10 reasons not to miss 27. Akbank Jazz Festival

Extract from the blog of the 27. Akbank Jazz Festival, Istanbul, 3 - 19 November 2017

1- To Experience A Real Jazz Festival
In our day, the jazz genre should be considered in a wide spectrum. The reason why this musical genre with a century old history remains so creative is the wideness of the creative fields it commends. I believe that Akbank Jazz Festival understands the importance of this perspective very well. Without necessarily going way back, let us remember that 2015 Akbank Jazz Festival provided us the opportunity to watch electronic music bands like Squarepusher and Gaslamp Killer, which feeds from jazz genre. One year later, Saul Willams brought jazz and hip hop together in a wonderful performance. With many similar examples, Akbank Jazz Festival proves to be one of the rare jazz festivals that manages to catch up with todays global world.

2- The opportunity to meet world famous artists 
As one of the loyal followers of Akbank Jazz Festival, I believe that the favorite moments of all festivalgoers -aside from the performances- are the moments where they can meet the musicians they love. I am sure that Akbank Jazz Festival will continue its policy to lift the boundaries between the audience and the artists this year just like the past years. Personally, being able to meet and chat with Pharoah Sanders after the concert last year is a major reason that makes me feel exited about Akbank Jazz Fesitval.

3- To be able to watch the right project at the right venue
One of the most important features of Akbnak Jazz Festival is its careful programming that matches the venues with performances according to the needs of the performance. I believe that this extra effort, which is a major general problem in Turkey, goes a long way in the success of the festival.

4- The chance to watch a jazz legend like Abdullah Ibrahim live
In our day, the one feature of jazz genre that is mostly overlooked is that it is global. The geographic reach of this special genre is not limited to a specific area. Who is to showcase this magical feature of jazz better than the legendary South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim? The chance to watch this 70-year-old jazz giant live is a major reason not to miss out on this year’s festival.

5- The chance to explore legendary record labels through live performances
One of the underlying features of this year’s line-up is its ability to provide its audience with an understanding of different record labels’ musical attitudes. While Wolfgang Muthspiel Trio speaks volumes to the wonderful label ECM’s perspective towards jazz, Bonobo represents the next generation’s legendary label Ninja Tunes. Even though these two labels seems to be located on the opposite ends of the jazz spectrum, on a historical perspective they almost complete one another. It would be beneficiary to all jazz fans to think about performances through a reading of labels during festival.

6- To be able to grow as a jazz listener
As I mentioned above, Akbank Jazz Festival provides a multi-directional jazz perception in a rightful way. But to be able to pass this understanding of jazz to the audience, it is important to provide the right variety and richness of performances every year. When you look at Akbank Jazz Festival through such perspective, you can see that the festival feeds its audience every year with amazing shows. Group Ses Beats’ DJ set with local radio samples, Gaslamp Killer playing an Arif Sağ solo, Awesome Tapes From Africa’s Dj set consisting of cassettes only, Squarepusher’ strong visuals, Ibrahim Maalouf’s illusion experiments are some of the recent impressive performances that challenged the audiences. We should remember that in jazz genre, a challenging performance means a more beneficial experience for the audience.

7- The opportunity to share concert experience with a global audience
Expanding over a long period, Akbank Jazz Festival often provides a rare opportunity that we hardly find in our country. Aside from the existence of a global audience of jazz listeners, the attendance of the festival’s contributing musicians to other concerts creates a mini-conference atmosphere before and after the performances. Such an experience changes the experience and perception of Istanbul in a much positive way.

8- Daniel Herkedal, Marius Neset Duo performance
One of this years most sensational and anticipated European new generation musicians, Marius Neset’s performance is going to be one of the highlights of this year’s line-up. A former student of Django Bates, Norwegian sax player Neset’s debut album Snowmelt was released last year from famous jazz label ACT and his performances in various festivals was much praised by the audiences.

9- To be able to experience various visual performances throughout the festival
One of the most special experiences that Akbank Jazz Festival offers are the visual performances that accompany the live shows. Since the festival offers a rich and various jazz experience, so does the visual shows, which reflects this versatility of the genre. Two of the recent examples of the visual experiences that come to mind are the Squarepusher’s show that reflected the early 90’s New York’s creativity and David Lynch presents Chrysta Bell performance.

10- To experience an off-circuit jazz festival
Measuring a music festival’s contribution to culture is possible by its development through the years. In that manner, I think the summer festivals are a step behind since the bands and musicians touring during summer dictate similar line-ups in most summer festivals. That is why experiencing an off circuit festival during fall is much more special (For example, Ireland’s biggest jazz festival Cork Jazz also takes place during October). These festivals are always very special for jazz listeners because of the surprises they offer.

Text: Haluk Damar 

More info: http://www.akbanksanat.com/en/jazz/27-akbank-jazz-festival