Meet E. Bugra Balci, a bassist with a ton of accomplishments, especially for someone his age. “E.” is our player in the spotlight for November 30, 2011. Be sure to check out E’s music and videos below.
I was born in 1986. I started my early life in music, at the age of five, with piano and mandolin. Early on, I studied Turkish music, and in 1998, I began studying with Huseyin Cebi, who taught me western music, harmony, ear training and solfege. I chose the bass guitar as my instrument, and have been playing ever since.
In 2003, I started to play in professional pop and funk bands, but that didn’t satisfy me musically. I needed to something different, and I needed to improve my technique and my musical views. In 2005 I was admitted to Dokuz Eylul University Faculty of Fine Arts Department of Music with first audition degree. I started to study classical piano with Esin Durmaz, because I wanted to focus on my piano skills. That ended up being really beneficial in understanding how to play jazz. By 2006, I realized that if I want to be successful jazz bass player, I should have learn to play the double bass. After studying double bass for a while, I was offered a scholarship in Italy to study bass with Furio Di Castri and Pietro Leveratto, and I also studied with Stefano Zenni, Massimo Manzi and Giulio Visibelli.
In 2008, I received the Yamaha All Stars Band Bass Guitar Award, which gave me an opportunity to not only meet some great and well-known musicians in Istanbul, including Volkan Oktem, Okan Ersan, Levent Altındag and Rex Richardson, but also perform with them at the award ceremony.
In 2009, I received the Arif Mardin (summer) scholarship from Berklee College of Music, where I studied bass with Lincoln Goines and Bruce Gertz. This was my first time in the US, and I decided I would live in New York. I was offered scholarships at both Western Oregon University Mel Brown and Berklee College of Music for full-time studies, but decided to turn both down so I could move to the Big Apple. In 2010, I received a scholarship from The Collective School of Music New York, which gave me the opportunity to make the move.
During this time I got full scholarship from Modern Music Academy and New Hampshire Bass Festival 2010. After graduating from The Collective School of Music, I was asked to return to The Collective to fill in for the bass teacher in the Advanced Performance Program. So this year, I worked at The Collective School of Music and was accepted to Queens College Jazz Master Degree Program. I recorded Pete Jung’s jazz album in New York with well-known drummer Marko Djordjevic. I’ve also performed with Bob Quaranta, Robert Schoosleitner, Vinx De’Jon Parrette, Kim Plainfield, Ian Rapien, Alessandro Sgobbio, Gregorio Ferrarese, Nicola Pannarale and more… I’ve performed at the Eskisehir Jazz Festival, Izmir International Jazz Festival, Istanbul International Jazz Festival and Karya Jazz Days.
Brooklyn, New York, USA
I am a private teacher, a recording bass player and freelance bass player with pop and jazz bands in Turkey and New York.
Bands & Gigs:
These days I play jazz and fusion with Omercan Sakar and Geo Progulakis. I also have a project for drums and bass, and I play with a pop music band.
- E Bugra Balci signature 5 string bass (by Muharrem Nalbant handmade)
- Yamaha John Patitucci Bass
- Ken Smith Design Burner Ignition 5 String Bass
- Fender Amp
Why I play the bass:
I like low notes for sure, but the main reason is thanks to Jaco Pastorius. After listening to him, I decided to play bass.
My bass superpower/claim to fame
Lincoln Goines said this about me: “Unique voice on his instrument”.
Kim Plainfield, an Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music, said “Tremendous sound”.
Jaco Pastorius, Matthew Garrison, Kenny Garrett, John Coltrane, John Patitucci, Brad Mehldau, Aydin Esen, Keith Jarrett, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Frederic Chopin…