Istanbul Jazz Festival to host Turkish premiere

Istanbul Jazz Festival to host Turkish premiere

Istanbul Jazz Festival to host Turkish premiere

Katie Melua, will star at the Cemil Topuzlu Open Air Theater on July 10.

Organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Arts and Culture (İKSV), the 21st Istanbul Jazz Festival begins tomorrow. Taking place across 13 different venues until July 16 and hosting over 200 local and international acts including masters like Hugh Laurie, Katie Melua, Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke, as well as the rising stars of international jazz, such as Cécile Mclorin Salvant and Kellylee Evans, the festival will also bring the magic of jazz to the city’s parks with this year’s new event, “Jazz in the Parks.”

During its first week, the 21st Istanbul Jazz Festival will host Turkey’s premiere composer, author and musician Zülfü Livaneli’s new piece composed for the poems of Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi, “Rumi Suite: The Eternal Day.” The concert, Livaneli as composer including his on-stage presentation, will take place at Sepetçiler Kasrı on July 2.

Coming to life after a two-year process, Mevlana’s poems were translated from Persian to English for the “Rumi Suite: The Eternal Day” project. “Rumi Suite: The Eternal Day,” in which Livaneli blends jazz forms with traditional Turkish music, will be performed by a powerful ensemble that has worked with the artist many times before: The Henning Schmiedt Ensemble, led by pianist Henning Schmiedt, features famous jazz vocalist Romy Camerun, ney (reed instrument) player Burcu Karadağ who has worked with many masterful names from Fazıl Say to Sertab Erener, Trilok Gurtu, and Okay Temiz, as well as Joo Kraus on trumpet, Ralph Gräßler on bass, and Uli Moritz on drums.

Describing the project’s process of formation, Livaneli said, “Over the past year, the English translations of these poems have always been with me, I kept them as bedside books, always accessible. Presumably, the poems I read every single day led to a condensation, an accumulation inside me. It was as if a Mevlana river was flowing in me, incessantly day and night. Surely, this river would eventually find a way to flow outside, and one day I found myself composing melodies to these poems. It was not a decision; it was a process just as is. The melodies almost gushed out, turned into a suite, and after a two-year period, the ‘Rumi Suite’ appeared.” 

Lineup includes Katie Melua and Hugh Laurie

The festival will kick-off with an opening ceremony followed by the Four in the Pocket concert today at the Austria Culture Office Garden. The band will perform a special repertoire comprising the works of various artists from the previous festivals.

One of the most superb pianists in the Polish jazz scene, Leszek Możdżer joins Swedish double bass player Lars Danielsson and Israeli percussion master Zohar Fresco to create Możdżer Danielsson Fresco Trio. Following the trio’s performance, Polish trumpeter and composer Thomas Stańko will be on stage July 3 at the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall.

The festival brings together the enchanting percussionist Manu Katché, one of the best jazz bassists Richard Bona, one of Belgium’s leading pianists Eric Legnini, and Stefano di Battista who is a Blue Note musician and a distinguished saxophonist of the European jazz scene. The four stars will be sharing a stage for the first time for this project at the santralistanbul Kıyı Amfi on July 7.

The two legends of jazz collaborate in a special acoustic project, which will definitely be one of the highlights of the festival. Stanley Clarke will be on the bass guitar and Chick “The Illustrious” Corea on piano for their project at the Haliç Congress Center on July 8.

Enjoying a huge fan base both in Turkey and throughout the world for his title role in the TV series “Doctor House,” actor, comedian, writer, director and musician Hugh Laurie will make his Istanbul debut at the Istanbul Jazz Festival. Laurie will be on stage with the Copper Bottom Band at the Cemil Topuzlu Open Air Theater on July 9.

The 25-year-old young talent Cécile McLorin Salvant will be before the Istanbul audience at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum on July 11. Songwriter Katie Melua, who already had two albums in the top ten on the U.K. charts when she was only 19, will be at the Cemil Topuzlu Open Air Theater on July 10. Melua will sing her songs of love and melancholy, including her hit ballads “The Closest Thing to Crazy” and “Nine Billion Bicycles,” for the Istanbul audience.

Named “Africa’s premier diva” and “the undisputed Queen of African Music,” Angelique Kidjo will give her first solo concert in Istanbul as part of the festival July 14 July at Feriye Restaurant.

This year, the city will jazz it up with the debuting of the “Jazz in the Parks” event, which will bring together accomplished young jazz musicians from Turkey and the distinguished figures of the international jazz world on the same stage, one after another.