Koray Ergünay

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Koray Ergunay has been playing electric bass guitar since 1987. In 1988, he was chosen for the high school band’s bass chair and as a band, won three prizes in national high school band contests in 1990 and 1991. This band evolved into “Continuum”, a group that played compositions by fusion greats like Weather Report, Return to Forever, Chich Corea Electric Band, Al DiMeola etc. in early 90’s.

He went on to perform and record with various jazz-fusion lineups in mid to late 90s, the most notables being Jazz Without Fear (with Burak Babacan on electric guitar, Meriç Demirkol on saxophone and Gürcan Konanç on drums) and Retrofusion Trio (with Gökhan Yılmaz on electric guitar and Arda Baykurt on drums). Both bands performed in university festivals and various venues in Ankara.

In 2000, recording of compositions with Gökhan Yılmaz and Gürcan Konanç followed, appearing in Gökhan Yılmaz’s album “Sketches & Scripts”.

In 2001, informal jams with the fellow guitar player Şinasi Celayiroğlu led to the formation of “Trio Topia” with the drummer Can Dekak. In 2004, Burak Yücesoy on saxophone was formally introduced into the group which adopted the name “Ida Terra”. They regularly performed at the Tenedos Cafe in Ankara thorough 2005-2006 and played at İstanbul Jazz Festival (2004), Ankara Jazz Festival (2004), Eskisehir Amateur Jazz Musicians’ Festival (2004, 2005 and 2012).

In the year 2002, Koray started working on fretless solo bass songs with live electronics and loops, some of which ended up in the “Miro’un Aşkı (Miro’s Love)” album, recorded by Gokhan Yılmaz in his home studio in 2002. His solo bass song “Kemikkiran” has been awarded No.1 prize in a national solo bass competition in 2006. Workshops focusing on improvisation and recording in Ankara and Eskişehir have, then, followed.

The year 2008 saw the formation of two new bands, TriBass and OSO Project, both performing at the Ankara International Jazz Festival. TriBass is an unusual band consisting of three bass playes with contrasting styles. In 2009, he has performed with MCNKY, a jazz-fusion band with horns and live electronics at Eskisehir Amateur Jazz Musicians’ Festival again.

Being a fan of heavy/progressive rock music, Koray got involved with several rock-based projects, most notable being Knightmare and Hope to Find. Knighmare is a heavy-power metal band with a self-titled debut album released in 2010 and recorded a title in a tribute album distributed through Europe. Hope To Find is a progressive rock band from Eskisehir, with a debut album named “Our Story About You”.

Koray released his second solo album “Inner Circle” in 2010 with Kuzey Yılmaz on drums, tabla and ghatam, Ozan Dündar on electric piano/organ. and N.Emin Güven on piano. The follow-up release “Moments” featured Şinasi Celayiroğlu on guitar as well as Kuzey Yilmaz and N.Emin Güven.

In 2016, Koray got introduced to tenor saxophonist Cihan Gülmez and they formed SPO Trio, a free jazz combo with Gürcan Konanç on drums. SPO Trio performed original compositions and improvised music as well as free-jazz standards in several venues, building a large following. SPO Trio released their debut album entitled “SPOtaneous” in 2017.

With a growing interest in electronic and synthesized-based music, Koray produced his third solo album “Hyper”, featuring electronically-enhanced soundscapes with bass, electric guitars wind instruments and percussion. These experiments led to the 2019 single “Dreamscape”, comprising only electric bass as the solo instrument and synthesized sounds.

In 2018, Koray joined forces with Arda Varol on drums and Şinasi Celayiroğlu on guitar as A.Ş.K. Trio. The power trio recorded and released a self-titled album in 2019, followed by two singles, “+3” and “Golgeler” in 2020, in addition to their frequent live performance and festival appearances.

Koray further extended his solo works with the 2020 EP “Looking Back”, where each composition featured an orchestral instrument rarely-used in improvised music, such as bassoon, and viola. The collaborations with Serkan Alagök (bassoon, drums) and Burak Yücesoy (flute, alto saxophone) for Looking Back evolved into another EP. In a setting of original compositions, they explored the unique blend of bassoon with saxophones and flute supported by bass and drums, with the interplay and collective improvisation from the horns.

During 2021, Koray teamed up again with the tenor saxophonist Cihan Gülmez and released the album “City Rats”, comprising pieces based on recorded improvisation. The duo further released “City Rats Project Live @Respublika Alan” and collaborated with Beste Öztürk (cello) for another improvised recording, entitled “Live at Allegro”. Another collaboration with the pianist Alex Kreger was recorded in late 2021 and released as “For Once”, showcasing the improvisation capabilities and broad sonic range of the tenor saxophone, piano and electric bass combo.

Since his relocation to Washington DC in 2022, Koray remains active in the local music scene.