Running into its fifth year since the day was marked on the global calendar by UNESCO, International Jazz Day is definitely widely celebrated in Istanbul. Named the world's jazz capital in 2013, the number of venues and impressive musical acts just continue to grow in this city and this year is no different as a wide number of top-notch acts take the stage this Saturday to celebrate the musical genre of jazz.
Babylon Bomonti, Istanbul's most popular live music venue that has now moved to a mega new location in the historical beer factory in Bomonti, will also be hosting a special night of performances in honor of world jazz day. Starting the evening off will be "Quincy Jones presents the Alfredo Rodriguez Trio" where the talented Cuban pianist Quincy Jones will be joined by Reinier Elizarde Ruano and Michael Olivera Garcia.
Following this performance, which starts at 10 p.m., Korhan Futaci and Kara Orkestra, a synthesis of skilled musicians from a number of popular band's in Turkey's alternative scene such as Dandadadan and Konstrukt, who jam together to create a unique style of grooves will also be taking the stage at midnight. Tickets are TL 28.25 ($9) or TL 44.50 for a table.
For international Jazz Day, Akbank Sanat will be hosting the Chico Freeman - Heiri Kanzig Duo. The performance will take place at Akbank Sanat on İstiklal in Taksim from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Chico Freeman is a famed saxophonist who has played with the likes of McCoy Tyner, Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Holland, Sonny Rollins to name just a very few, while Heiri Kanzig on the upright bass has taken part in nearly 150 recordings. Tickets are TL 20 and TL 10 for students.
As part of Garanti's jazz sponsorship, International Jazz Day will also be celebrated at Istanbul's quintessential jazz club, Nardis, which will be hosting U.S.-based vocalist Judy Niemack and her band consisting of Kürşad Deniz on piano, Matt Hall on bass and Cem Aksel on drums. The performance will take place between 10:30 p.m. - 1:30 a.m. at this authentic jazz club located just around the corner from Galata Tower.
Also part of Garanti's jazz productions, a number of Turkey's best-known jazz musicians will be taking the stage together for an evening of music dedicated to Romani guitar legend Django Reinhardt on Saturday April 30. Easily considered one of the greatest guitar players of all time having created a new jazz style technique that has become a living musician tradition among the French gypsy culture. Joined on stage in honor of this musical legend vocalists Şirin Soysal, Başak Yavuz and Ülkü Aybala Sunat take the stage joined by a number of skilled musicians to honor this legendary musician. Turkey's very own guitar maestro Bilal Karaman will be on board and joined by Mehmet Mutlu on guitar, Baran Say will play the upright bass and Vedat Özdemiroğlu serves as presenter. Located in Şişhane, the event takes place at Salon IKSV and starts at 10:30 p.m. and tickets are TL 40 and TL 30 for students.
On Saturday, April 30 the Bau Jazz band performs at the Bahçeşehir University campus in Beşiktaş at 8 p.m. for a free show in honor of International Jazz Day. Offering a very special performance by the team that teaches jazz on campus, who just happen to be some of Turkey's hard hitters, this concert will have Sibel Köse on vocals, Baki Duyarlar on piano, Nilüfer Verdi on guitar, Kağan Yıldız on bass, Şenova Ülker on trumpet, Tamer Temel on saxophone, and Cengiz Baysal on drums, including many more.
The Living Room Art Cafe and Social Club, located in Kadıköy's Caferağa neighborhood and credited as being the Asian side's first and only jazz bar, will be holding a very special performance evening with the Neşet Ruacan Band. Known for his jazz guitar prowess, having played the instrument for nearly 50 years, Ruacan is joined by a strong lineup of skilled Turkish musicians including Yahya Dai on saxophone, Şenova Ülker on trumpet and Bulut Gülen on trombone. The performance starts at 10 p.m. and tickets cost TL 40.
Australian-Turkish vocalist Aysu Çöğür brings her "Experimistan" to 60m2 for a special performance at this jazz club in Talimhane, which also dishes up delicious fare. Joined by a medley of Turkish and expat musicians like herself, Aysu Çöğür's latest project is an originally composed synthesis of funk and ethnic-neo soul.
Aysu Çöğür's stunning energy, vocals and loop pedaling prowess will be joined onstage by Ali Pourmand on vocal, trumpet and midi, Mustafa Kemal Emirel on drums, Payam Ghasemi on bass and Daniel Griladze on guitar.
A favorite Turkish jazz vocalist Dolunay Obruk will also be performing on Saturday night at the Moda Deniz Kulübü in Kadıkoy starting at 9:30 p.m.
In Bodrum, Pannonica Jazz will also be celebrated this annual day with a two-night concert series by the Sarp Maden trio, one of the leading guitarists of the new generation of Turkish jazz artists. He will be joined by Alper Yılmaz on bass and Volkan Öktem on drums.
April 29 International Dance Day
Let us not forget that today, April 29 is International Dance Day and the Akbank Sanat Dans Atölyesi has prepared a very special program for International Dance Day with choreography and dances by Turkish and international performers under the direction of Korhan Başaran. Tickets are TL 20 and the performance is tonight from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
If you want to take it one step further, Akbank Sanat will also be hosting a five-day dance workshop led by Sanja Maier-Hasagic, a dancer hailing from Bosnia, who has been a part of a number of ensembles, including the Sarajevo National Ballet.
Having undergone training in choreography and dance in France and Holland and serving as the International Dance Festival's artistic director, Sanja is well versed on teaching improvisation, composition, modern techniques, creative coaching and ballet. Her workshop, held at Akbank Sanat from May 2 to May 6, will take place from 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and tickets to take part cost TL 15 daily.