Trained originally as an industrial engineer at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, bassist, composer, and arranger Alper Yılmaz started playing guitar in 1980 at the age of 11 and took electric bass as his main instrument in 1993. As a bassist, he performed regularly in Ankara with prominent jazz musicians of the scene including, but not limited to, Tuna Ötenel, Janusz Szprot, Sibel Köse, Volkan Öktem and Yahya Dai. Around this time, he appeared on several broadcasts on the national Turkish Radio & Television, and he hosted a radio show named “Jam Session” on Radio METU in Ankara, Turkey.
After recording with Tuna Ötenel in his 1995 record Sometimes from Uzelli Records, he moved to the U.S. to complete his Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics at University of California, Davis. During his studies in California, he performed regularly with the internationally acclaimed saxophonists John Tchicai and Mike McMullen, as well as guitarists David Lynch and Steve Homan, and drummer Rick Lotter. Around this time, he also held the bass chair of the UC Davis Jazz Big Band, where he received the “Best Performer” award at the American River College Jazz Festival in Sacramento, California in 1999.
Since his arrival in New York in December 2000, Alper Yılmaz has established himself as a promising and active player of his generation on the local scene. He has attended workshops by John Patitucci, studied jazz music theory with Matthew Garrison, and took private classes from Adam Rogers and David Binney. He also attended the graduate level Jazz Performance program at the Queens College Aaron Copland School of Music in New York and studied improvisation with Antonio Hart, and arrangement and composition with Michael Mossman.
Alper Yılmaz released his debut recording Clashes in 2007 from his own company Kayique Records in the U.S. and A.K. Müzik in Turkey. Nominated by the Village Voice of New York for “Best Debut Album of 2007” and picked by Bob Weinberg of the Jazziz as “new and noteworthy,” Clashes received excellent reviews by acclaimed critics including Bill Milkowski of the JazzTimes and Jonathan Herrera of the Bass Player, to mention but a few. In 2007, he recorded with Dan Moses for Dan’s album Sailors Gone, which was released in January 2010. In late 2009, he also recorded with the drummer Brian Adler for Brian’s forthcoming album to be released in 2010. Alper Yılmaz’s second album as a leader, Over the Clouds, is released in April 2010 from Kayique Records.