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  • The 16th International Istanbul Jazz Festival

    Welcoming such jazz legends as Miles Davis, Modern Jazz Quartet, Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz last year, the International Istanbul Jazz Festival is going to turn the town on the Bosporus into jazz city again this year from 2 to 15 July.

    Strains of jazz are going to resound at venues across the city, from historic monuments and museums to ferryboats and shopping malls, during the 16th International Istanbul Jazz Festival.

    With over thirty concerts, the Istanbul Jazz Festival, organized by the Istanbul Art and Culture Foundation, will be spread out through a variety of sites around the city. Besides the traditional Cemil Topuzlu Open Air Theater, a large number of other venues will also host this year’s concerts.

    Besides the Jazz Ferry, now a festival tradition, a Balkan Ferry has also been added this year to liven up the scene with music of the Balkans. In addition to these musical Bosporus cruises on Sundays, 5 and 12 July, a series of Street Concerts will also take the jazz scene into the streets.

    The 16th International Istanbul Jazz Festival will kick off with an Opening Ceremony at The Marmara Esma Sultan in Ortaköy on the evening of Thursday, 2 July. Sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, the 16th International Istanbul Jazz Festival is also backed by the Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture program and the Istanbul Art and Culture Foundation, which are lending their support to all Istanbul Festivals to be held in 2009 and 2010.

    Turkish composer, writer and critic İlhan Mimaroğlu, known for his work in contemporary music, particularly in the area of electronic music, is being honored at this year’s festival with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

    Known especially for his objective and technical criticisms of jazz music, Mimaroğlu was the recipient in 1971 of a Guggenheim Fellowship, one of the U.S.’s most prestigious awards. Besides his works for traditional instruments, Mimaroğlu has also composed a large number of works of electronic music.

    Heading the list of the Istanbul Jazz Festival’s outstanding concerts without a doubt is a joint performance to be given by three of the jazz world’s bass guitarists, Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten.  SMV, the three maestro’s of the bass guitar who made a big splash last year with their album, Thunder, are going to put their signature on one of the summer’s most spectacular concerts.

    The only bass guitarist in history whose albums have become golden records and who has led worldwide concert tours to box-office sellouts, Stanley Clarke is regarded as a living legend for the new methods he has developed for the instrument. Known for his impressive technique and his work with Miles Davis, Marcus Miller too is eagerly awaited by Turkish jazz buffs after his unforgettable concert at last year’s festival. Finally, Victor Wooten, the number one bass guitarist for names like Mike Stern and Chick Corea and known for his famous group, Fleckstones, which he founded with Bela Fleck, is another legend.

    Previous festival participants Joe Sample and Randy Crawford will greet Turkish jazz enthusiasts again this year at the Cemil Topuzlu Open Air Theater with their new album, No Regrets, released in 2008.

    George Benson, a multifaceted musician who has inscribed his name among the best guitarists in jazz history, mesmerizes critics as well as listeners with his vocals. In his concert, “An Unforgettable Tribute to Nat ‘King’ Cole”, the artist will breathe new life into the ‘King’s memorable songs, accompanied by a 28-piece orchestra and 5-person vocal group.

    The ‘Meetings With Masters’ series this year is bringing together three leading artists from Turkey and abroad. The world-renowned voice of Azerbaijan, Alim Qasimov, fretless guitar virtuoso and one of Turkey’s most talented musicians Erkan Oğur, and ‘kemençe’ master Derya Türkan will meet on stage in the spellbinding atmosphere of the Haghia Eirene.

    Meanwhile, Brad Mehldau, his group, the Brad Mehldau Trio, and pop-jazz vocalist, pianist and song-writer Peter Cincotti are among the talented and creative young jazz pianists that will perform at the festival.

    One of the leading representatives of the acoustic-folk movement, Emiliana Torrini is this year’s guest in the ‘New Minstrels’ series. With her voice and interpretations that touch the heart, Emiliana Torrini will bring a taste of her country, Iceland, to Istanbul Modern.

    European Jazz Club Nights, which bring European soloists together with virtuosos from Turkey in special projects, are also continuing at this year’s festival. In the concerts, nightly at Nardis Jazz Club throughout the festival, Dutch woman saxophonist Tineke Postma, one of Europe’s most famous, will perform to the accompaniment of the Cenk Erdoğan Trio.

    Jazz music’s world-famous voice Yıldız Ibrahimova will take the stage with a repertoire of vocals, accompanied by Dutch pianist, composer and arranger Mike Del Ferro, Turkey’s first woman jazz pianist Nilüfer Verdi, and German bass master Andreas Buchmann.

    The talented young trumpet player Mathias Eick, known to us from Norway’s famous electronic jazz group Jaga Jazzist, is accompanying the Ayşe Tütüncü Trio. Meanwhile a project entitled ‘Fasil’, created when young guitarist Marc Sinan, composer Julia Hülsmamm and writer Marc Schiffer crossed paths, is coming to listeners in Turkey for the first time.

    The Istanbul Jazz Festival, which aims to bring listeners of all ages together by spreading jazz through the city’s rich cultural fabric, is offering Istanbul jazz buffs a virtual feast in events such as ‘Young Jazz’ and the ‘Street Concerts’, which are open to everyone free of charge.

    This year a Balkan Ferry has been added to the not-to-be-missed Jazz Ferry now a festival tradition. The Ferries are getting ready to make waves on the Bosporus with jazz rhythms and Balkan melodies.