Istanbul Jazz Festival is Kicking Off

The 23rd Istanbul Jazz Festival, organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) will be held on 27 June-25 July 2016. This year’s festival will once again host the pre-eminent figures of jazz and stars of contemporary music in different venues around Istanbul.

Over 200 Turkish and international musicians will participate in the festival, with more than 50 concerts performed in 26 venues. The  festival programme includes a range of jazz, funk, world music, blues and rock performances.

The 23rd Istanbul Jazz Festival kicks off with a special project on Monday, 27 June. The creative member of Blur and Gorillaz, Damon Albarn, the conductor Issam Rafea, and The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians will inaugurate the festival on Monday, 27 June at 21.30 at Cemil Topuzlu Open Air Theatre.

Highlights of the  Istanbul Jazz Festival

Nile Rodgers, king of disco and funk, will offer a night of hit music with his group CHIC.

Tuesday 28 June, 20:00, KüçükÇiftlik Park

The king of disco and funk and the composer of almost a third of our best loved hits Nile Rodgers is preparing to give his first concert in Turkey together with his group CHIC.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra will warm up the night with their psychedelic pop and indie rock beats. One of the standout groups of the 2010s, Unknown Mortal Orchestra composed of singer, guitarist and songwriter Ruban Nielson, bassist Jake Portrait, keyboardist Quincy McCrary, and drummer Riley Geare, will perform their melodic songs that range from lo-fi to psychedelic pop.


Festival Awards Ceremony: Swing UNLTD // The Hot Sardines

Monday 11 July, 21:00, Austrian Cultural Office Garden

Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Özdemir Erdoğan and Ergüven Başaran. Following the ceremony, Ergüven Başaran will take to the stage with his swing group Swing UNLTD. The event will be topped off with a performance by sought-after group of the New York swing scene The Hot Sardines.

A musical journey from past to future: An Evening of Jazz with Özdemir Erdoğan 

Tuesday 12 July, 21:00, Uniq Open-Air Theatre

Özdemir Erdoğan will perform classics such as “İkinci Bahar” and “Sevdim Seni Bir Kere”. He will also perform a retrospective of his jazz works, including his latest album Türkiye Jazz Tarihinde Işıksız Kalanlar.

Nicholas Payton Trio with Special Guest Jane Monheit

Wednesday, 13 July, 21.00, Sabancı University, Sakıp Sabancı Museum

In this special concert, trumpet virtuoso Nicholas Payton will take to the stage with his trio. He will be joined by American vocalist Jane Monheit, to perform the songs of Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.

Ground-breaking marvel of contemporary jazz Kamasi Washington and downtempo duo Ibeyi share the same stage

Thursday 14 July, 20:45, Beykoz Kundura  

This year’s festival hosts Kamasi Washington, the new master of the saxophone and modern jazz. Kamasi Washington featured as guest saxophonist on the 2015 albums of Thundercat and Kendrick Lamar. One of the foremost representatives of contemporary jazz, Kamasi Washington will perform at the Beykoz Kundura (the former shoe factory). The concert’s support act will be XL Recording’s new star of the music world, downtempo project of French-Cuban twins, Ibeyi.

A concert of French jazz vibes and the unforgettable world of Nat King Cole: French Quarter and Hugh Coltman

Friday 15 July, 20:30, Uniq Open-Air Theatre

This evening at the Uniq Open-Air Theatre will witness a special project brought together for the Istanbul Jazz Festival, French Quarter, featuring the most exciting stars of the French jazz scene: Airelle Besson on trumpet, Emile Parisien on saxophone, Vincent Peirani on accordion, Thomas Encho on piano, Thomas Brameris on double bass and Anne Paceo on drums, revealing the best bits of contemprary French jazz to festival-goers. In the second part of the evening, Hugh Coltman will deliver a homage to the inner world of Nat King Cole with songs from his Shadows album.

“A Childlike Day” at the festival

Saturday 16 July, 15:00, Bomontiada

This year the festival programme features a children’s event for the first time. Event will feature performances by Oran Etkin Timbalooloo, Hakan Başar Trio and Music for Peace Brass Band. Event will give children the chance to experience the festival spirit, discover their musical talents and take part in fun workshops.

Free of charge “Jazz in the Parks” concerts in Fenerbahçe Park will bring festival spirit to everyone.

“Jazz in the Parks”

Sunday 17 July, 17:00-23:30, Fenerbahçe Park and Fenerbahçe Khalkedon

Festival invites the audience to chill out with 6 hours of non-stop music with 8 acts on 2 stages. The event will feature concerts by groups including The KutiMangoes, The Hot Sardines, Brassist and finalists of the “Young Jazz” competition, Geeva Flava, Hacettepe Jazz Band, 95th Jazz Ensemble, Ersin Özer Quartet, Naimian Trio.

Branford Marsalis Quartet and guest Kurt Elling

Monday 18 July, 21:30, Zorlu PSM Main Theatre

Saxophone virtuoso and classical music composer Branford Marsalis and his quartet will take to the stage together with Kurt Elling.

Scofield Mehldau Guiliana

Tuesday 19 July, 21:30, Zorlu PSM Main Theatre

Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau will take to the stage together with drummer Mark Guiliana, who has worked with musicians such as Phronesis, Dhafer Youssef and Gretchen Parlato, and who most recently played percussion on David Bowie’s Blackstar album, and John Scofield, one of the greatest sources of inspiration for jazz guitarists, in a concert that promises to be one of the most exciting live performances of jazz improvisation. 

“Night Out” performances in various venues in Moda will bring the festival joy to different parts of the city.

“Night Out” concerts 

Thursday 21 July, 18:00-03:00, Kadıköy, Moda

The “Night Out” event offers a programme with the coolest names of Turkey’s music scene. The event will feature concerts by 31 musicians and groups including Elif Çağlar, DANdadaDAN, Yasemin Mori, She Past Away, Plaistow, Hey Douglas, Önder Focan & Şallıel Bros, Oceanvs Orientalis and many others in 13 popular venues.

Joss Stone, the incredible voice of British music, returns to Turkey

Saturday 23 July, 19:00, KüçükÇiftlik Park

One of the strongest voices to come out of the British music scene, Joss Stone returns to Istanbul. Stone set out on an adventure in reggae with her 2015 album Water for Your Soul. Taking to the stage to give a lively performance as the support act will be Vintage Trouble, an eccentric blues group formed in 2010 who gained wider recognition thanks to their incredible performance on Later… With Jools Holland. Grup Ses Beats will be the opening act of the night with a special set called “World tour with vinyls”.


European Jazz Club sessions at Salon

European Jazz Club, the event that brings top names from the Turkish jazz scene together with European virtuosos, will take place once again this year at Salon İKSV.

You can find the playlists including songs from the 23rd Istanbul Jazz Festival’s artists at and details about all events on the festival’s website (