Turkish Canadian jazz guitarist, composer Orhan Demir was born in Turkey in 1954 on September 29th. He started playing guitar at the age of 14. He came to Canada in 1977 and currently he is a resident of Toronto, Ontario. Some of his work from 1986 to 2023 is listed below.



Freedom in Jazz, Vol.3 (CD)©℗2023

Guitar plus (CD)©℗1998

Ziggurat (DVD)©℗ 2021

Hot Cargo (CD)©℗1993

Freedom in Jazz, Vol.2 (CD)©℗2020

Sultan Of Strings (LP)©℗1990

Freedom in Jazz (CD)©℗2019

Windmill (LP)©℗1989

Originals Vol.2 (CD)©℗2018

North West (LP)©℗1988

Originals (CD)©℗1997

The Way I See You (LP)©℗1986





Orhan Demir Trio, Originals
"Compilation CD from
Demir`s four vinyl albums"


Orhan Demir Trio, Originals vol.2
"Compilation CD from Demir`s
first three vinyl albums. Plus
4 unreleased tracks (2/8/9/10)"


Orhan Demir Project, Hot Cargo







Orhan Demir Trio, Guitar Plus


Orhan Demir, Solo Guitar
Freedom in Jazz


Orhan Demir, Solo Guitar
Freedom in Jazz vol.2





Orhan Demir, Solo Guitar
Freedom in Jazz vol.3




Orhan Demir Trio
The Way I see You ©℗1986 LP
Neil Swainson, Bass
Barry Elmes, Drums


Orhan Demir Trio
North West ©℗1988 LP
Neil Swainson, Bass
Barry Elmes, Drums



Orhan Demir Trio
Windmill ©℗1989 LP
Rick Lazaroff, Bass
Jack Vorvis, Drums


Orhan Demir
Sultan Of Strings ©℗1990 LP




Orhan Demir, Solo Guitar
Ziggurat (DVD)



Speed can be trap for the younger player, many of whom misperceive it as the most telling means of demonstrating chops. All too often, however, velocity is all one gets in these displays. Not so with Orhan Demir, a young Toronto - based guitarist whose speed of execution is little short of prodigious and must be heard to be believed. He can play with such blistering rapidity and at such mind-numbing length that this aspect of his abilities may blind one to the more solid virtues his music possesses. A native of Turkey who took up guitar upon emigrating to Canada at the age of 23. Demir`s music fuses Middle-Eastern, jazz, and rock disciplines in proportions that vary from composition to composition, producing an approach of great individuality and seizing power. While there are fugitive allusions in his playing to the work of, among others, John McLaughlin and Larry Coryell. Demir is very much his own man, bearing comparison with literally no other player, guitarist or otherwise. The first of six originals, As Time Goes On, derives its expressive power from the unrelenting velocity and accumulating density of his playing. It possesses a striking coherence of design and execution of which few pieces of this sort rarely, if ever, attain-sort of guitaristic version of Coltrane`s sheets of sound. Again like Coltrane, other of Demir`s compositions hew to a more spiritual line - Allah Supreme, In Favor, and Improvisation, for examples, and are treated in a manner befitting their composer`s intent. The emphathetic, interactive playing of bassist Neil Swainson and especially drummer Barry Elmes contribute tellingly to the music, helping it bristle with vitality and fervor. If for no other reason than the phenomenal As Time Goes by, you definitely should seek this album out.

ORHAN DEMIR TRIO, The Way I See You / North West

Canadian ORHAN DEMIR is an incredible, even legendary guitarist who must be heard to be believed. On these two Canadian releases, his uncanny facility, mind-boggling speed and clean execution bring to mind such greats as Django Reinhardt, Tal Farlow, Pat Martino and John McLaughlin. Add to that a passionate intensity and Coltrane-like conviction, and you have one amazing plectorist.

Both of these great albums feature Orhan`s originals and highlight his stunning technique in a number of settings, each one bristling with vitality and fertile ideas. Acoustic bassist Neil Swainson`s big, round tone anchors this trio as drummer Barry Elmes traverses his kit like a Canadian Elvin Jones, coloring each tune with a melodic approach that implies the beat rather than blatantly stating it.

On The Way I See You, Demir and company charge out of the gate with a vengeance. The opener, "As Time Goes On,"is an incredible, uptempo burner-six-and-a-half minutes of mindboggling chops over a relentlessly swinging rhythm section. On the title cut, a more arranged affair with occasional bass/guitar unison lines. Demir floats over a walking, mid-tempo loose-bop groove, interjecting staccato bursts of single notes that strike like machine-gun fire. And on "In Favor," a melancholy meditation, Elmes` gentle brushwork paints a dreamy landscape as Demir chords the melody with lush textures from his warm-sounding Gibson hollow body.

On the flip side, the trio explores some lofty territory on "Allah Supreme," super-uptempo vehicle recalling the energy and heightened playing of John Coltrane`s "A Love Supreme." Demir`s quicksilver lines fly by in a blur, in the vein of Coltrane`s fabled "sheets of sound." And on the unaccompanied "Improvisation," the guitarist displays incredible right-hand picking technique, frantically skipping strings while simultaneously shaping the piece with orchestral voicings.

North West is no less impressive, with its hyper-speed, Tal Farlow-type fret-board flash on "Joy," Mid-Eastern scales on the sensitive ballad, "Swainsong,"and more Flight-Of-The-Bumble-Bee single-note lines on the Latin groove of "Satellite Service."

Demir`s sheer command of his instrument is astonishing, and, spurred by the interplay of his cohorts, he reaches some breathtaking heights.

ORHAN DEMIR, Freedom In Jazz Vol.2

Canadian jazz guitarist Orhan Demir was born in Turkey, 29 September 1954. In 1977 he emigrated from Turkey to Canada. Some of his earliest influences include the principal protagonists of the 1970s jazz-fusion era but later he was influenced by the established pillars of 1950s and 1960s jazz including John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Archie Shepp, Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman and Charles Mingus. As a guitarist he was also, understandably, influenced by jazz-guitar supremo Django Reinhardt. Here then, Demir presents his solo follow-up album to its progenitor, Freedom In Jazz (Hittite, 2019).

These 14 pieces effectively take the form of etudes and might be considered by the casual listener to be meandering or even self-indulgent. However, this would be a serious mistake, entirely missing the point. As clearly implied by the album's title, Demir embraces the free element fully and executes his art in a flowingly articulate sonic stream of consciousness.

It must be emphasised here that the art of Demir's improvisation is almost diametrically opposite to the type of free music evinced by Derek Bailey, who in his book Improvisation - Its Nature And Practice In Music (Moorland Publishing, 1980) cryptically describes the vocabulary of his own technique as utilising "non-tonal materials".

In stark contrast to Bailey's approach, Demir's style incorporates both melodic and harmonic phrases where he interposes soaring runs of single notes with chordal colouring, very often in a minor key, with, at times, an almost Iberian sensibility. Check out Stanza and Wish for just two examples of the outstanding elegance of these spontaneous compositions.

It takes a lot of skill to perform solo guitar that manages to maintain simultaneously both a mesmeric and an arresting quality. Whilst there are many great guitarists around, most need or prefer the assistance of a rhythm section. But there are few who can pull-off a collection of fantastic wholly improvised solo performances. Whilst Demir is hardly a jazz household name, he does qualify as an extraordinarily talented jazz guitarist.

Thus, for those prepared to listen, and you really should, this near hour's worth of stunning improvisation is imbued with intricate adornments and sonic gems. Indeed, these pieces are actually highly listenable and performed with all the skill of an expert and imaginative jazz guitarist. Granted, they're not in the same stylistic ballpark as more structured solo improvisational sets such as, say, Joe Pass's Virtuoso (Pablo Records, 1973), but virtuosic they most certainly are.

ORHAN DEMIR TRIO, Originals Vol 2

A few months ago I was allowed to talk in these columns about "Freedom in Jazz", the Corona solo record of the Canadian guitarist, who can play faster than an average person can hear. Today there is a re * issue CD, which actually dates back to 2019, but is only now being distributed in (Western) Europe: "Originals, (vol. 2)" is exactly what the title promises. The first part was released more than twenty years ago and now a different pack of recordings from the period 1986-1989 are brought together and offered in a refreshed version on one disc.

Ten songs in total are on it, that were once on the LP's "The Way I See You", "North West" and "Windmill" or that are just now seeing the light of day, such as the closing three, "Yukon", "Mystic Music And "Coral Reefs". The last three are solo tracks, on which you can hear pre-eminently what a good guitarist Demir is: yes, he can play at dizzying speed, but that fast game quickly gets boring, if the composition is not good and that is exactly what it is. strength of Demir: he makes exceptionally beautiful, melodically impressive songs, which are much more than a sequence of notes: this is jazz-with-global characteristics: you can hear the Turkish and Middle Eastern roots of the dam in it, and at the same time the compositions of very present American influences.Tracks 1 to 5 were recorded with what you could call the "regular" Orhan Demir Trtio: Neil Swanson on bass and Barry Elmes on drums. They play compositions by Demir, but the highlight of the collection is - for me at least, the track "Infinity", which they worked out together with the three of them.

The second session, from which "Liberty Square" and "Orient Express" ended up on this compilation, are also the most recent and they were recorded by Demir himself, with Rick Lazaroff on electric bass and Jack Vorvis on drums and the fun part of the CD is that you actually discover three aspects of the guitarist: the acoustic, the electric and the solo artist. In my opinion, that gives a nice picture of the man's versatility and inventiveness and if you also add the cited Covid album, you also get a view of the evolution that Demir has gone through over the past thirty years. It can be called quite spectacular, in the sense that the impetus and talent have been present all along, but that the recent solo album shows the refined version.

The next logical step should therefore be a new trio album, so that we can also form an image of the evolution that the guitarist has gone through as a band member. I am quite comfortable, although I wonder how it is possible that someone of Demir's talent is not world famous. Mar bon, it is clearly being worked on and this compilation is a nice step in the right direction. Wonderful music by a top guitarist, who at the same time turns out to be a masterful composer.


ORHAN DEMIR Ziggurat (Hittite Records, HTT 2011, DVD): What a lesson in old master virtuosity, guitar in its purest form, without pedals, without effects. And Demir lets you watch his nimble fingers in simple home video directness. He just changes shirt and between electric guitar and acoustic. But in all facets his 18 own creations are bursting with stupendous arpeggio magic, old school and yet timeless, down-to-earth, unassuming, with full concentration always looking at the strings to elicit an optimum from them. The extraordinary technique with which the fingers dance is one thing. However, how he walks the fine line between quiet joy and quiet melancholy is the bigger one. His tonal language can claim what is called feeling for itself. The man in Toronto, who, as a pensioner, remembered his young ambitions as 'Sultan of Strings', fast as little Muck, ties in with the demonstration of his skills on “Freedom in Jazz” (BA 108). With 'New Life' he marks his golden autumn, with 'Cross One's Mind' spontaneity as an essential element, with 'Lone Wolf' he gives himself the aura of the loner and misjudged outsider. The 'Lockdown Blues' is self-explanatory, with 'Moonset' and 'Noctilucent' he shows himself as a melancholic who, in 1954 in Istanbul, was born with the crescent moon. With 'Free Jazz', Demir makes it clear that the 50s don't have the last word when it comes to jazz guitar. Although his post-bebop isn't as fast-paced as it was in the 80s, it's certainly not laid back and is therefore freely and stubbornly far away from virtuoso swingers and crawlers through to Abercrombie and Scofield.


Someone could mistake this recording for a previously unreleased McLaughlin set dating back to his Devotion days: this sort of insanely fast power playing imbued with Eastern overtones has always been Johnny M's calling card. Or, tone-wise, Demir could be mistaken for Gabor Szabo on amphetamines. "In Favour" is a painfully restrained ballad, the tension in his notes suggesting that Demir is so filled with strength and ideas that a slow tempo cut becomes downright agonizing. It's the rare player who can turn a slow cut into an exercise in tension. (Check out the subtle references to Django, another player who presented all of his music, slow or fast, in capital letters.) Demir and his guitar are a tornado. God help any young guitar punk who thinks he's on his way and happens to hear "Satellite Service" - chances are his visions of encroaching competency will be replaced by a trip to the guitar pawn shop.


Orhan Demir`s third album jumps out with a hurricane force on "Category Three" The tempo is lightning fast and Demir spirals out line after line of invention. It`s an exciting beginning to a great album. Demir has a new rhythm section on this LP but it sounds as if they`ve been playing for a while. Special mention has to be made of bassist Lazaroff. The electric bass is not an instrument I`m fond of hearing in a jazz context. But Lazaroff pulls of no mean feat by making it sound like a natural as a jazz instrument. His tone is subtle, not overbearing and he glides effortlessly along the strings shading the notes as an acoustic player would. The closest comparison to Demir`s style might be pre-Mahavishnu McLaughlin. And that`s a good place to be. It seems that`s where jazz guitar development started to go wrong. Demir has the technique and the ideas and he doesn`t need to crank up the volume or resort to some effects boxes to bring it across. His compositions are varied. In addition to two fingerbusters (Category Three and Liberty square) there`s a strange blues line "Windmill", "Dublex Planet", an uptempo line that evolves into a slow, moody chordal exploration, and "Orient Express," a free piece. If anyone is interested in the guitar, he/she should check out Demir. He`s a player of great imagination, technique and wit.

ORHAN DEMIR, Sultan Of Strings

On first listening, it would seem that Demir and Rosenberg are drametrically opposed guitar stylists. And they are. But one thing they share is a love for the pure, unadulterated sound of the guitar.

After the energized (and energizing) last album with his trio (Windmill) Demir has opted for a solo set. It`s just Demir and an acoustic guitar. But for a player with the intelligence, technique and imagination of Demir, a solo acoustic set doesn`t mean rest and relaxation. For Demir, it`s another avenue of exploration and each of the twelve tracks provides a different mean of expression.

The title track is a moody, modal piece. It seems to rely on a pulse as a reference point and Demir lingers lovingly over the resonating strings. "Devils Dance" fires off a series of jet-propelled runs that "stops on a dime". The lines become progressively abstract and more agitated until they are just a blurred buzzing of strings. Conversely, "Painting On Silk" is a lovely piece build around opaque chord. " Easy Manners" is based on a recurring jazzy riff that sticks in the mind.

What is impressive about Demir is the clarity of his ideas and music. He`s obviously a musician with personal direction and over the course of four albums he has developed it quite nicely.


Faster than a Stealth bomber, the Orhan Demir Project is like nothing you`ve ever heard. Notes are launched in rapid succession as if destine to some far away universe. Demir is the most original guitarist on the planet. Imagine John McLaughlin, James "Blood" Ulmer and Captian Beefheart living in the body of a Middle East guitar legend who has made Canada his home for the past several decades. The closest tune to planet Earth is Blues For Bosphorus which begins with Demir bending pitches like B.B. King in long sweet lines, then, suddenly somebody pulls the pin and a barrage of lethal notes explode around you. Not for the faint of heart.
By The Jazz Report Staff - SPRING 1993


Might as well cut to the chase: if you`re a Jazz guitar fan, you need to hear this album. Demir plays with the speed and Eastern influence of John McLaughlin without lick of imitation. Nor is he inclined to run through scale exercises and call it improvisation, as so many fusion pickers have done. God knows how someone can think so creatively at this pace, but he can - hell, I get nosebleed just trying to keep up with him as a mere listener. He`s a great writer too, mixing Jazz and Eastern elements through out. If one of the big labels doesn`t snag this guy, they`re crazy.


Born in Turkey and based in Canada, Orhan Demir has long been a highly original if obscure guitarist. His playing sometimes hints at his Eastern heritage along with modern jazz and fusion greats and one can hear traces of Django Reinhardt (particularly during the unaccompanied numbers), but he has long had his own voice. This set is a reissue of highlights from Demir's first four records, trio dates with two different rhythm sections, plus four solo guitar numbers. The music (all 14 songs are by Demir) is quite definitive, ranging from the hyper "As Time Goes On" to some melancholy ballads, making this a perfect introduction to Demir's music.


The first thing to notice on the Orhan Demir Trio`s fascinating Guitar Plus (Hittite HTT-2007; 57:59) is the raw, almost scratching production style on the be-bopping title track. This up-close, dramatically bare feel echoes `50s beatnik club jazz, and should serve as a warning that Demir and company will be squarely in-your-face for the next hour. This is a tremendous opportunity for guitar fans to experience Demir`s searingly fast fretwork and improvisation on a visceral level. The Turkish-born guitarist rages through flights of improvisation and experiments with guitar-synth tone on wild tunes like "Lumberyard" (buzz-saw fuzz guitar over be-bop jazz bass and drums) and "El Nino" (a creepy electronic-Latin fusion hybrid), showcasing an endlessly fascinating technique. Demir`s Eastern influences surface most prominently on "Orpheus" and "Goodbye Princess," with dissonant chords punctuating each phrase, creating waves of anguish and reminiscence. Guitar Plus is a must for anyone who aspires to use the instrument as a freeform, emotional paintbrush; but others be warned: it`s also an exhausting listening experience.


Born in Turkey, this Canadian guitarist leads his capable trio through a set of 14 originals. Possessing phenomenal single-note technique, Demir plays with a decidedly Middle Eastern perspective that at times seems to originate more from the oud than the guitar. Nevertheless, his highly idiosyncratic white-knuckle improvisations, which occasionally recall the great Django Reinhardt at his most frantic, are apt to leave you breathless.

ORHAN DEMIR - Freedom in Jazz & Freedom in Jazz Vol.2

In one of the older Orhan Demir album reviews I found a statement that he treats the guitar like a blank canvas. This phrase fits perfectly well with the description of his latest production - the two-part work Freedom in Jazz . We are dealing here with music created by an artist who, after years of developing his workshop, has achieved absolute awareness of his instrument. In addition, it is completely alone, so nothing limits its creativity. The inspiration for the material was, as the title clearly emphasizes, "freedom". However, it is not about free-jazz improvisation, and by no means only about it. Herbie Hancock, when asked in an interview for the American station KCET what jazz is, said: "For me, it is a manifestation of freedom - discovering, expressing opinions, manifesting myself." Freedom guarantees the continuous development of the genre, as this concept may have a completely different meaning for each artist. Some will find it a means of expressing protest, others will see the possibility of implementing innovative techniques, while others will use it as a means of communicating their emotions. Demir explores precisely the limitless possibilities offered by playing music. He uses various inspirations, reaching for different styles, finding his own language in each.

The material recorded on both discs is over two hours long and is divided into 34 compositions. All songs are written by a guitar artist. The impressive number of mostly short forms translates into a great stylistic variety - from improvisations from the more diverse first album that are impressive with speed, to the melodic ballads that dominate the second movement. There are interesting contexts in the nomenclature corresponding to the moods contained in music. Some of them, such as Inner City Blues , Rambler or Stanza , are real gems in which the musician refers to the legacy of his masters Django Reinhardt and Wes Montgomery.

The album is, above all, a tribute to the instrument that has accompanied the author for half a century. Apart from making its sound the center of musical exploration, it is also clearly present in the visual layer. In addition to the photos from the front of the covers, where the artist proudly holds it in his hand, there is also an artwork of probably the first image of the guitar in history. Interestingly, it comes from the musician's homeland - Turkey, from a Hittite relief from the 15th century BC.

Orhan Demir was born in 1954 in Istanbul, and after 23 years he settled permanently in Montreal. He is an active member of the local scene (currently in Toronto), so it's worth paying attention to the wealth it offers. Although Canadians remain in the shadow of their legendary neighbors from behind, it is certainly more difficult to break into a global audience, the careers of many of them are extremely successful. However, it is worth not to avoid those whose work is more difficult to access, especially on the other side of the ocean, apart from the currently fashionable artists (such as BadBadNotGood or Kris Davis).

“Everyone has something to say to the world using their own language. Mine is music. The way I play embodies my character, it is a window to my soul, ”confessed Orhan Demir. Freedom in Jazz is his first recording in 20 years, so it had to implement many ideas and fit a lot of emotions accumulated during this time. As a result, both albums have a personal character and are a good summary of the artist's achievements to date.


'Ziggurat' means "house with imposing foundations", and I think I understand that the message of the disc is the following: with these 18 autographed compositions played alone with his guitar, the Turkish-Canadian musician Orhan Demir presents a majestic building erected on the very solid foundations of a robust career as a jazz and improviser. These are pieces of measured length (they all last between two and four minutes), on whose tidy and rigorous form convincing melodic themes are sewn, from which the inspiration of improvisation takes off on occasion. They are well conceived pieces, certainly not revolutionary, yet endowed with a relaxed and at the same time incisive expressive tone. As I had also noted for a previous Demir record, this constitutes a constant mono-tone, which here hovers through all 18 tracks - and could be annoying to those who, in addition to the clarity of the sound, the cantability of the melodies and the measured format of the improvisational incursions, want more variety in the expressive offer. But in this case the video format of the DVD gives us the execution of these compositions in the form of a sort of didactic program for those who want to retrace the footsteps of the guitar wisdom of this musician, who thus presents himself as a master. I'm not overly fond of the solo guitar; yet figures like that of Demir and Samo Salamon(another guitarist whose work I follow with great interest), however very different in setting, taste and results, also attract those who do not have a passion for 6 (or 12) strings. Although he certainly prefers the latter, Orhan Demir is also very communicative musically and has a lot to teach us: here he opens the doors of his 'Ziggurat.'


Outstanding playing skills! his album “Originals”, which features a collection of acoustic and electric-guitar driven tracks, recorded during different time periods in his career. Born in Turkey, this Canadian guitarist leads his valiant trio through a set of 14 originals which feature blazing jazz guitar motifs. Orhan Demir treats his guitar like a blank canvas, with no limit to what he can create. While maintaining a technical prowess in the traditional sense, he isn’t afraid to experiment with the sounds the guitar is able to create. The musicianship on this album is all round superb. The trio seem comfortable with each other, and all three add their own unique styling to the fray. It’s a jazz album that remains approachable to many a listener. Fans of a blend between early John McLaughlin and Wes Montgomery styles would find an interest in this album, though this tends to stay in more accessible time signatures. One of the things that always bugged me in most jazz music, is while improvisation is embedded in jazz, solos often wonder so far astray from the main theme it can sometimes be hard to recognize it as a song. Thankfully a lot of jazz has evolved into music that is more focused between the interplay of the entire band rather than just the individual prowess of the musicians, and “Originals” is an excellent example of this. It obviously, predominantly showcases Demir’s outstanding playing skills, but never abandons the importance the song or the other players. Right from the opening track, “As Time Goes On”, Orhan Demir’s soloing on this record overall is truly superb. On the first track Demir also allows a lot of room for the bass of Neil Swainson and the drums of Barry Elmes to interact, while still showcasing extremely busy guitar playing. Both Demir and bassist Swainson are nothing less than fantastic on “The Way I See You” and “In Favor”, as they cross swords here. In fact all throughout the album, underpinning, embellishing and occasionally driving the thoughtful yet always powerful playing of Orhan Demir is a subtle, most musically-inclined rhythm section. They pull off small miracles of delicacy and touch throughout, as they stay in contact with where the genius playing of Demir, moves from bar to bar. Demir is a busy yet thoughtful player, his solos impeccably tasteful but surprisingly robust. On “Satellite service” he is in overdrive mode with fast and furious solos, and continues impeccably on other standouts like, “Unicorn”, “Sultans Of Strings”, “Painting on Silk” and “Windmill”, where he is at times stunning. Orhan Demir should touch music aficionados from all generations. His guitar portrays a subtle exuberance that most musicians envy. Inspired, artistic, and soulful, Demir is timeless. His music exudes class, elegance and assurance – a flawless recording from a master of the jazz guitar craft, at the top of his game.

ORHAN DEMIR, Freedom In Jazz Vol.2

It all comes full circle eventually. In the middle of the 1980s, before the internet made it easier to find rare recordings, Orhan Demir, a Turkish guitar player residing in Canada, had vinyl albums marketed in Wayside Music’s print catalog. This writer is possibly the first Italian ever to have purchased and treasured those records. They were distinguished by a blend of modern swing, innovative fingerings, scales that aren’t precisely typical in jazz, and frequently amazing speed. There were also plenty of contemplative ballads (sort of), and genuinely distinctive themes (with the occasional “free” outburst, for good measure). In a nutshell, Mr. Demir is, and always has been, a fantastic instrumentalist. Over thirty years have gone, and one fine day, much to my astonishment and merriment, a parcel with four CDs arrives at my house from the artist himself. The most recent, which was issued in 2020, is the one that can be seen in the image, whereas I’m listening to the equally good first chapter while typing. If in need to listen to guitar-based jazz music that sounds contemporary and never monotonous while still honoring earlier traditions, all you have to do is channel the Massimo Ricci of three decades ago, get some of these releases – do not start with that involving a guitar synth, perhaps – and get sucked into the sophisticated, understated yet consistently virtuosic playing of Orhan Demir. A man who could impart wisdom to the vast majority of heartless guitarists exalted by publications that praise the hollowness of their music.

ORHAN DEMIR TRIO, Originals Vol 2

Orhan Demir, born in Istanbul in 1954, emigrated to Canada in 1977. In the mid-eighties, a string of records containing original songs by Demir came out in a classic trio setting: guitar, bass and drums. This release compiles a few of these songs from the first three records. This is volume 2. Volume 1 came out in 1997. Four unreleased tracks come as a bonus: Elmes Treat, the second track with an extensive solo from the drummer Barry Elmes and three solo guitar tracks at the end. Elmes Treat is also the most experimental or frenetic track. Lightning-fast picking by Orhan in a Middle-Eastern mode, bowing by double bassist Neil Swainson and an inventive drum part by Barry Elmes. Other tracks are more relaxed, which doesn’t mean boring. Since Elmes got his song, Swainson couldn’t be left out. Swansong is named after him, an easy-going bluesy ballad. The remaining two trio tracks (Liberty Square and Orient Express) have another rhythm section: Rick Lazaroff on electric bass and Jack Vorvis on drums. Jazz- rock is the theme here. The solo tracks are exquisite etude-like showcases of Demirs talent and composing skills and utilizing Eastern-flavoured scales, coupled with a formidable technique that isn’t meant to be shown off but always in service of the composition. This release comes highly recommended: to me, he is a wizard on the electric guitar who knows how to write a nice tune.
MARK DAELMANS-SIKKEL, AUGUST 30-2022 [Number 1349, Week 34]

ORHAN DEMIR, Freedom in Jazz Vol.3

The second spring of ORHAN DEMIR continues in Freedom in Jazz Vol. 3 (Hittite Records, HTT#2011).... From 1986 to 1998 the trio managed to set a quite remarkable guitar trail, he as 'Sultan of Strings', Neil Swainson on bass, otherwise pulse generator for George Shearing and Woody Shaw. As a pensioner, Demir came back to his dream in Toronto, and it turned out that his fingers were still quick enough for his ambitious bebop wizardry, which he celebrates with a poker face as pure craftsmanship. As a 'Drifter' and 'Hitchhiker' from 'Lakeshore' to 'Glade', before the inner eye 'Horizon', 'Ocean Blue', and above that 'Outer Space', from dawn ('Aurora') to sunset the immeasurable realm of 'Aten'. With 'veritas' and 'satori' in mind, while having enough feel to make his technique seem like a means, not an end in itself. Also, nostalgia is just a by-product, I'd swear Demir sees his picking style as timeless. Whereby he heaps into the coolness of the 50s similarly condensed clusters of tones like Joe Morris, who was almost the same age. Not to show off, that's not what Morris is about either, but because the music demands it as a dynamic for all narrative clarity. The way he crawls, for example in 'Clairvoyant', is simply stupendous, but alongside and in between there are longing moments that roll out before Bellevue's gaze. Taken together, this results in a 15-piece mosaic of thoroughly modernist electric guitar poetry.

ORHAN DEMIR, Freedom in Jazz Vol.3

Express guitarists like Pat Martino or John McLaughlin are sleepyheads compared to Orhan Demir. What the string artist, born in Turkey in 1954, lets us hear on his 12th CD "Freedom in Jazz Vol..3" takes your breath away. No wonder Demir was dubbed a "speed-bob guitarist" by one journalist. The suspicion arises that Orhan will find it difficult to find colleagues who would engage to such a speed-bobbing. In 1977 Orhan Demir emigrated from Turkey to Canada, more precisely to Toronto in the province of Ontario. On the 15 tracks of the CD one hears the influences that characterizes the shape of Orhans Music. Superheroes of the jazz world who revolutionized music from the middle of the 20th century (e.g. John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Archie Shepp, Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman or Django Rainhardt) are Demir's idols. Later, as jazz fusion brewed and rock became more intellectual and sociable, our Toronto man also emulated bands like Cream and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. With his own label, Hittite Records, Orhan takes all the jazzy liberties in the world and offers them to the public. In a mix of improvisation, modern jazz and uninhibitedly passionate free jazz, the string racer documents "his" music, which is quite rare and original in all the offerings.
ewei - JUNE - 2023


I first heard guitarist Orhan Demir in the early 90's after I'd read a fascinating review of one of his recordings, Guitar Plus in the Canadian jazz magazine, Coda. The review mentioned that Demir was born in Turkey but now lived in Toronto. It also went on to compare him to Django Reinhardt, Larry Coryell and John McLaughlin. At the time I was totally enthralled by the guitar and knew I just had to have that recording. So, naturally, I searched out Cadence magazine, I found the CD listed as well as today's offering, Originals. When they arrived to my home, I put them into the CD player fully expecting to hear an updating of the gypsy jazz genre but I was totally wrong. The music was a fusion of middle eastern melodies, scales and rhythms filtered through a western jazz attitude. It was not jaunty. It was intense. The recording is a collection of material he recorded between 1986 and 1990 and was digitally mastered in 1997. It's released on Demir's own label HITTITE. All this to say, check this out if you want to hear something unique and exciting.

ORHAN DEMIR, Freedom in Jazz Vol.3

As the title suggests, this is volume three from master guitar player Orhan Demir playing his material. Born in Turkey in 1954, he moved to Canada in 1977 and lives in Toronto. As I wrote earlier about his trio work, he is a virtuoso guitar player, a wizard in service of the music and not for his ego. Culling from standard jazz progressions, he infuses it with Middle Eastern scales. This is intimate and delicate music. Listen to this after-hours (non-alcoholic) cocktail in hand and let the music let you drift away. This isn’t background music: although you can discern certain signature melody lines or building blocks throughout the fifteen pieces, it doesn’t get tedious. Again, highly recommended.
Mark Daelmans-Sikkel - 2 MAY 2023 [Number 1384, Week 17]

ORHAN DEMIR, Freedom In Jazz Vol.3

He keeps on being productive, this Turkish guitarist who has been living in Canada for over forty years. While others seemed to be paralyzed and idly by throughout the pandemic period, the man dived into the studio and at the start of it gave us the second volume of this “Freedom in Jazz” series. I myself had expected that he would release a new record with his Trio after the end of the Corona period, but I was very mistaken; the new one has also become a solo album. Now that I've listened to that record a number of times, I can't say that I'm sorry that Demir has gone on solo tour again. On the contrary, because this one too, just like its predecessor, has become a very impressive piece of work.

Fifteen self-written tracks are on it, or actually fourteen, because there are two versions of “Outer Space” on the record and they were recorded in several sessions: a series of sessions in May 2022 and a series in September/October 2022. would like to make myself comfortable, I could almost completely repeat my words about the previous volume, but we will not do that, because of professional pride…

Anyway: I was once again very impressed by the truly fabulous technique of Demir, who manages to squeeze the most beautiful things out of his guitar almost carelessly. And indeed, he can play at lightning speed, but he never falls into pointless fiddling: the melody always comes first and the songs have about the same effect as those on volume 2, they seem to be impulses of the moment, driven or fueled by observations, by images, by reflections. Why else would you call your tunes “Tomorrow is Another Day” or “Aurora” or “Hitchhiker”.

The titles may not matter so much, it's the music that matters and that is, as far as I'm concerned, crystal clear. Of course, I've had the chance to listen to Demir's CDs regularly over the past few years and I'm starting to get to know the man's musical idiom a bit. That is actually the only knot: it is not easy to learn to appreciate a completely instrumental solo record, but those who can bring themselves to get through that difficult first time will discover the wonderful world of Orhan Demir.

A golden tip, however: sit in front of this record, with no company around and no reading or puzzle activities waiting for you. In other words, take your time. The splendor that awaits you is overwhelming!

... Guitar has been subjected to more decoration and celebration, endless innovation and, perhaps, greater degradation than about any other musical instrument. Yet somehow it keeps coming back for more. It’s nice to hear a musician like Demir reminding us of the beauty of jazz guitar and to be reminded again. Kurt Gottschalk - New York City Jazz Record - June 2020

......Beautiful arc of suspense over gorgeous melodic song sketches, the opener of Volume 2 "Faraway Ports" is an example highlighted.... Music straight from the belly of the Musician into the strings of the instrument in the ears of the attentive listeners. xap - Concerto Magazine - April - 2021

Toronto-based guitarist Orhan Demir made the most of the lockdown in Canada and recorded on camera eighteen tracks of solos on acoustic and electric guitars. A fast picking technique, mildly seasoned with Middle Eastern flavours, fresh melodies, and relatively short tracks, makes this release quite a worthwhile experience. Mark Daelmans-Sikkel - Vital Weekly - 1/18/2022

... Demir employs rapid picking and undulating motifs to create a musical landscape filled with both urgency and fire. Four solo tracks from the 1990 recording Sultan Of Strings show a more introspective side of Demir. James Hale - Coda Magazine June - July 1998

ORHAN DEMIR`s North West places cutting edge harmonic explorations within a traditional guitar-bass-drums format.... Paul Baker – Coda Magazine – June/July 1989

A monster modern jazz player from Canada, DEMIR has the kind of teste, finesse and chops that put him in the same camp as Pat Martino and John McLaughlin.... Pete Prown – Guitar Shop Magazine – November 1998

... Poet, acrobat, sprinter – all his pursuits are strangely woven in to the very texture of his musical tableau and artistry. John Sutherland – Coda Magazine – Feb/March 1987

... Whatever you have to go through to find these albums will be well worth the effort. David Henman – Canadian Musician – June 1990

... Guitarist Demir is a marvel. Demir is an anomaly in the late 1980`s: a unique and intelligent guitar player who may just have something new to say. Stay tuned. Robert Iannapollo - Cadence Jazz World - August 1989

... Demir`s chops are prodigious... He meets the challenge admirably. Mark Sullivan - Option Magazine - May/June 1991

A fabulous technique, combined with a thorough sense of melody, that seem to me to be the most appropriate explanations to more or less indicate the man's style... this is not for everyone and listening to the record does require some effort, but in return you get an hour of very intriguing and captivating, contemporary guitar jazz at a very high level. Dani Heyvaert - Rootstime - Nov. 2020

... Evocative, always engaging, and featuring a much broader spectrum of sounds than you`d expect from guitar, bass and drums. Orhan Demir`s Guitar Plus is a very good CD. Ethan Zames - Planet Jazz Magazine - Spring 1999

Demir is a premier jazz guitarist, with excellent skill, dexterity & a level of speed that will amaze you. Rotcod Zzaj - the improvisor - Nov. 2000

Canadian guitarist ORHAN DEMIR possesses a blistering technique, an envelope-pushing musicality and a romantic heart-on-sleeve soul. In Hot Cargo, these qualities plus the guitarist`s engaging compositional skills are front and center... Demir is a singular voice worth keeping tabs on. Chuck Berg - Jazz Times - June 1993

Canadian mainstream Jazz guitarist Orhan Demir has played electric guitar in groups (on self-issued LP`s), but here in the acoustic realm, the voice of his strings is unadorned and at its most graceful. A catalog of jazzy salon pieces, Sultan of Strings (Hittite) reveals a guitarist who will garner further notice. Brad Balfour - The New York Review of Records - October 1991

A fine guitarist living in Canada who was born in Turkey, Orhan Demir has a distinctive sound and fresh improvising style... Scott Yanow - AllMusic - 2002

... Demir is blistering on the opening "When You Aren't," lyrical on the ballads and is a pretty original player overall... Scott Yanow - AllMusic - 2001

.... It is a remarkable debut, and one hopes that DEMIR will record again soon. The Canadian Composer - November 1986

Instrumental releases worth checking out include: Hot Cargo from ORHAN DEMIR who plays speed bop guitar. Guitar Magazine - Buzz Morison - May 1993

.... Turkish born guitarist ORHAN DEMIR brings a board spectrum of history to his playing encompassing Middle eastern flavors, Django Reinhardt, Coltrane, Dolphy, Ornette and others. The Jazz Report - Jazz Report staff - Fall 1997

... The fast and always fluent fretwork of ORHAN DEMIR creates a feeling of breathless exhilaration. Socan - July/August 1997

Orhan Demir - Solo Guitar, Freedom in Jazz; This is solo the first of three volumes. It remains consistently interesting for more than an hour. Orhan Demir, Solo Guitar: Freedom in Jazz Vol. 2; Not exactly more of the same, a bit more delicate. Orhan Demir, Solo Guitar: Freedom in Jazz Vol. 3; Wraps up this series in fine fashion. Tom Hull - on the Web, May 2023

... Right away the introduction to "Faraway Ports" with dreamy arpeggiated ones Singlenotes contains those whisked little ones Swirl, Demir's extraordinary technique reveal. Not only is it not rusty, he also shows an undiminished inclination to distinctive interval jumps and for figures storming longingly upwards. In addition he amazes with dialogues of his nimble right and a left that encourages these escapades and is ready to face the threat mitigate crashes. A pulsating swing encourages even more daring Towards the desired horizon, whose curtain of pearls Demir is constantly touching... Rigobert Dittmann - Bad Alchemy Magazine - BA 108 (12/2020)

  Yet another Canadian based guitarist, Orhan Demir, makes his debut on The Way I see you. This rather interesting guitarist is joined by Neil Swainson, who is presently working with George Shearing and Barry Elmes. Len Dobbin - Montreal Gazette - September 11- 1986

The New York City Jazz Record, Recommended New Releases: Orhan Demir, Solo Guitar - Freedom in Jazz, March 2020 - Orhan Demir, Solo Guitar - Freedom in Jazz Vol.2, November 2020 - Orhan Demir, Solo Guitar - Freedom in Jazz Vol.3, June 2023

Honorable Mention Best New Releases 2023 - Orhan Demir, Solo Guitar - Freedom in Jazz Vol.3

The New York City Jazz Record - January 2024