Musicians protest famous venue in city’s jazz scene

Musicians protest famous venue in city’s jazz scene

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Musicians protest famous venue in city’s jazz scene

Aytek Şermet, the owner of Istanbul Jazz Center, is accused of not paying money to musicians for concerts.

Turkish jazz musicians announced in a written statement yesterday that they had taken a decision to boycott the Istanbul Jazz Center, one of the best known venues in the city’s jazz scene. They added that they expected an apology from the owner of the venue, Aytek Şermet.

The statement made on behalf of the Independent Musicians and Producers Association, which was formed in February by a group of jazz musicians, condemned Istanbul Jazz Center and Şermet because of the violence against young musician Uraz Kıvaner.

Kerem Görsev, İlhan Erşahin, Jehan Barbur and Demirhan Baylan are among the well-known jazz figures who put their names to the statement.

‘He paid half of money’

According to daily Hürriyet’s Barış Akpolat, who wrote about the issue in his column on May 19, Şermet paid only half of the money for a concert performed by Kıvaner one month previously in the venue.

During the rehearsal of the next concert, Kıvaner reminded Şermet of his debt but was then attacked by him.

According to Akpolat, Şermet has a far from clean record in money issues. U.S. jazz bassist Buster Williams earlier claimed that he played at the Istanbul Jazz Center but did not get his money. He wrote the following some time ago on his website: “If you go to Istanbul to work with Şermet, think twice.”

Kıvaner claimed that many other foreign jazz players did not get their money from Şermet. “All Turkish jazz musicians have problems with him. I don’t know who will play there,” he said.

Speaking to Hürriyet about the claims, tonmeister Burçak Çağdaş, who left the venue some time ago, said, “The first two years were very good; money was paid on time. But later on the first partner Süha Kurultay and then the other partner pianist Kerem Görsev left. I have two file suits against Şermet.

One is about fraud in my insurance and the other is about my unpaid compensation and salaries. He owes me 30,000 Turkish Liras.”

The Daily News tried to contact Şermet about the claims, but received no answer.