Seda Binbaşgil has been teaching Jazz Appreciation I & II classes at Boğaziçi University for 12 years each semester. She has been introducing new albums every week during her “Esintiler” program at Açık Radio for 20 years. She also teaches Philosophy and Cinema classes at Simya Gallery. She was active as a writer for Jazz Dergisi in the past.
The classes she teaches at Boğaziçi University are as below:
Jazz Appreciation I
The intention of this course is to turn you onto jazz! The first part of this two-semester-course discusses its origins, fundamentals of improvisation; covers all periods of jazz history from its beginnings until the end of the “Cool Jazz” era and most of the key musicians. The discussions will not only be from a musical perspective but will also touch upon the interrelations of jazz with economics, politics, history & other social dimensions. Particular attention will be paid to the audio and visual presentation of the material with the goal of improving comprehension and retention. Although the course does not require any technical knowledge of music, listening to jazz –both recorded and live- is strongly encouraged.
Jazz Appreciation II
FA 496 is a guide to appreciating jazz. The course will pick up where FA 495 left off, ultimately covering the remaining key styles of jazz (Free, Avantgarde, Fusion, Latin, Contemporary) and most of the key musicians. (Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans etc.) The discussions will not only be from a musical perspective, but will also accentuate the interrelations of jazz with economics, politics, history & other social dimensions. Particular attention will be paid to the audio and visual presentation of the material to improve comprehension and retention. Although FA 495 (Jazz Appreciation I) is not a prerequisite for FA 496, students are encouraged to take it before this one. In any case, there will be a brief review of some of the first semester topics. The course does not require any technical knowledge of music, but listening to jazz –both recorded and live- is strongly encouraged.
The students are required to turn in two projects in addition to participating in the midterm and final exams.
The projects are listed below:
The students attend a jazz concert and evaluate it.
The students compare the original version of a piece they particularly enjoy (in any genre) and compare it to a jazz improv version that they like as much as the original or more. (Example: If the student chooses Exit Music for a Film, they need to compare the Radiohead original with the Brad Mehldau original; if My Favorite Things from “Sound of Music” is chosen they compare it with the John Coltrane version. There are endless examples like Selda Bağcan’s “Ayrılık” and Önder Focan’s “Standard a La Turc”. We will share such examples in the future.
We will publish student essays for the Concert Evaluation class in this sergement. The third example is Organic Expeditions Trio concert which took place at Nardis Jazz Club on the 7th of March 2018.
Organic Expeditions Trio
The concert was in Nardis Jazz Club in Galata and on 07 March 2018. The place is relatively small and capacity of audience is not too much. But with its authentic decoration and architecture, has a very delightful atmosphere which contributes to the performances.
The Performance was held by the Organic Expeditions Quartet but tenor saxophonist Anıl Şallıel was not at the gig; so it was a trio performance. Line up was: Önder Focan (also the co-owner of the Nardis) on electric guitar, Ekin Cengizkan on drums and Kaan Bıyıkoğlu on hammond organ.
They started with the tune ‘’ Mellow Mood ‘’ by Jimmy Smith & Wes Montgomery and regarding the instrumentalization of the trio, that was a good start;it was even like a ‘’Co-memorization’’ of the great artists who had contributed to the jazz music with their non-stereotypical jazz instruments compared to earlier period;namely Hammond organ and electric guitar. They played 2 Pat Metheny tunes; one was Timeline. ‘’Boğaz’da’’ and ‘’Salatanın suyu’’ were Önder Focan’s compositions. Come Together by The Beatles is the one that had a good transitional improvization from rock genre. The Sidewinder by Lee Morgan and Work Song by Cannonball Adderley were two of other songs and there were more which were really well-performed.
The Repertoire was mostly consist of Soul,Blues and Boogie sounds.They had a very rich rhythmic structure and they were really entertaining. Önder Focan had a really cool stage presence on the left side of stage,his classic spot his solos was very tunefully improvized such that he had quoted from the Pink Panthers Theme song in one of his solos which is composed by Henry Mancini. It was a little beautiful detail. Other two performers were also good. Ekin Cengizkan was the youngest of the trio and it was obvious from the musical communication between them, his youthful appearance with new jazz drum approaches and performances on the stage.
General Atmosphere was very entertaining and Önder Focan was explaining the songs sometimes. Although I like abstract and mystic sounds more, I really enjoyed this kind of jazz as well due to the performers. I recommend this performance to the others who enjoy the blues, soul and boogie sounds. They were really into it.