The festival offers a wide range of programs and artists for jazz lovers. During the 20 days of the festival 160 artists will give 45 concerts and 70 other activities will be held. Apart from these activities, a special book, “The 20th Year of the Akbank Jazz Festival,” and a documentary, “Akbank Jazz Restropective: the Documentary of the 20th Anniversary,” and a compilation album are to be published to document and the festival’s 20th anniversary.
Among the most prominent musicians set to appear at the festival are the Count Basie Orchestra, the Sun Ra Arkestra, John Surman, Diane Schuur, Okay Temiz, Aka Moon, Mısırlı Ahmet, Burhan Öçal, Craig Harris and Hindi Zahra.
The festival activities will be held in many different venues, including the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall, the Hagia Irene Museum, the İstanbul Convention and Exhibition Center, the Akbank Art Center, Babylon, Ghetto, The Seed, the Pera Museum and various universities. The festival primarily brings together jazz musicians, but what makes these musicians unique is that they have managed to integrate their cultural background and folkloric elements with jazz. In this regard, the music at the festival will not be restricted to traditional jazz styles but will also include elements of South African and Middle Eastern music as well as Turkish elements with the contribution of Turkish musicians.
The festival events have been divided into different categories. “Büyük Orkestraların Egemenliği” (The Domination of Big Orchestras) will include the Count Basie Orchestra, the Sun Ra Arkestra and the International Composers Pool Orchestra. “Sıra Dışı Sesler” (Extraordinary Voices) will feature Diane Schuur, Hindi Zahra and the Paganini Trio. Prominent Turkish musicians including İmer Demirer, İlhan Erşahin, Aydın Esen, Baki Duyarlar, Önder Focan, Tuluğ Tırpan (with Sertab Erener) and Oğuz Büyükberber will also take to the stage within the “Türk Cazının Temsilcileri” (The Representatives of Turkish Jazz) section.
This year’s festival will also bring together musicians from diverse backgrounds in an attempt to create unique concerts under the “20. Yıla Özel Projeler” (Projects Unique to the 20th Anniversary) section. For example, prominent composer and pianist Omar Sosa will take the stage with Italian trumpeter Paolo Fresu, while world-famous percussionist Okay Temiz will display his new project, 3+1. The group Barbarlar will also collaborate with Craig Harris.
Not just concerts
But the concerts mentioned above are just a small sampling of what the festival has in store. One of the most remarkable aspects of the festival will undoubtedly be the “Europe Jazz Network: Küresel Caz-Lokal Caz” (Europe Jazz Network: Global Jazz, Local Jazz) panel discussion, which will feature the participation of over 100 international festival organizers. The festival’s program is arranged in such a way that the discussion coincides with the concerts of Turkish musicians, so it will be a great opportunity to introduce and publicize Turkey’s own jazz musicians.
Apart from miscellaneous workshops organized by various artists, Turkish jazz guitarist Sarp Maden will meet with youths at universities as part of the “Kampüste Caz” (Jazz at the Campus) program.
And the festival’s schedule has already gone beyond the borders of İstanbul: The Selen Gülün Trio will perform at various Anatolian universities between Oct. 4 and 8.