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 second example is Kerem Türkaydın & Cem Tuncer concert which took place at Nardis Jazz Club on the 6th of March 2018.
Concert Review: Kerem Türkaydin & Cem Tuncer Quartet
On 6th of March, Kerem Türkaydın & Cem Tuncer Quartet concert took place in Nardis Jazz Club, where the most exclusive jazz events in Istanbul since 2002 happens. This quartet contains some of the best Turkish jazz players, which are consecutively, on one guitar, Kerem Türkaydın, who we know from his commercial music projects and jazz theory books; on the other guitar, Cem Tuncer, who plays in TRT Jazz Orchestra and composes songs for TV series, drummer Ferit Odman and double bass player Kağan Yıldız. Apparently, with this stellar rhythm section, any concert would have been a feast of music.
Located in the district of Galata, where different cultures all around the world gather around, the audience had their share of multiculturalism; and they have liberated themselves on the common quest for jazz. Furthermore, during the concert, the audience were always informed about the songs both in English and Turkish. Even the jokes were multilingual, this happened to be a good interaction between the players and the listeners.
The sound of the quartet was highly melodic and accessible, where well-known songs from Benny Golson, Dexter Gordon and Pat Metheny were played along with their compositions. The two guitarists were the compositors of the original works. Cem Tuncer, with his bluesy background and his authentic guitar sound, played very soulful and rhythmic solos and attracted the audience with his fluency on the fretboard. His blues-oriented sound was essential, especially for analyzing his originals named as “The Cat” and “Pulling the Head Along”. Diffusion of 12-bar-blues and well-placed dissonances nourished his expeditions of jazz. On the other hand, Kerem Türkaydın had more of a classical-influenced playing style, in which he created it with a well-matching electric-classic guitar. His improvisations were consisting of chromatic lines that created tensions and then gliding into eurhythmic resolutions. His original works called as “Tango in Subconscious” and “Masal” outlined his approach on guitar, where some critical elements from other genres were included, i.e. flamenco. Besides, the bass and drums were perfect complements for these genius guitarists. For each and every moment, Odman and Yıldız had played their roles on time and created the vast playground for guitarists to explore the boundaries of their music.
Ultimately, in the end of the concert, the enjoyment of having listened two virtuoso guitarists encourages the musicians among the audience; indeed, this concert exhibits two disparate techniques of advanced guitar players, which also show how varieties can build up a unique harmony. And as a whole, the concert was a remarkable one with its accomplished musicians and incomparable sound; therefore, I recommend it to all who would have the chance to see this concert again.