Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Ferit Odman

Written by Andrew Greenhalgh

“I live with jazz. I love everything and anything about it.”

For some, the creative pursuit is but a facet of their everyday life. It’s an outlet for them, a place to let off steam or pour themselves into something other than the daily rat race of life. But for others, like self-described “jazz maniac” Ferit Odman, that journey is one that permeates every ounce of who they are, consuming their every moment with the search for the perfect riff, the tightest beat, and the smoothest flow.

Odman’s passion for jazz began in his homeland of Istanbul, where he was influenced heavily early on by the jazz scene there, finding inspiration in the work of artists like Max Roach, Art Blakey, and Philly “Joe” Jones. An energetic child who was always banging on pillows and anything else that could serve as a drum, the artist began his musical studies at the age of eleven and would later travel to Sweden as a foreign exchange student for further tutelage. A full scholarship to Istanbul Bilgi University would follow where he’d earn his Bachelor’s in Music. His training would also be enhanced through participation in the School for Improv workshops held in New York City where he would quickly be awarded a Fulbright Scholarship which he’d use to attend William Paterson University, earning his Master of Music in Jazz Performance.

It was during the time of his extensive education that Odman began his professional career, playing and recording alongside artists such as Brian Lynch, Vincent Herring, and Peter Washington while in New York, performing at a host of clubs and festivals. And upon returning to Istanbul, the artist quickly inserted himself into the Turkish jazz scene, recording alongside Kerem Görsev and TRT Big Band while teaching drums at Bahçesehir University Jazz Studies.

Odman’s talent on the drums has offered him the opportunity to play on more than twenty-five recordings.

In 2010, he released Nommo, featuring trumpeter Brian Lynch, saxophonist Vincent Herring and bassist Peter Washington while 2011’s Autumn in New York saw Downbeat magazine award the

album 4 stars, with reviewer Ken Micallef writing, “Istanbul native Ferit Odman possess a pure, sparse, sweet drumming style that is subtle in intent and thoroughly musical.”

Now the artist is poised to lead his third release, Dameronia With Strings. Featuring music that is rooted in jazz tradition, swinging but touched with modern elements, the record presents a heartfelt melodic message from this jazz messenger whose fingerprints are all over it, from drums to production.

It’s a life that Ferit Odman feels blessed to be living, and is something that this rising jazz star doesn’t take for granted.

“I have been doing everything from scratch,” he shares. “and I’m always grateful that I’m doing what I love as a job.”

And for Odman, that job is one of bringing the joy of jazz to the world, inviting listeners to take a musical journey with him down paths less travelled, discovering what lies at the end. It’s a journey that you won’t regret taking in the supremely capable hands of this musical ambassador.