Open main menu

Atilla Engin (1946-2019) was a Turkish American fusion jazz drummer. From 1974 to 2001 he was active in Denmark as a musician and educator; he organized music festivals and represented Denmark as a musical ambassador. In 2001, he left Denmark for the United States, where he formed an orchestra.

Atilla Engin
Atilla Engin 1.jpg
Background information
Kayseri, Turkey
Died2nd November 2019[1]
Paranaguá Brazil
GenresJazz, jazz fusion, jazz rock, world music
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, educator
InstrumentsDrums, percussion
Years active1966–2010[2]
Associated actsIstanbul Orchestra, Turquoise, Matao, New World Orchestra


Atilla Engin Group: Atilla Engin, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Uffe Markussen 1987
World to World Festival 1986. Left to right: Nana Vasconcelos, Birger Sulsbruck, Zakir Hussain, Ahmadu Jarr, and Atilla at the end of Jazzhus Montmartre show.
Tyrkis 1987
Tyrkis at the Midtfyns Festival Denmark 1987

Engin first played and recorded in Istanbul, moving to Copenhagen in 1974, and playing with several groups. He released his first album Turkish Delight with the band Matao.[3][4][5] They performed at Roskilde Festival in 1979.[6] His other group, Atilla Engin Group, released five albums.[7][8] While he was recording and touring with his band, he taught at the Copenhagen Jazz Conservatory for four years.[9] Engin formed a band with 12 Copenhagen Jazz Conservatory students and they toured Turkey.[10]

In 1985 Engin was awarded Composer of the Year in Denmark. In the same year, the Atilla Engin Group was appointed as Denmark's cultural ambassador to represent the country in conjunction with the European Music Year 1985.[11]

Engin established the World to World Drums and Percussion Festival in Copenhagen with events taking place in Aarhus and Malmö, Sweden. The festival included performances by Zakir Hussain, Airto Moreira, Nana Vasconcelos, Peter Giger, and Danny Gottlieb.[12][13] He participated in Tal Vadhya Utsav in India.[14]

He taught an evening class of 16 young musicians at the Rhythmic Evening School in Copenhagen in 1984, turning them into a band named Tyrkis[15] which performed at Jazzhus Montmartre in Copenhagen. In 1987, Tyrkis won first prize at the Dortmunder Big Band Festival in Germany and released an album, My Little Chinese Love.[16][17][18]

He left Denmark in 1989 for New York and formed the New World Orchestra[19][20] and a six-piece group, Turquoise.[21][22] Engin left the US for Brazil in 2005.

In 2010 he was diagnosed with cerebral haemorrhage, and sat in a wheelchair unable to speak.[2] Atilla Engin died in Brazil the 2nd November 2019.[1]

His bandsEdit

Copenhagen 1977–89Edit

MATAO 1977–81
  • Atilla Engin – Drums & Perc., comp. & arranger
  • Svend Staal Larsen – Guitar
  • Torben Gronning – Bass
  • Alan Stade – Keyboards
Atilla Engin Group 1981–89
  • Atilla Engin – Drums & Perc., comp., arranger
  • Svend Staal Larsen – Guitar
  • Mehmet Ozan, Percussion
  • Okay Temiz, Percussion – Featured
  • Arto Tunçboyaciyan, Perc., voices – Featured
  • Ole Matthissen, Piano, synth
  • Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Bass – Feat.
  • Hugo Rasmussen, Bass
  • Jens Jefsen, Bass
  • Niels Praestholm, Bass
  • Jens Melgaard, Bass
  • Ole Thøer Nielsen, Alto sax, flute
  • Simon Cato Spang Hansen, Tenor & Sopr. sax
  • Uffe Markussen, Tenor sax – Featured
  • Jens Winther Trumpet
  • Birgitte Møller, Tenor sax, voices

New York 1992–2002Edit

New World Orchestra 1992–95
  • Atilla Engin – Percussion, composer & arranger
  • Ted 'Mino'Gori – Drums
  • Scott Brass – Bass
  • Ray Ippolito – Guitar
  • Todd Billingley – Keyboard
  • Todd Horton – trumpet
  • Patricia Englert – Flute
  • Atilla's US Première in 1993
  • At Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall)
Turquoise 1996–99
  • Atilla Engin – Djembe Drums, Perc., comp., arr.
  • Ray Ippolito – Guitar
  • Stephan Crump – Bass
  • Adam Klipple – Keyboards
  • Erik Lawrence – Alto sax
  • Dan Jordan – Tenor sax, Sopr. sax, Flute
  • Gilad – Percussion
The Istanbul Orchestra 2000–01
  • Atilla Engin – Conductor, Perc., comp., arranger
  • Aaron Comess – Drums
  • Gilad – Percussion
  • Frank Colon – Percussion
  • Ray Ippolito – Guitar
  • Stephan Crump – Bass
  • Michael Wolff – Keyboards
  • Rave Tesar – Keyboards
  • Erik Lawrence – Alto sax
  • Dan Jordan – Tenor sax, Sopr. sax, Flute
  • Dan Willis – Tenor sax
  • Lauren Seviyan – Baritone sax
  • Frank Vacin – Baritone sax
  • Eddie Henderson – Trumpet
  • Chuck MacKinnon – Trumpet
  • Kevin Bryan – Lead trumpet
  • Todd Horton – Trumpet
  • Andrew Lippman – Trombone
  • Marya Lawrence – Vocals


  • Felek Usta (Evren, 1971)
  • Kumsalda (Yonca, 1974) Vocals: Özdemir Erdoğan (Lyrics, music, arrangement, drums, piano: Atilla Engin[23]
  • Bütün İçkiler Benden Bu Gece (Yonca, 1974) Vocals: Alpay (Lyrics, music, arrangement: Atilla Engin)
  • Turkish Delight, Group Matao (RA, 1979)
  • Atatürk's Children and Nasrettin Hoca (Fairytale, 1980)[24]
  • Solens Børn with Ariel(19), (Pick Up, 1980)
  • Nazar (Danish Music Productions, 1982)[25]
  • Memories, Atilla Engin Group (including Okay Temiz on percussion, Hugo Rasmussen on bass, Jens Winther on trumpet) (Danish Music Productions, 1984)[26]
  • Marmaris Love with Okay Temiz (Danish Music Productions, 1986)
  • No Money No Honey with Arto Tunçboyacıyan) (Danish Music Productions)
  • My Little Chinese Love, Tyrkis Big Band conducted by Atilla Engin (Stunt)
  • Melo Perquana, Atilla Engin Group with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen) (Olufsen, 1988)
  • Mosaic of Anatolia, Group Turquoise (Istanbul, 1999)
  • Moon Dog Girl by the Noodle Shop (John Kruth, Elliott Sharp, Atilla Engin and Jonathan Segel) (Sparkling Beatnik, 1999)
  • Ocean of Emotion, The İstanbul Orchestra – Group Turquoise (2009)


  1. ^ a b (in Turkish) "Ünlü Müzisyen Hayatını Kaybetti". Musik On Air. November 4, 2019. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  2. ^ a b (in Danish) "Svært at give Atilla besked om Les Djinns-sagen". Gaffa. November 3, 2011. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  3. ^ "In about group Matao and Atilla Engin".
  4. ^ "Matao Turkish Delight at Danish Library". Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
  5. ^ "Turkish Delight at Danish National Library". Retrieved September 18, 2010.
  6. ^ "Atilla Engin's group Matao at the Roskilde Festival – Denmark 1979".
  7. ^ "The National Library of Denmark And Aarhus University Libraries". Info about Engin's albums
  8. ^ "Atilla Engin's Recordings in Organic Music Japan".
  9. ^ "Atilla Engin – Teaching at Copenhagen Jazz Conservatory Denmark 1986–1989". Archived from the original on October 22, 2010. Retrieved September 18, 2010.
  10. ^ "Danish National Library".
  11. ^ "European Music Year 1985 – Atilla Engin Group To Turkey". Retrieved September 18, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "World to World". Danish Music Magazine MM, Author Jens Jørn Gjedsted, March 1986, Info by Virtuelle Musik Bibliotek Retrieved October 11, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "World to World International Drums&Percussion Festival 1986-87-88 Denmark". Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved September 18, 2010.
  14. ^ "Tal Vadhya Utsav International Percussion Festival".
  15. ^ "Info About Tyrkis' Activities And Articles". Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved September 18, 2010.
  16. ^ "My Little Chinese Love". National Library of Denmark. Retrieved October 18,
  17. ^ "TYRKIS Big Band Winning 1. Prize in Dortmund". Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved September 18, 2010. Five news articles (from Denmark) about winning the prize, MM magazine's review mentioning the prize (marked in blue) and photos from the Dortmund Big Band Festival
  18. ^ "Music Magazine MM From Denmark Coded TYRKIS: A Phenomenon". Archived from the original on September 4, 2011. Retrieved September 18, 2010.
  19. ^ "A celebration of Turkish Music".
  20. ^ "Atilla Engin's US Première at Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall)". Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved September 18, 2010.
  21. ^ "A review of Turquoise's album Mosaic of Anatolia in All About Jazz".
  22. ^ "A review of Turquoise's album Mosaic of Anatolia in Jazz Review Magazine". Archived from the original on February 17, 2009. Retrieved August 9, 2010.
  23. ^ "Kumsalda Özdemir Erdoğan".
  24. ^ "Cover Art For Atatürk's Children And Nasrettin Hoca". Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
  25. ^ "Atilla Engin Group – Nazár (Vinyl, LP, Album) info at Danish National Library". Retrieved October 8, 2010.
  26. ^ "Atilla Engin Group – Memories (Vinyl, LP, Album) info at Danish National Library". Retrieved October 8, 2010.

External linksEdit