A jazz saxophonist, Ersahin released She Said in 1996 and Home in 1997 to wide success, especially in his homeland of Turkey. But soon after he began to move in a different direction: fusing jazz with electronic dance music, a then-burgeoning genre.
The result was Wax Poetic, a group that had elements of Thievery Corporation and Joe Henderson all at once. Ilhan’s work with Wax Poetic brought him to collaborations with Saul Williams, N’Dea Davenport, and the then-unknown Norah Jones; and it also propelled him into the world of Nublu.
Nublu was the club Ersahin opened in the summer of 2002. Offering a truly unique, living-room-like environment for he and his fellow musicians, Nublu became a breeding ground for some of the most original and exciting music coming out of New York, incubating the live electronic music phenomenon Brazilian Girls; the electro-breakbeat outfit, Kudu; the Northeastern Brazilian buzz-starters, Forro In The Dark; Ilhan’s own Wax Poetic, Love Trio, and I Led Three Lives, Our Theory; live hip-hop powerhouse Real Live Show; and the Butch Morris-conducted Nublu Orchestra.
In addition to becoming a hothouse for live music, Ersahin’s Nublu also spawned a record label. With the talent that was exploding out of the walls of the club, he felt there was no other choice than to start a company to release recorded music from the bands that were forming every night. Since its underground inception as a record label with releases only available at select stores in New York and the club itself, Nublu Records has self-released, among others, Love Trio, a collaboration between Ersahin, Kenny Wollesen (drummer for Tom Waits), and Jesse Murphy (bass player for Brazilian Girls); Mauro Refosco’s Forro in the Dark (Refosco being David Byrne’s touring percussionist); and Wonderland, Ersahin’s collaboration with Turkish gypsies.
Now Ilhan prepares to take Nublu international, launching a distributed version of the label with twelve inches being released in in Winter 2006 from Love Trio in Dub feat. U-Roy, Our Theory feat. Erik Truffaz, Kudu, and Forro in the Dark feat. Seu Jorge. A full-length from Kudu releases in March, and his own projects Our Theory and Love Trio in Dub release in Spring 2006. And if that wasn’t enough, he’s also spreading the club throughout the world, opening temporary versions of the club in Brazil, Turkey, and possibly even Paris.
While Ilhan Ersahin’s musical career began as any other player’s might have, it has certainly taken turns that are far beyond those typical for a horn player. Beyond being an established jazz player, who has performed with Eddie Henderson, Sam Rivers, John Zorn and Lawrence ‘Butch’ Morris among others, Ersahin has started a veritable empire in Nublu.