Akbank Jazz Festival, which has been supporting the development of Turkish jazz for the past 30 years, has created an archival job to track and memorialize the current state of Turkish jazz without ever decelerating in this period of global pandemic, when all dynamics have shifted, concerts have been forced to cancel, and events have been delayed. Triggering a retrospective project depicting the last 30 years with its worthwhile contents of special records, interviews, and documentary shots, Akbank Jazz Festival thus encourages and supports creativity given the difficulty imposed by the pandemic, with the goal of leaving an influential, meaningful, and lasting work as a legacy to the world of Turkish Jazz.
In 2015, the Akbank Jazz Festival, which is one of Turkey’s longest events and one of Akbank’s icons in developing permanent values and keeping these values sustainable, marked its 25th year. Max Roach, Art Ensemble of Africa, Cecil Taylor, Abbey Lincoln, Dave Holland, Archie Shepp, McCoy Tyner, Henry Threadgill, Abdullah Ibrahim Trio, Steve Coleman & Five Elements, Stephan Micus, Roberto Fonseca, Ibrahim Maalouf, Eleni Karaindrou, Rembrandt Frerichs Trio, Enrico Rava, Mare Nostrum, Jim Rotondi, Jamie Cullum, Christian McBride.
Akbank Jazz Festival History
The Akbank Jazz Festival, Turkey’s longest-running jazz festival, began in 1991 with concerts in Istanbul. The Festival has evolved into a versatile organization by embracing panels, workshops, film screening sessions, concerts, and social responsibility projects, not only hosting influential jazz figures from around the world but also paving the way for emerging and promising next-gen artists.
With the beginning of Jazz on Campus concerts in 2006, Akbank Jazz Festival expanded to other regions in Turkey besides Istanbul, presenting a variety of variations each year. This concert series took place in places such as Ankara, Eskişehir, Gaziantep, Zmir, Trabzon, Adana, Erzurum, Kayseri, Kars, and others.
In 2010, the Festival observed its 20th anniversary, which was commemorated by a compilation album, which served as a visual representation of the festival’s history, as well as a historical documentary and book. The Golden Compass Awards, held by Turkey Public Relations Association (TÜHD), gave the 20th edition of Akbank Jazz Festival the category prize of “Corporate Social Responsibility – Culture and Art” in 2011. The festival, which marked its 25th year in 2015, collected a remarkable collection of current Turkish jazz on two CDs.
The Festival marked its 30th anniversary – 30th Akbank Jazz Festival – in 2020 with a special project that honours the festival’s mission. During the pandemic, when all dynamics changed, performances were cancelled, and events were rescheduled, it did not slow down and completed an archiving project by recording a recording that portrays the current state of Turkish Jazz. With its special recordings, interviews, and documentary shootings, the festival began a retrospective work that took an x-ray of 30 years, thus supporting creativity despite all the constraints of the pandemic period and aiming to leave an effective, meaningful, and permanent work to the Turkish jazz world.
In addition, in 2020, the Akbank Jazz Festival hosted five “Year Long Concerts” to commemorate its 30th anniversary, as well as sixteen “Jazz State of Home Concerts,” which streamed live on Instagram during the pandemic.