I don’t know about you but my day was great. I was already starting to get excited when I heard about the concert news as the 30th of April approached. It was not possible for me to attend all of the Jazz Day celebrations which mainly took place in Istanbul (I hope we will see more intensive event programs in other big cities like Ankara and Izmir in the upcoming years), but here is a few that I remember from these events: Kerem Görsev Trio Jazz Day special concert that took place in Sait Halim Paşa Yalısı that was a part of “Siemens Small Appliances Breakfast and Jazz” series on Sundays, Barış Ünal Brasil Trio during Tamirane’s “Morning Jazz Sessions”, Yel Değirmeni Jazz Spring events organized with much effort for the first time this year by Eren Noyan and Selin Çelik in Kadıköy Yeldeğirmeni district, Bahçeşehir Ünivesitesi Jazz Academy concert, five different concerts organized by Garanti Jazz Yeşili as a fundamental part of the Jazz Day. Ülkü Aybala Sunat, followed by Elif Çağlar Muslu concerts at Zorlu PSM, Flapper Swing feat. Antti Sarpila at Nardis Jazz Club, Jasper Hoiby’s Fellow Creatures at Salon IKSV, MadenÖktemErsönmez and then Colin Stetson at Babylon Bomonti and “Get The Blessing” at Garaj Istanbul were Jazz Yeşili concerts. Ece Göksu concert commemorating the 100th birthday of Ella Fitzgerald. There was also the happy news of two concerts that were taking place outside Istanbul for the Jazz Day; one of these was International Jazz Day – Duygu Tarhan Quintet concert organized by Kuşadası Sealight Amara Resort Otel and the other was International Jazz Day “Thelonious Monk 100 Yaşında” concert that was about to take place in Edirne with Eren Akgün on the trombone, Can Tutuğ on the vibraphone as they were accompanied by their friends.
I made myself a plan to celebrate the Jazz Day after taking a look at the concerts of 30th of April International Jazz Day concerts.
I started my Jazz Day with Yeldeğirmeni Jazz Spring. My first stop was The Badau. Photography artist Orçun Kaya was just about to finish his preparations for the opening of his “Jazz in Town” exhibition. I wished him the best and moved on to No39 a few steps ahead to attend “Jazz Brunch DJ Barthez”.
As I sipped my coffee, I listened to the pleasant jazz selection of DJ Barthez in the yard of No39, and conversed with Gökçe Hilal, who prepares Mixed Jazz program for Joy Jazz radio, and a listener of Joy Jazz. After DJ Barthez’s great performance, which prepared me for the Jazz Day ahead, we went to The Badau together. I first looked at the photographs on the walls. All of the pieces in the “Jazz in Town” exhibition were black and white and consisted of photos taken during the concerts at The Badau. Orçun Kaya said that the exhibition will stay at The Badau for a while longer with the addition of new photos. We now have another reason in addition to the great food and concerts to visit The Badau.
Guitarist Sıtkı Sırtanadolu, as you will recognize him from the band SPIN that they founded with Selim Benba in the 2000s, was also at The Badau during Jazz Day. There are photos taken during his concerts at The Badau in “Jazz in Town” photo exhibition as well.
After taking photos and selfies altogether, we left our pleasant conversation on jazz and photography at The Badau a little unwillingly, and started to move on to Beşiktaş with Gökçe Hilal and the Joy Jazz listener I had just met to listen to the concert at Bahçeşehir University.
Bahçeşehir Üniversitesi (BAU) Jazz Academy shoulders a great responsibility and mission with the guidance of very valuable jazz musicians in educating jazz musicians and teachers, trying to fill this deficiency in our country. Listening to this concert was especially important for me due to this reason. BAU showed us the value it puts in jazz education through this concert they organized for the Jazz Day in their most prestigious concert hall. Yeşim Pekiner, the director of BAU Jazz Academy, presented the event. The concert started with the teachers of the adacemy, the masters. The concert hall was full. Trumpet player Şenova Ülker, pianist Baki Duyarlar, drummer Cem Aksel, Tamer Temel on the tenor saxophone, double bass player Kristian Lind accompanied vocalists Yeşim Pekiner, Başak Yavuz and Sibel Köse.
We listened to Yeşim Pekiner, followed by Başak Yavuz and lastly Sibel Köse. All the musicians celebrated our Jazz Day with positivity. The enthusiastic audience replied by ceaselessly applauding these master musicians after both the solos and at the end of the pieces.
Hakan Başar, the 11 years-old pianist who did his debut with mini concerts he gave during IKSV Istanbul Jazz Festival Press Meeting and Üsküdar Municipality Ahmet Ertegün Commemoration concert, was called onto the stage by Baki Duyarlar with much praise, and they played a piece together with Hakan Başar.
Now it was the turn for the BAU Jazz Academy students to perform. The band, which consisted of Jazz Graduate Studies students Levent Erim (p), Nedim Ulusoy (s), Özgür Atasoy (s), Mustafa Alp (g) Esra Kayıkçı (b) and Fırtına Kıral (d), played as if to challenge their teachers and masters. I realized the importance and the value of BAU Jazz Academy once more after listening to their students.
Zorlu PSM was our next destination after the concert at BAU. Zorlu PSM, as they are in the midst of their new and much-awaited jazz festival which is taking place between 3-12 May, did not forget to celebrate the Jazz Day. There were two concerts in the Zorlu PSM amphitheatre. The celebrations started with Ülkü Aybala Sunat’s concert (I couldn’t make it in time for this concert, because I was still at BAU), followed by Elif Çağlar Muslu. I was greeted by Elif Çağlar Muslu’s voice as I climbed up the stairs of the metro and she accompanied me to the Zorlu PSM amphitheatre. Zorlu PSM brought the celebrations in this beautiful day to an open-air venue. Even though the strong wind gave us shivers, we were soon warmed by Elif Çağlar Muslu’s songs. It was evident that the enthusiastic audience at the amphitheatre was having fun along with the musicians throughout the concert.
The schedule I made days ago for the Jazz Day went on without any changes to the plan. My next stop was Uniq Istanbul. Listening to the valuable musicians who came together at Uniq Hall for the 100th birthday of the jazz queen Ella Fitzgerald and celebrating the Jazz Day with them was an incredible experience for me.
Vocalist Ece Göksu was accompanied by İmer Demirer (tp), Engin Recepoğulları (ts), Neşet Ruacan (g), Can Çankaya (p), Kağan Yıldız (b) and Cem Aksel (d), and they gave an incredible concert that consisted of Ella Fitzgerald pieces. You will soon find the detailed review of this concert on Jazz Dergisi, as written by Emre Adam, I recommend you read it.
Of course, there is no Jazz Day without Nardis, especially for me. The Jazz Day celebrations should come to an end at Nardis Jazz Club, the only jazz club in our country. One has to hum the lyrics to “Cheek to Cheek” on the way “Heaven, I’m in heaven And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak…”
The club was full was I stepped into Nardis and the concert had already started. The crowd was joyful. There were many tourists and this is of course great news. There is a lot of things to be said about the concert, of course, but shortly put, the harmony between Finnish clarinet player Antti Sarpila and Flapper Swing was incredible. We witnessed a union that is worthy of the International Jazz Day. It was an amazing concert, worthy to be the closing event of the Jazz Day.
I have always enjoyed listening to Flapper Swing; Nevin Avcılar Hetmanek, Tomas Hetmanek, Erhan Erbelger, Tamer Temel and Volkan Topakoğlu are all musicians I love listening to. Guest musician, Finnish clarinet player Annti Sarpila who came for this Garanti Jazz Yeşili concert contributed a little something tasteful to Flapper Swing’s music. He was able to adapt greatly most probably because he comes from the swing tradition. After an encore, the concert and Jazz Day drew to an end with loud applause. And the night ended at Ritim, as it always does after Nardis concerts, and as Ella said “I got rhythm”.
After listening to a great concert at a great concert hall such as Uniq Hall, as I hummed Ella’s songs, I thought of Nardis’s slogan “Jazz Kulüpte Dinlenir” (Jazz Is Best at Club).
Another Jazz Day is over but starting tomorrow with another jazz day is in your hands. Our country needs jazz! To many more Jazz Days…