbank Jazz Festival jam session for three consecutive years, where he's triumphantly traded riffs with such celebrated soloists as Sam Rivers, James Carter, Craig Harris, John Zorn and Jerome Harris. And leading his trio and quintet, Ersahin has toured throughout Europe, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and the United States.
Born in Stockholm, Sweden and raised in Turkey, the now 33 year old Ersahin was 16 when he began playing saxophone-an instrument he admits he was naturally drawn to. Since that time he has worked in bands lead by Lawrence ''Butch'' Morris, drummer Victor Lewis, and trumpeter Wallace Roney, among others. More recently however, he concentrates on composing, and working as a leader in his own right as he strives to transform a blossoming signature style into an important new voice for turn-of-the century jazz.