Coltrane of the Clarinet passes away

selimseslerAnother member of the folk music community lost his life this past month, Turkish clarinetist Selim Sesler. He was 57.

Sesler was called the “Coltrane of the clarinet” by many throughout the last few years of his life and I think I agree with the comparison. John Coltrane was a masterful musician that had a complete command of the saxophone. A pioneer of using free jazz and modal scales, I can clearly see why so many in the music world compare the two artists.

I never had the opportunity to meet Sesler but I often commented that he was one musician I would travel to see in person. He came to Chicago a few years ago and I missed that opportunity – luckily YouTube saves the day and you can see him perform on stage. The best part of these clips is his ability to enjoy the music he is playing and we see him dance around as well. Let me add that he is not playing with Turkish musicians but in most cases American musicians that love the music. I think this says much about this folk clarinetist and many other musicians that cross cultures to perform their craft.

Sesler left us too early.


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