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Istanbul Jazz Festival 2011

18th annual event offered stunning settings and diverse music

Can Cankaya Quartet: Can Cankaya, keyboards; Ozan Musluoglu, bass; Imer Dimerir, trumpet; Derin Bayhan, drums
Can Cankaya, keyboards; Ozan Musluoplu, bass
Ece Goksu
Can Cankaya, keyboards; Imer Demirer, trumpet
Imer Demirer, trumpet; Ozan Musluoglu, bass; Ece Goksu, vocals
Michel Camilo's Mano a Mano trio; Michel Camilo, piano; Giovanni Hidalgo, congas; Michael Bowie, bass
Michael Bowie, bass; Giovanni Hidalgo, congas
Michel Camilo, piano; Michael Bowie, bass

It was 9:30 p.m. on July 4 in the Byzantine sculpture garden outside the Istanbul Museum of Archaeology, and Michel Camilo’s Mano a Mano trio was pounding away on an infectious rumba that got the Turkish audience literally dancing in their seats. In almost choreographed counterpoint to the clave, a flock of squawking seagulls flew over the Corinthian columns and circled the minarets of the nearby Blue Mosque as stray tabby cats and Abyssinians darted through the crowd. In Istanbul, jazz has a way of bringing out all the cats (and there are a lot).

The 18th Annual Istanbul Jazz Festival, which concluded on July 19, featured an impressive array of jazz veterans performing throughout the city, including Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves, Medeski, Martin & Wood, and Joe Sample. But perhaps the most compelling aspect of the festival, organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, is the way it highlighted the burgeoning cadre of brash young Turks cultivating a thriving bohemian jazz scene in the city. By all signs, jazz enjoys immense popularity in Istanbul, especially among the youth population-they even advertise the festival on Turkish TV.

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