The music will echo all over Istanbul during this year’s jazz festival. From Asia to Europe, from parks to halls; the city is set to host music enthusiasts.
Organized by Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) with the sponsorship of Garanti BBVA for the past 25 years, Istanbul Jazz Festival opens its doors for the 29th time on 25 June. This summer, the festival will be uniting major jazz artists and the stars of contemporary music with music lovers in different venues of Istanbul.
Nature will welcome the music and audiences at Habitat Park (Şişli), Beylikdüzü Yaşam Vadisi, Küçükçekmece Göl Kenarı Amphitheater, Göztepe Özgürlük Park (Kadıköy) and Sanatçılar Park (Beşiktaş).
Taking its name after Esma Sultan, the daughter of the 32nd Ottoman ruler, Sultan Abdülaziz, the historic mansion has borne witness to a number of historic events and figures over time. The Marmara Esma Sultan Mansion now awaits for an exquisite night of music under its historic atmosphere. Süreyya Opera House is another historic venue that is set to host the festival. The historic opera house in Kadıköy will be opening its doors for the 29th Istanbul Jazz Festival. Sultan Park-Swissôtel the Bosphorus will also be one of the open air venues.
When it comes to music, there are two venues that come to minds of all the locals of the city: Harbiye Open Air Theatre and Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall. These two venues will be hosting some of the most exciting and memorable events throughout the festival.
Stars of the Festival
On the 50th anniversary of Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, and the 29th anniversary of the Istanbul Jazz Festival, one of the preeminent female jazz vocalists in the world Dianne Reeves comes to Istanbul. 5 times Grammy Award Winner vocalist is set to offer the festival audience an exquisite night of music. Reeves will be joined by extraordinary artists John Beasley, Romero Lubambo, Itaiguara Brandão and Terreon Gully. Also joining Reeves on the stage, is the world-famous clarinet virtuoso Hüsnü Şenlendirici who is known for his interpretations of Roman melodies through the lens of pop, jazz and funk. This unique night of music will take place in Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu Open-Air Theatre, one of the venues identified with Istanbul and the festival in 5 July.
Blessed with a beautiful alto voice and grand insight as a songwriter, Melody Gardot will take the stage at Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu Open Air Theater on 7 July. Gardot possesses a blue, jazz-oriented style and dusky persona that reflect not only her afflictions, but conversely the hope and joy of making personalised music that marks her as an original.
Audiences are invited to a rendezvous with a living legend of music that is John McLaughlin in Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu Open-Air Theatre on 29 June. The artist has introduced jazz and rock guitar to three different generations during his career, liberally pushing the boundaries of music with his band, The 4th Dimension.
Best of Turkey
One of the most popular Turkish rock singers of the new millennium, Teoman is known for his lyrics, telling sometimes funny but mostly tragic, ordinary but magical stories. Common theme being loneliness, he is the voice of life in big cities where existential loneliness dominates the culture.
Kalben will be taking part in this year’s festival, offering a night of music filled with her unique and impressive voice. Her style of purity and simplicity had the hearts of Turkish audiences for a while now and she keeps expanding her fan base steadily. What makes this concert extra special is the fact that it will bring together two artists: Kalben and the Tel Aviv musician Dudu Tassa who has also composed and arranged the song, ‘Şanssız Mücadeleci’ (Unlucky Fighter) for Kalben.
Known for her delicate vocals Deniz Tekin will be joined by Mehmet Ali Şimayli, who can skilfully switch between genres, and Portrait and a Dream. The band’s first album, Portrait and a Dream, released by the Swiss label Unit Records, was named among the ‘best jazz albums’ by Bandcamp and also endorsed by Jazz’n’More and Jazz Thing journals. The historic and magical Süreyya Opera House will be hosting this exquisite night of music.
Night Out with +1 is one of the most engaging events of the Istanbul Jazz Festival in recent years. The event will take place again this year as a music tour at different venues on a Saturday night, in Kadıköy. The first band that will take stage as part of the event is Ayyuka, which reflects the psychedelic spirit of the 1970s and is inspired by a wide range of sources from Erkin Koray to Dick Dale. The Dutch duo Yin Yin that combines disco and funk elements in an electronic universe while being influenced by the music of the 60s and 70s of South-East Asia will perform solo and also take the stage with Ayyuka. Next, get ready to party with Hey! Douglas. Another important name in this year’s Night Out with +1 is Noiserv, the ingenious project of Portuguese musician David Santos, whose music resembles that of Yann Tiersen, Radiohead, and Sigur Rós. It’ll only take one ticket to experience all the Night Out with +1 events.
Jazz in the Parks
Bringing green and jazz together, the festival’s Jazz in the Park concerts will invite audiences of all ages to various parks of Istanbul, completely free of charge. Tuba Skinny will be bringing the rich musical heritage of New Orleans to Istanbul with Botticelli Baby. The group brings together artists from different cities and cultures of the world. Before the group there will be performances from local artists and the finalists of Young Jazz +. Jazz in the Parks concerts will be held in Habitat Park (Şişli), Beylikdüzü Yaşam Vadisi, Küçükçekmece Göl Kenarı Amphitheater, Göztepe Özgürlük Park (Kadıköy) and Sanatçılar Park (Beşiktaş). The concerts in Beşiktaş and Beylikdüzü are sponsored by the Goethe-Institute Istanbul and the ones in Şişli by UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
Nardis Jazz Club celebrates its 20th anniversary at Istanbul Jazz Festival
Nardis Jazz Club, which mainly hosts local musicians but has also welcomed many international jazz stars over the years including Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Roy Hargrove and Ron Cartergiven, is celebrating its 20th anniversary with an exceptional concert as part of the festival. At the event, some of the most prominent names of the local jazz scene such as Ferit Odman Group, Cem Tuncer Quartet, Dilek Sert Erdoğan Group, İpek Dinç Band, Aydın Kahya Band, Uraz Kıvaner, ‘Chet Baker Project’, Önder Focan Group, Meltem Ege Group, Sibel Köse Group and Hayati Kafe will be taking the stage, as well as the multiple Grammy-nominated jazz singer Roberta Gambarini.
An innovative breath of modern jazz: Enrico Pieranunzi Trio
His gentle dance with the piano keys undoubtedly sets Enrico Pieranunzi apart from other pianists. With rings of Renaissance to his music and skilful combination of jazz and classical, he has fascinated the audiences to this day. He’ll be awaiting his audience at the most magnificent The Marmara Esma Sultan Mansion on Monday, 27 June sponsored by Istituto Italiano di Cultura.
An explorer: YOM
The inspired virtuoso clarinetist Yom has devoted himself to exploring different musical aesthetics. Clarinet virtuoso Yom, who prioritizes exploration of different worlds and the journey of the soul and how to reflect that through music, will take the audiences on a trip of discovery at Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall. The event is sponsored by Institut Français de Turquie.
Vitrin – Contemporary Music from Turkey
Music in Turkey takes inspiration from both East and West, making it a “musical silk road” where influences flow in each direction. Vitrin aims to showcase the current state of all these influences, with the best examples in different genres: jazz, rock, electronic music, ethnic sounds and global fusions.
In the sixth edition of Vitrin, Istanbul Jazz Festival invites a limited number of music professionals to attend the festival, along with the festival audience. A limited number of vacancies will be open to applications from international festival managers, cultural institutes, booking agents, promoters, record labels, music journalists and radio producers from all over the world. International delegates will not only experience the showcases of some of the best newest bands from Turkey, but also attend networking events, increase their knowledge about Turkey’s vibrant music scene and meet with the key players of the local music industry.
Festival tickets are available in price categories ranging from 700 TL to 10 TL (some events free of charge). Tickets can be purchased through passo.com.tr/en and Passo Mobile app by creating an account or at IKSV box office. You can enter the events by presenting your PDF ticket, which is sent to your e-mail address and also stored under ‘my tickets’ section of your profile page at the Passo website. Service fee is included in ticket prices.