Sometimes an anecdote can contain truths about a person’s character and life. A story from veteran musician Neşet Ruacan can be an example to this. During the time when he was living in New York, Ruacan sees Roland Hanno play at one of the night clubs he goes with his friends. His friends encourage him to meet with Hanno saying that they think alike. As he prepares to stand up and go next to him, Hanno sees him from afar, starts to run towards him, gives him a hug and says “I can’t forget our days in Italy where we played together.” Hanno thinks that Neşet Hoca is a musician he knows. Ruacan doesn’t say a word, out of courtesy, does not correct this misunderstanding and they become friends.
Neşet Hoca has always been shy and a gentleman. He has this positive form of introversion and a love for human beings free of any prejudices. He has drawn a thick line between him and those who see music as competition and strife.
A real Istanbul gentleman, Ruacan is a guitarist, a jazz musician, former conductor of the TRT Jazz Orchestra and teacher of all teachers. He was born and raised in Moda and during these years, the neighbourhood, frequented by English people, was full of culture. When he graduated from high school he made a decision knowing that he should be involved in music throughout his life. Then he has dedicated his life to a six-string instrument. His classical guitar, which he started to play when he was 10 years old in an atmosphere influenced by the Republican culture, consists the first 100 metres of a life of honour and the electric guitar he took in his hands at the age of 15 made his destiny. The sound of electric guitar was a fresh breeze for his soul inclined to improvisation. This instrument fulfilled his need to improvise on the songs he heard while he played them.
When he met with Jim Hall, in his 30s, he felt like everything he had learned on music had to change forever. He started over and opened a new page on his book of music: jazz.
His first amateur band was called Vahşi Kediler (Wild Cats). They played pop songs together. They became professionals by starting to play in Şerif Yüzbaşıoğlu Orchestra. Then came Erol Büyükburç Orchestra, as well as, Yalçın Ateş Orchestra and Süheyl Denizci Orchestra. In 2011, when he retired from his post at TRT which he took up in 1985, that meant the successful termination of a shift taken over from Süheyl Denizci, as the conductor of TRT Jazz Orchestra. He was born in 1948.
He plans to dedicate the rest of his life to jazz music and continue what he has been doing for the last 64 years. This also includes recording new albums to pay his debt to his fans. Let’s wrap up with another story. Once again we go back to the years when he was living in the USA. Another place that he visited with İsmet Sıral and Murat Verdi was Ornette Coleman’s house. The only condition for entering this house was to bring some wood for the fireplace. In this house where they arrived through the woods while picking up pieces of wood, they made plans for an album, following Ornette’s idea. Unfortunately, their time was not enough to complete the project, so they returned back to their home countries and Ornette recorded this album called Song X with Pat Metheny.
– Murat Beşer