Organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) and sponsored by Garanti BBVA for the past 24 years, the 28th Istanbul Jazz Festival kicks off on 1 September. With close to 40 concerts and a variety of side events held in outdoor venues, the festival is bringing back the days when we will once again experience the city of Istanbul through jazz.
Stefano Di Battista dedicates his album Morricone Stories with 12 songs released this spring to the orchestra conductor and trumpeter Ennio Morricone whom he crossed paths with in the defining moment of his career. On the festival stage, Battista and his band will host Morricone by performing the soundtracks he composed. The opening act of the night, which will take place Tuesday evening on 14 September at Swissotel The Bosphorus, is entrusted to one of the popular names of the Turkish jazz scene Ferit Odman and his quintet.
Singer, actress, writer and activist Angelique Kidjo is a four-time Grammy Award winner and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador who has recorded soundtracks for eighteen movies including Lion King and Streetfighter. With her resplendent costumes, dazzling energy, impressive voice and the rich melodic structures in her music, Angélique Kidjo will perform at The Marmara Esma Sultan Mansion on Monday, 6 September. Embracing African melodies, soul, funk, rap, samba, reggae, jazz and blues, the concert will take the audience on a journey which will begin in Africa, visit different places like the Sahara and London, and leave them on the serene shores of France.
Kenan Doğulu “İhtimaller”
Swing, dynamism of jazz and Kenan Doğulu
Kenan Doğulu, who has attained remarkable achievements in his 28 years long music career, is back on stage after a long and compulsory break with a brand new concert presenting the first jazz project of his career “İhtimaller” [Possibilities] which met the audiences in 2016.
Featuring Ercüment Orkut, Can Çankaya and Bulut Gülen’s jazz arrangements of various hit songs that the artist presented the music lovers over the years, the concert will be held Wednesday evening on 15 September at Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu Open-air Theatre.
One of the most innovative pop musicians of Turkey, Mabel Matiz collaborating with the Dutch musician and producer Niels Bross in a special project for the festival; last year’s Grammy nominee Altın Gün who makes the world move to the rhythms of Anatolia; Karsu who brings to stage with songs the story of Ahmet Ertegün, the inspiring founder of Atlantic Records; and BBC Introducing Artist of the Year 2020, Arlo Parks, who has performed at major music festivals such as Glastonbury and Latitude.
Nitai Hershkovits // Eylül Ergül Quartet
Nitai Hershkovits, whose talents were discovered at a young age, became famous in the jazz scene with his performances with the legendary jazz bassist Avishai Cohen in Tel Aviv. Hershkovits and his band is meeting the festival audience Thursday evening on 2 September at Feriye. The opening act of the night will be Eylül Ergül; the young artist noted for her vocal talents will be accompanied by her quartet with veteran musicians Serdar Barçın, Ozan Musluoğlu and Ferit Odman.
Karsu Plays Atlantic Records
Paying homage to the music that has been a source of inspiration for her, the singer and pianist Karsu will be on stage with the “Karsu Plays Atlantic Records” project, performing the legendary works of Atlantic Records founded by one of the most important figures in the history of record labels the songwriter Ahmet Ertegün. At the concert to be held Monday night, on 20 September at Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu Open-air Theatre, Karsu will cover the hit songs of stars such as Ray Charles, The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, The Bee Gees, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and Cher.
Night Out at Beykoz Kundura
18 September Saturday, Beykoz Kundura
This year, a variety of stages located inside Beykoz Kundura will host the Night Out which in previous editions has created an atmosphere of “festival within the festival” across the beautiful venues of Kadıköy. With its support to the project, +1 will add a plus to the pleasure of jazz lovers. Night Out will present two of the most successful names of “jazz and beyond” in Turkey Alp Ersönmez and Çağrı Sertel; along with new and interesting figures of the independent scene including Dilan Balkay and Kâzım. Realised as part of “Vitrin: Showcase for Contemporary Music from Turkey” in collaboration with Kundura Sahne, the concerts will take place at Beykoz Kundura which will host the Vitrin Panels the same day.
The festival spreads across the city with free concerts in the parks
Jazz in the Parks
The festival’s Jazz in the Parks concerts that bring jazz and green together will invite its followers of all ages to the various parks of Istanbul. Extending over five days and five different parks of Istanbul, these free concerts will feature names from the local scene and performances by Young Jazz finalists, along with Fainscmitz who will bring Vienna breezes to the parks, and the American singer and musician Lucy Woodward.
Jazz in the Parks concerts will be organised in Maçka Demokrasi Park, Habitat Park (Şişli), Fenerbahçe Park (Kadıköy), Beylikdüzü Yaşam Vadisi and Sanatçılar Park (Beşiktaş). The program of the Jazz in the Parks will be announced in August.
- 1 September Wednesday, Maçka Demokrasi Park, Şişli
- 3 September Friday, Habitat Park, Şişli
- 4 September Saturday, Fenerbahçe Park, Kadıköy
- 18 September Saturday, Beylikdüzü Yaşam Vadisi
- 19 September Sunday, Sanatçılar Park, Beşiktaş
#IstanbulBirSahne at the Festival in collaboration of İBB, Kültür A.Ş. and Istanbul Jazz Festival
This year the festival launches a new series of free events with the contributions of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) ve Kültür A.Ş. A total of 15 ensembles selected from among the applicants to #İstanbulBirSahne [IstanbulisaStage], which was realised by İBB with the aim of supporting musicians who are going through difficult days due to the pandemic and organising free concerts that will intersect with the daily lives of Istanbulites, will meet with music lovers of Istanbul through the festival in Maçka Demokrasi Park in the scope of “#IstanbulBirSahne at the Festival” events. The concerts to be held on a stage installed in the park will be accompanied by events such as talks, meetings, free events for children, record and book fairs. Through the activities to be organised, the Maçka Demokrasi Park will turn into a meeting spot that brings together festival audiences of all ages.
Among the artists who will participate in #IstanbulisaStage events are, Ayşe Tütüncü Quartet, Batu Şallıel “The Way”, Bîdar, Cazzip Project, Cemre Necefbaş Quartet, Ceyda Özbaşarel Band, Deniz Taşar & Adem Gülşen, Erkan Zeki Ar Quartet, Sibel Demir Quintet, Şenay Lambaoğlu, The Cousin Quintet and The Kites along with various other names. The detailed programme of the events and concert dates will be announced in the upcoming days.
Creative industries come together in “Vitrin – Showcase for Contemporary Music from Turkey”
“Vitrin: Showcase for Contemporary Music from Turkey” will be held for the fifth time this year on 18 September with the support of +1. Realised with the objective of enabling the successful musicians and ensembles of the local scene to reach wider audiences, Vitrin has to date supported many bands in their international tours. This year, Vitrin will appeal to different fields through the various panels it will hold bringing together the music sector with other creative industries. Organised in collaboration with Kundura Sahne and hosted by Beykoz Kundura on 18 September, Vitrin panels will focus on the use of music in film and game industries, sustainable festivals, record labels, agents, artists and institutions of the sector. Pioneering organisations and opinion leaders from different sectors will meet at these panels and discuss the new developments and trends in this field. The exhibition titled “Memory of Kundura: The World Within a Factory” will also be open to visitors free-of-charge on event days.
This year the panels of Vitrin can both be attended in person and also watched live on IKSV YouTube channel. The program of panels to be organised as part of “Vitrin: Showcase for Contemporary Music from Turkey”, which is an international promotion and networking event dedicated to contemporary music from Turkey, will be announced in the upcoming days.
Moreover, the series of concerts titled “Night Out at Beykoz Kundura” featuring six artists, which will be hosted by Beykoz Kundura in the evening of 18 September, will later be broadcast online for the viewing of the directors of the world’s foremost festivals and events. Thus, a large number of international music professionals primarily in Europe and across the globe will have the chance to get to know the music bands in Turkey that perform at the Vitrin concerts. With its support to the project, +1 will add a plus to the pleasure of jazz lovers.
Young Jazz grows stronger with the Mehmet Uluğ Fund!
Launched by the Istanbul Jazz Festival to provide a platform within the festival for amateur or emerging young musicians and ensembles in Turkey, the Young Jazz concerts will be organised for the 19th time.
This year, the Young Jazz project grows stronger by incorporating the Mehmet Uluğ Fund created to honour the memory of music professional Mehmet Uluğ whom we lost in 2013. With the support of the Mehmet Uluğ Fund, Young Jazz will discover the young, talented and promising musicians in Turkey to promote their creativity and career development and enable them to make their voices heard across the world.
Supported by the Mehmet Uluğ Fund, for the first time this year the names selected for the Young Jazz concerts will participate in a special album to be released on digital platforms in collaboration with Sony Music Turkey and IKSV. One original piece of each selected band will be recorded in a professional studio setting under the supervision of producers and mentors, expert in their respective fields. The recordings, including the mix and mastering stages, will take place at Babajim Istanbul Studios. The Young Jazz album which will be produced for the first time this year is planned to be released in November. Besides the album recording, the selected bands will receive a monetary prize to assist in their career development and will be introduced to music professionals in line with their individual careers. In the upcoming future, it is also planned to create a variety of opportunities such as funding the access of young artists to international shows and festivals. In addition, Ahmet Uluğ, one of the founders of Pozitif and a music industry professional, will take part in the Young Jazz Selection Committee on behalf of the Mehmet Uluğ Fund.
The six ensembles to be selected for Young Jazz will be identified at the evaluation concerts to be held at Salon IKSV on 14 August. The selected bands will perform during the festival at the Jazz in the Parks concerts. The Young Jazz Selection Committee consists of music professional Ahmet Uluğ, musician Aycan Teztel, musician Cenk Erdoğan, music writer Leyla Diana Gücük, musician Kalben, musician Selen Gülün, musician Volkan Öktem, radio programmer Dr. Hakan Rauf Tüfekçi, writer Yekta Kopan, Managing Director of Sony Music Entertainment Turkey Özden Bora and Istanbul Jazz Festival Director Harun İzer. The Evaluation Concert will be broadcast on IKSV’s YouTube channel.
Istanbul-born businessperson and music professional Mehmet Uluğ, who passed away in 2013, was the founder of a number of significant institutions including Pozitif, which is one of Turkey’s leading companies in the field of festival and live performance organisation; Babylon, an important arts and culture venue of Istanbul; and the record label Doublemoon which has released records of global success.
Deadline for applications to Young Jazz is Monday, 2 August. For detailed information: http://genccaz.iksv.org
Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award
The 28th Istanbul Jazz Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to singer Tülay German.
Having started singing at the age of four, German made a name for herself as a jazz singer between 1960 and 1962. In 1962, she helped Erdem Buri realise his vision for adapting foreign language songs to Turkish lyrics, performing Turkish Folk Music pieces in polyphony and with western instruments without disturbing their melodic and rhythmic structure, composing new pieces based on Turkish music with Turkish lyrics. In 1964, she filled the record Burçak Tarlası [Vetch Field], which is considered the first ‘hit’ of ‘polyphonic’ Turkish Popular Music. At the beginning of 1966 she went to Paris to make records. She filled ten records in French and appeared in radio and television shows, gave concerts and participated in various festivals in France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Tunisia, Morocco, the Netherlands and Brazil. In the USA, she released the album Tract, composed especially for German by İlhan Mimaroğlu. The album she released in France in Turkish received the Charles Cros Academy 1981 Plaque Grand Prize. Her latest album is Nâzım Hikmet’e Saygı [Ode to Nâzım Hikmet]. In 1987, she retired from the stages with a concert she gave in the Netherlands. German still lives in Paris.
Istanbul Jazz Festival events for children
YouTube video series with Deniz Taşar
The new video series created in collaboration of Istanbul Jazz Festival and IKSV Alt Kat with the support of the United States Embassy begins in July on IKSV YouTube channel.
In the series comprising six episodes, the musician Deniz Taşar will share her own musical adventure while conversing with guest artists on a variety of subjects ranging from improvisation to the relationship of music with other branches of art, from performance to the making of simple instruments. Surprise performances await the viewers in every episode. There will also be playlists related to the content of each episode of the series which will capture the interest of music lovers of all ages. The series to be launched in July will also be accessible through audio description on IKSV Alt Kat website.
Colourful festival workshops for children
A variety of children’s workshops will be organised by IKSV Alt Kat with the support of the United States Embassy. The details of the free-of-charge workshops geared towards different age groups and held as part of the Jazz in the Parks and “Istanbul Is a Stage” events will be announced in July.
Following priority sales at discounted prices for Tulip Card holders on 6 July, the festival tickets will be on sale as of 10.30 on Friday, 9 July at IKSV box office and through passo.com.tr. There will be a limited number of discounted student tickets for every concert.