This is another outstanding collection of historic Turkish recordings from Rounder. Many of these recordings date to the last throes of the Ottoman Empire (pre-1920), after which Ottoman traditions were discouraged by the newly formed Turkish Republic. Court music, popular music, and folk music are all represented. Most pieces are performed by a small ensemble, but solo pieces are also included, performed on violin, oud, and kemence. The sound quality is excellent, especially when one considers that these pieces are 50 years old at a minimum, and some are nearly 100 years old. The restoration and mastering are extremely well done, and while surface noise is present on all cuts, it is never intrusive. As the liner notes point out, these recordings are analogous to early recordings by the likes of Charley Patton or Dock Boggs: Not only are the recordings themselves wonderful, they are historically important to their respective cultures and still serve as musical inspiration to those who came after. Historic recordings are not for everyone, but this one offers many rewards to anyone with even a passing interest, and although history and documentation are important, the fact is that this collection contains some hot playing.
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AllMusic Review by Sean Westergaard