Turquazz: Anatolian Jazz & Roots Festival arrives in London

The inaugural Turquazz: Anatolian Jazz & Roots Festival – a new multidisciplinary music and arts festival – starts in London next month and is set to shine a light on Anatolian jazz and roots culture emanating from Turkey and its surrounding regions.

Running from 13 to 30 March at various venues around the capital, the festival features a busy programme of jazz gigs, film screenings, jazz documentaries, talks on Anatolian jazz as well as a Turkish tango dance event, a jazz-funk DJ event and a pop up dining experience.

A major highlight of the programme will be an appearance by renowned guitarist Erkan Oğur and his group the Anatolian Blues Project, who appear at Rich Mix, Shoreditch on 18 March. Oğur is known for creating his own fretless acoustic guitar which he uses to dazzling effect to explore blues, jazz and traditional Turkish music.

Key jazz gigs include the Dave Brubeck-inspired Funkbook a La Turc (named after the pianist’s 1959 classic ‘Blue Rondo à la Turk’) who are led by guitarist Önder Focan and saxophonist Şallıel Brothers. Appearing at the 606 Club, Chelsea on 27 March, the band perform music from their 2018 album Standard and 'Swing' A la Turc, which features their funky take on Turkish folk songs, jazz and urban music styles.

Also performing are pianist Can Çankaya and bassist Kağan Yıldız, in their acclaimed duo project, Timeless. Appearing on 20 March at Phoenix Arts Club, Soho, they play classic jazz standards and original compositions.

The Turkish jazz underground is also featured when six-piece band The Origins, rock up to Cafe OTO, Dalston on 26 March for a night of esoteric music making. Featuring bandleader/bassist Cem Tuncer, guest trumpeter Baris Demirel (pictured above) and organist Tolga Zafer Ozdemirc the group explore a wide range of wild instruments, including the Anatolian Kamancheh, the Kopuz (lute), kanun, clarinet, kaval, duduk, bendir and oud.

– Mike Flynn

For more information on the whole programme visit www.turquazz.org

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