Akbank Jazz Festival Celebrates 26 Years of
Jazz in the City
Akbank Jazz Festival, one of the longest running festivals in Turkey, is celebrating its 26th anniversary this year. Featuring a program filled with some of the most respected jazz artists, the festival will embrace the city with all the different colors of jazz between October 12 and 23, 2016.
With millions of audiences to date and counting, the Festival will once again feature a rich program of exceptional performances in its 26th edition. The stars gracing the 26th Akbank Jazz Festival include: Ron Carter, 2 time Grammy winner, and one of the most productive jazz musicians of all-time with his contributions to nearly 2500 albums; Imany, who comes as a great asset to today’s soul music; Tony Allen, Nigerian-born drummer, composer, and songwriter, who created the “Afrobeat” movement, a blend of traditional African music, jazz and funk; Pharoah Sanders, the 75-year old artist described as probably the world’s best tenor saxophonist; Paolo Fresu, the talented trumpet player with numerous international awards to his; and Omar Sosa, a Cuban songwriter and pianist very popular in today’s Latin Jazz scene, and three-time Grammy nominee. The Festival will also present a number Turkish jazz musicians such as Fatih Erkoç, İlham Gencer, Önder Focan, Okay Temiz and Ferit Odman.
Akbank General Manager Hakan Binbaşgil, said that they were delighted to be offering the many different sounds of jazz for music enthusiasts for 26 years, and added, “Akbank Jazz Festival is one of the most important projects that Akbank has been carrying out in the culture and arts arena, and it has brought together master musicians and rising stars of jazz with music enthusiasts for quarter of a century with rich programs in every edition. We are very pleased that our Festival has become a leading event in the world jazz calendar today.” Binbaşgil noted that the Festival continues with its mission of hosting some of the most respected artists while spreading jazz to wider audiences for quarter of a century, and continued, “The Festival contributes to the vibe and dynamism of Istanbul every year, and with this edition we will keep growing beyond Istanbul and expanding in Anatolia. Seeing how wholeheartedly music enthusiasts embrace our festival makes us even happier.”
Akbank Sanat Director Derya Bigalı said, “This year, as we have done every year so far, we prepared a rich program featuring master musicians as well as the rising stars of the European jazz scene to reflect many different sounds of jazz. I hope the 26th Akbank Jazz Festival will offer new discoveries for all jazz enthusiasts.”
Jazz Workshops in High Schools will certainly be one of the most important events of the festival again this year. The workshops, offered since 2012, that give high school students an opportunity to get to know jazz music and instruments better, will take place in eight high schools this year.
Akbank continues with the Şehrin İyi Hali (Best State of the City) project, which brings together the youth, as part of the corporate social responsibility projects carried out with the participation of volunteering employees for many years. Last year, the project saw great interest from young people and registrations were filled within the first three days; and this year 500 young people who have volunteered for community projects will get to attend the Imany concert on Friday, October 21 at Volkswagen Arena.
With event organization and content planning carried out in partnership with Pozitif, the 26th Akbank Jazz Festival events will be held in a total 26 venues including Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall, Akbank Sanat, Babylon, The Seed, Caddebostan Cultural Center, Moda Stage, Summart Arts Center, Nardis, and Zorlu Performance Arts Center, and 42 concerts, six lectures, 13 workshops and two performances.
Concert tickets for the 26th Akbank Jazz Festival will be available for purchase from September 6, 2016 at Biletix. For further information on the Festival, please visit www.akbanksanat.com and www.akbankcaz.com, download the Akbank Sanat iPhone app, and follow Akbank Sanat on Facebook and twitter (facebook.com/AkbankSanat and twitter.com/AkbankSanat).
Akbank Jazz Festival, bringing together the masters of jazz with music enthusiasts for 26 years, once again presents a rich program for its followers. The 26th Akbank Jazz Festival will host Erik Truffaz Quartet, Amir ElSaffar and Theo Croker in the “Powerful Resonance” category.
Erik Truffaz, the prolific French trumpet player with 20 albums to his name, blends electronica, drum ‘n’ bass, and hip-hop with jazz. With his unique position in the world of jazz, and his extraordinary performances, Truffaz will be on the Babylon stage on Thursday, October 13. This will definitely be a concert not to miss.
A representative of today’s American jazz music, Theo Crocker, who carries the legacy of being the grandson of award-winning trumpet player Doc Cheatham, has rapidly grown his following with his version of fusing traditional and modern jazz. The young trumpet player will be performing at Babylon on Friday, October 14. Festival enthusiasts should prepare for an unforgettable concert.
Amir ElSaffar, who has managed to produce intermediate sounds from trumpet using his own unique technique, and received wide attention from the world of jazz, will be on the stage of Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall on Wednesday, October 19. Referred to as “the most interesting piece of international jazz in the 21st century” by All About Jazz magazine, Amir ElSaffar will bring his “Two Rivers” project, which was enjoyed by over 5,000 people in the Chicago Festival, to Istanbul.
Nouvelle Vague, A project by French musicians Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux, who skillfully blend the rebellious side of punk rock and intellectual depth of new wave with glamour and the joy of bossa nova will be performing at Babylon on Saturday, October 15.
The Mexican musician Sergio Mendoza carries the “Big Band Mambo” tradition into the 21st century, as he differentiates his music by incorporating various Latin music styles such as Cumbia, Merengue and Ranchere, presenting a much alluring and flamboyant experience for the listener. Salvador Duran enriches this colorful and crowded orchestra with his voice, dance, and his maracas. Orkesta Mendoza, which critics describe with the phrase “Mendoza is the Sex Pistols of Mambo”, will debut their first live performance as part of their world tour of their new album “Vamos a Guarachar” in the 26th Akbank Jazz Festival on Saturday, October 22 at Babylon.
Masters of Jazz
The 26th Akbank Jazz Festival will present Tony Allen, Pharoah Sanders, Ron Carter and Paolo Fresu-Omar Sosa Duo in the “Masters of Jazz” category.
Cuban songwriter and pianist Omar Sosa, three-time Grammy nominee, and an important name within today’s Latin jazz scene, is joining the talented trumpet player Paolo Fresu, who has he has taken the stage with the most important Afro-American musicians of the last three decades, to perform in the Festival as part of their world tour promoting their second duo album “Eros” released in April 2016. The duo’s concert at Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall on Sunday, October 16, promises an unforgettable night as they continue to combine the old and the new sounds of Italy and Cuba. The same night, Pharoah Sanders, the 75-year old Grammy winner who is regarded as one of the most respected jazz saxophonists in the US, will also take the stage at Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall for another memorable performance of the 26th Akbank Jazz Festival.
The 26th Akbank Jazz Festival will host Tony Allen, Nigerian-born drummer, composer, and songwriter, who created the “Afrobeat” movement, a blend of traditional African music, jazz and funk, in Babylon on Wednesday, October 9. Quoted as “Probably the best living drummer”, the 75-year old and still actively making music, Tony Allen will play in the Festival for the legendary “Art Blakey” who has been an inspiration to him.
The legendary Ron Carter, two-time Grammy winner, and one of the most prolific jazz musicians of all-time with his contributions to nearly 2500 albums, will honor the 26th Akbank Jazz Festival with his long standing Ron Carter “Golden Striker Trio” on the Zorlu Performance Arts Center Drama Stage on Thursday, October 20.
Charenee Wade, a star vocalist in the US with the timbre of her voice resembling Betty Carter and Sarah Vaughan, will perform her latest album “Offering” in which she interpreted soul & jazz poet-musician Gil Scott-Heron’s revolutionary heritage in the 26th Akbank Jazz Festival. Charenee Wade will sing the compositions of Heron, the voice of the African-American community, in the opening concert of the Festival on Wednesday, October 12 at The Seed.
Another guest of the 26th Akbank Jazz Festival will be Imany, who comes as a wonderful asset to today’s soul music. Growing up with jazz, soul and folk music, like her idols Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, and Tracy Chapman, Imany will take the stage at Volkswagen Arena on Friday, October 31.
Founded in 2000 in Eskişehir, Gevende made a name for themselves and gained a large following with their music, which can be defined as a blend of psychedelic-folk and jazz-rock, with lyrics written in a fabricated language. The group’s performance in the 26th Akbank Jazz Festival will take place on Thursday, October 13 at Moda Stage where they will play “Unknown Songs”.
The 26th Akbank Jazz Festival will host Sokratis Sinopoulos, one of the few internationally performing lyra players, who will play pieces from his “Eight Winds” album released in 2015 at Akbank Sanat on Thursday, October 13.
The Italian solo pianist and bandleader Stefano Battaglia, a reputable figure in the circles of classical music, owing to his large repertoire of baroque and modern music, will play some of his best compositions from the 100+ records he has released at Akbank Sanat on Friday, October 10.
Berlin-based Japanese instrumentalist and composer Masayoshi Fujita, a.k.a. “El fog”, stands out from the crowd with his unusual use of the vibraphone, and describes his goal as having his listeners visualize images, settings and stories in their minds, heads. In his highly anticipated performance at Akbank Sanat on Monday, October 17, you might discover the depth of the vibraphone perhaps for the first time.
New York-based saxophonist Ray Blue began studying the clarinet before switching to saxophone. His smooth and fluent style observed in his improvisations that remain true to the roots of jazz with touches of blues and African melodies made him a sought after persona for jazz bands. Ray Blue, the founder of the NGO “Cross-Cultural Connections, Inc.” that promotes jazz training and performance sharing, will take the stage at Nardis on October 18 and 19.
Drummer and vibraphonist Jason Marsalis is the youngest musician of the Marsalis clan, the most famous jazz family of New Orleans, with a large following as a virtuoso and composer. His latest album “In a World of Mallets” released in 2013 made it to the top of the charts in jazz radio rankings, and was awarded “The Best Contemporary Jazz Album”. Jason Marsalis, accompanied by a band of young American musicians, the Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet, will be on the stage of Babylon on Thursday, October 20.
Recognized as a rapper by many, Saul Williams is a unique artist also known for his works in other art disciplines, ranging from poetry to movies. Saul Williams will take the stage at Babylon on Friday, October 21 to perform his unique music style that combines poetry with alternative hip-hop.
The living legend of Turkish jazz, İlham Gencer will celebrate his 90th birthday with a performance for the 26th Akbank Jazz Festival at Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah on Friday, October 14.
Fatih Erkoç, the talented Turkish jazz musician, will be on the stage with his True Love performance for the fans of the 26th Akbank Jazz Festival. In the concert on Friday, October 14 at Caddebostan Cultural Center, Ferit Odman on drums, Kağan Yıldız on double bass, and Ercüment Orkut at the piano will joint the great musician on the stage.
A member of the young generation of Turkish musicians, Ferit Odman will perform on Saturday, October 14 at Caddebostan Cultural Center where he will be accompanied by American trumpet player Terell Stafford, who has shared the stage with the likes of McCoy Tyner, Christian McBride and John Clayton.
Guitar player and songwriter Bilal Karaman will take the stage at Babylon on Sunday, October 16 with his new project, combining local melodies with gypsy jazz, which has recently become increasingly popular around the world. An entertaining presentation of jazz, fed with Eastern melodies, this project covers all-time favorite Turkish songs such as Kemani Kevser Hanım’s famous “Nihavend Longa” and Mehmet Ilgın’s timeless “Ağlama Değmez Hayata” with joyful swing interpretations. Bilal Karaman will be accompanied by the original line-up of Manouche Ala Turca, the famous actress and singer Deniz Türkali, clarinet virtuoso, Hüsnü Şenlendirici, and violinist, Muhammed Yıldırır, who was entered into Guinness World Records earlier this year for his violin.
Ali Perret’s DU.DU, a project conceived by the world-renowned duduk (double reed flute) player Suren Asaduryan and jazz pianist Ali Perret from Istanbul, attempts at creating a new universal language by combining contemporary western harmony with millennia-old Anatolian ballads. The band will commemorate the late Mehmet Uluğ with a musical expression on the stage of Babylon on Tuesday, October 18.
Since the “Best Cover” award she won at the 2013 JAmZZ Akbank Jazz Festival Young Talents Contest, Deniz Taşar keeps moving ahead with firm steps in her professional career. She will take the stage at Akbank Sanat on Tuesday, October 18.
Young vocalist Selen Beytekin, the host of a highly popular radio show on Joy FM, is set to become a festival favorite with her rich repertoire of jazz, R&B, funk, soul and blues. She will be performing at Summart Arts Center on Tuesday, October 18.
Drummer Ediz Hafızoğlu is a studio and concert musician working with not only jazz, but also pop, rock, and ethnic music bands. Hafızoğlu released his debut album of jazz and world music genres, “Nazdrave” in 2014. Hafızoğlu will perform at Moda Stage on Wednesday, October 19 with accomplished vocalists Elif Çağlar, Jülide Özçelik, and Ülkü Aybala Sunat with a project he exclusively created for the 26th Akbank Jazz Festival.
One of the rare musicians that use the trombone as a solo instrument, and the winner of Arif Mardin special award in 2009, Bulut Gülen will play songs from his debut album “Su” released last year at Akbank Sanat on Thursday, October 20.
Bass player, composer, and arranger Alper Yılmaz, globally acclaimed for his first two albums “Clashes” and “Over the Clouds” will take part in the 26th Akbank Jazz Festival with his brand new work “Different City, Different Mood”. The improvised performance of Yılmaz, accompanied by prominent jazz musicians Ercüment Orkut and Volkan Öktem will take place at Akbank Sanat on Friday, October 21. A must-see for contemporary jazz fans!
Introducing music lovers to a whole new musical perspective with an authentic guitar playing style and unique compositions, Timuçin Şahin continues his musical journey, which started in Holland, now in New York. In his performance at Akbank Sanat on Saturday, October 22, Şahin will play pieces from his latest album “Inherence” in which he used his double neck guitar with 7-string unfretted and 6-string fretted necks as a solo instrument and which received positive reviews from music authorities in the US and Europe.
Three remarkable musicians, master of percussion Okay Temiz, pianist and composer Tuluğ Tırpan and Colombian bass guitarist Juan Garcia-Herreros, a ‘Best Latin Jazz Album’ Grammy nominee, who like to mix different genres will share the stage for the 26th Akbank Jazz Festival. Get ready for a special performance with a high dose of improvisation and surprises at Caddebostan Cultural Center on Saturday, October 22, as the musicians step in and out of genres.
Önder Focan, one of the most prolific Turkish jazz musicians with numerous albums to his name, will perform during the 26th Akbank Jazz Festival with his “Funkbook” project, which was born at a Nardis concert where he played alongside two saxophonists, brothers Anıl and Batuhan Şallıel, and later released as an album. The concert featuring funky and dynamic covers of Önder Focan songs will take place at Babylon on Sunday, October 23.
Belgian DJ and producer Poldoore, who mostly uses hip-hop and soul trip-hop at slow tempo, comes as a colorful addition to the 26th Akbank Jazz Festival. The artist, who takes cues from numerous examples of electronica to produce different melodies and sounds with a light texture, will perform at Babylon on Friday, October 14.
“Awesome Tapes From Africa”, the blog project that the cassette tape culture addict Brian Shimkovitz conceived, is an internet project, consisting of records which have most likely never left their local area before. The archives of this platform of interesting and impressive records from the 1970s to present day including local music, African disco, avant-garde performances and jazz will now be presented in the 26th Akbank Jazz Festival. Prepare to embark on a safari filled with music you may not hear anywhere else in the concert at Babylon on Friday, October 21.
Having worked with famous DJs such as Luke Solomon, Justin Harris and Derrick Carter, Jonny Rock usually combines the genres of “underground disco, old school Chicago house and boogie vibes” on his tours and in his much-anticipated sets. He has never lost touch with his roots, always integrating into his compositions old Turkish tracks with mystical eastern melodies and a spirit of “psychedelic funk”. He will be taking the stage at Babylon on Saturday, October 22.
Reinterpreting and re-editing old swing records, DJ Chris Tofu was the one to include the genre “electro swing” in our vocabularu. On Friday, October 15, he will be in the unique atmosphere of Babylon inviting all the swing kids to dance.
Panels and Workshops
26th Akbank Jazz Festival will once again be home to a number of talks, panel discussions and workshops this year.
PANEL: Jazz Lovers’ Today, The Future of Jazz
Jazz music, which has acted as a mirror that reflects life on the streets, cultures, technology and even politics since the very beginning, is greatly influenced by the chaotic environment of our century. With the spreading of new technologies and digital media, jazz lovers mostly follow jazz on their mobile devices or the Internet. In this panel discussion, jazz show producer Hakan Rauf Tüfekçi and Hakan Atala, the owner of Lale Plak will attempt to seek answers to questions regarding the adaptation of jazz music, its future in the music industry and its area of freedom.
Saturday, October 22 Time: 1.00 pm Venue: Akbank Sanat / Free of charge.
PANEL: Jazz in Fashion
In this panel moderated by fashion writer Barış Çakmakçı, and joined by Hülya Tunçağ, guests will embark on a short but delightful journey into the history of jazz with examples from not only music but also from cinema, literature, and fashion magazines.
Saturday, October 22 Time: 4.00 pm Venue: Soho House / Free of charge.
CHILDREN’S WORKSHOP: Rhythm Inside Me
The “Rhythm Inside Me” workshop, managed by Sahne İstanbul, is a group of activities designed to help children understand the concept of “improvisation” as one of the most powerful elements of jazz music. In these activities, children can express themselves and their emotions and explore their skills by accompanying rhythms with improvised sounds, made with pan lids, plastic cups, cans, by stamping and clapping or using their own bodies. In this workshop, suitable for children in the 7 – 12 age group, participants will use their inner voice, and get the chance to find by themselves the most appropriate rhythm for popular jazz songs.
Saturday, October 15 Time: 3.00 pm Venue: Akbank Sanat
WORKSHOP: Lindy Hoppers Swing Jazz
Lindy Hop is a dance craze, which started in the mid 1920s, during the Swing period known as the golden age of jazz, and continued until the late 1940s, and one that we became familiar with in numerous Hollywood movies of the period. İstanbul Lindy Hoppers will introduce you to this partner style in a workshop where you will be able to learn the rhythm and the first steps of swing dance.
Saturday, October 15 Time: 3.00 pm Venue: Stüdyo Harlem, Taksim
Saturday, October 22 Time: 3.00 pm Venue:22 Stüdyo Savoy, Kadıköy
WORKSHOP: Lindy Hoppers Jazz Tap
In this workshop you will become acquainted with this dance form, which is based on entertainment and improvisation, containing the jazz steps of the 1920s and combining musicality with a sense of rhythm.
Saturday, October 22 Time: 4.00 pm Venue:22 Stüdyo Savoy, Kadıköy
WORKSHOP: Dance & Jazz
New York and İstanbul-based choreographer Korhan Başaran and New York-based Syrian clarinet player Kinan Azmeh and his band collaborate on the project “Re-Rau”, which will be offered at Akbank Sanat on October 20 and 21. Participation in the Master Class and the talks is offered free of charge as part of the workshop.
Murat Meriç, the author of several books on the history of music including “Pop Dedik” and “100 Şarkıda Memleket Tarihi” will talk about the same content this time as part of the 26th Akbank Jazz Festival program in the Orient Bard of Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah.
Radio host and music writer Seda Binbaşgil will discuss a 1959 movie, “Shadows” by one of the pioneering directors of American independent cinema, John Cassavetes at Akbank Sanat on Saturday, October 15 in her talk titled Cinema & Jazz. The film’s soundtrack was recorded by the famous jazz musicians Charles Mingus and Shafi Hadi while the movie has been regarded as an important reflection of improvised acting and mise-en-scene concept on cinema.
Jazz records by the likes of Sevinç Tevs and Erol Pekcan; İsmet Sıral and Okay Temiz and other jazz musicians accompanying pop and rock singers; legendary jazz songs covered with Turkish lyrics; jazz experiments by different names in different times and very compelling recordings you won’t hear anywhere else… In the talk titled An Overview of the Jazz Records Released in Turkey that will take place at Kontra Plak on Saturday, October 15, Murat Meriç and Okan Aydın will provide a synopsis of the history of Turkish jazz by way of records.
The Jazzy Brunch, a feature of Akbank Jazz Festival that appeals both to the ears and also to the palates, continue in the 26th edition. For those of you that want to enjoy a pleasant Sunday brunch to start the week in the company of jazz music, Papyon Quartet will be playing in the lush and peaceful atmosphere of Bizim Tepe, Tepe Majeur on Sunday, October 16. The next Sunday, October 23, Papyon Quartet will be at Club Quartier located within the Saint Joseph Alumnae Association facilities in Moda.
Another social event of the festival, Jazz at Tea Time will take place in two different venues this year. The legendary Turkish jazz musician İlham Gencer will be at the piano for the tea time on Thursday, October 13 at Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah. Make sure you have booked your place for this very exclusive event in the magical atmosphere of Pera Palace where tea and special delicacies will be served. The Grand Tarabya, one of the icons of Istanbul, invites guests to its traditional 5 o’clock tea accompanied by jazz music at its beautiful location by the Bosphorus, on Thursday, October 20. Prepare for musical feast with melodies from the golden age of jazz. Furthermore, the Oldies But Goldies Duo with soloist Sanat Deliorman and pianist Kaan Bıyıkoğlu will offer perform as part of Jazz in the Evening at Akbank Sanat Café on Saturdays, October 15 and 22.
Jazz Workshops in High Schools
In its fifth season, the “Jazz Workshops in High Schools”, which was launched to reach high school students and to instill the love of jazz music, is on its way to becoming an important feature of the festival program. The “Jazz Workshops in High Schools” will offer students an opportunity to observe the creative processes of the artists, and include lectures by musicians Ercüment Orkut, Bulut Gülen and Volkan Topakoğlu who will provide an introduction to jazz music and instruments.
The free “Jazz Workshops in High Schools” will start on Thursday, October 13 at Üsküdar American Academy and Kadıköy Anatolian High School, and continue with Şişli Terakki High School and Enka High School on Friday, October 14, followed by Deutsche Schule and Robert College on Monday, October 17, and end with Sankt Georg Austrian High School and Lycée Galatasaray on Tuesday, October 18.