2011

Regici is the success story of a Turkish reggaeband named SATTAS, building a growing reputation from local bar scenes and turning into a respected music group performing on international festivals.

Details: By becoming reggae’s volunteer ambassadors, Sattas’ struggle is not only to introduce this barely known music genre into Turkey; they are bringing a new way of thinking to the young audience they are speaking to. The performances of self-educated Sattas has gone far beyond those of professional musicians and this has attracted the attention of many music authorities. The documentary Regici tells the story of everybody discovering their ore lying inside and the struggle to bring it to life, through the everyday life and without any fiction. The birth of a group, the way they question their existence, the impression they leave, the respect that they earn and the steps of the fame they are going through are told with all their aspects within Regici.

Regici is only an existential story; the reggae culture that is told through this documentary is a pleasant gift from Sattas.

In this story including a part of their daily lives, I plan to use a narrative style constantly questioning and interpreting the evolution of the group. Music will be speaking for itself where the words are no longer sufficient and this will be an evidence showing us how close we get to our main point.

2012

Concert Record
Benny Golson (s)
Burak Bedikyan (p)
Kağan Yıldız (b)
Ferit Odman (d)

Nardis Jazz Club – 2012

2013

Jazz in Turkey the documentary can be summarized as a project in which I explore the condition, evolution and interaction of Turkish jazz music and its musicians, in parallel to Turkish history.

The spark for this project, I suppose, were my encounters with İlhan Mimaroğlu’s late 50s book Caz Sanatı (Art of Jazz) and the slim appendix called “Summary: Jazz in Turkey” in Cüneyt Sermet’s 90s book Cazın İçinden. Afterwards, conversations with the Focan family led me to realize that despite the massive intention for research and observation regarding the topic, the project was yet an orphan. In a country with limited archives, calling the oral history-based project a daring “Turkish Jazz History” would be beyond me, so I decided to name it Jazz in Turkey instead. We started filming in 2011.

The greatest hindrance for an oral history project, I suppose, is the potential of the interviewees getting lost in the turbulent waters that range between deep modesty and high ego when talking about themselves. Turkey’s jazz story, which I compiled from interviews with 50 people, partially carries elements of a chronological history documentary. However, due to the interviewees’ approach and what they delivered, I started evaluating it as “the impact of jazz music to Turkey.” When this impact is attributed to a sociological development process, one can easily notice the structure evolving in phases. The codes involved in the process are political manoeuvres, mimicry, original advancements, technical development, social perception, determinant self-confidence and artistic spirit. I think, this documentary’s mission is to voice a sincere “interpretation” of how outright facts are perceived in different social strata, rather than revealing buried historical truth. A sincere “interpretation” that pours from the minds and hearts of dozens of people…

Jazz in Turkey is easily the first product in cinema format on this subject, which also covers then-broadcasted TV and radio shows.

I am aware of the obsession with saying something is “a first in Turkey.” However rather than concentrating on its “first”ness, what motivates me more is wishing that it will not be the “last.”

2014

How did “ To Bill Evans” occurred? In mid-70’s, while I was attending the conservatory for my musical education, my elder brother’s friend Ali Arif Ersen was a jazz fan. He introduced me to jazz music by giving me albums , mostly LP’s and cassette tape, that were easy to listen to and enabled me to appreciate it. How could I have known that one of those albums would influence me so deeply and make such a large impact on my life? That album was “Since We Met” by Bill Evans. It was the first time I had listened to Bill Evans and I was totally enchanted by his touch, his harmony and his swing. I started collecting Bill Evans albums since that day and now I have 89 of them. Sincerely, I feel an emptiness if I don’t listen to his music every day. Bill Evans is my mentor and idol who showed me the way to my dreams and imagination. I had the opportunity to work with Alan Broabent for my previous album, Therapy. We recorded the album with London Philharmonia Orchestra in 2010 and during the recordings, I told him about my plans for “To Bill Evans” and asked him if he would write the large orchestration of my compositions. Bill Evans had worked with legendary arranger and composer, Claus Ogerman for three of his albums. These large orchestra albums have moved me deeply. Listening to and performing with large orchestras that consist of strings and horns always made me very happy.

Alan Broadbent is a wonderful pianist who has worked with Charlie Haden, Shirley Horn, Diana Krall, Scott Hamilton, Marian McPartland. He has arranged for many different musicians for different recordings. I convinced Alan to work together of this album by giving him the scores of my compositions over baklava and Turkish coffee in New York. He quickly started sending me the arrangements of the pieces over email and even listening to them in the computerized-format was very exciting for me. Art my house, we got together with Kağan and Ferit and we started rehearsing with “large orchestra” by connecting the computer to the sound system. Meanwhile, we set the dates for the recording with Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and the studios. Alan flew to Istanbul for a series of concerts of Therapy. After four concerts which got us warmed up for the album , we departed for Prague for the recording of To Bill Evans. On March 12, 201 , we spent the full day with the orchestra and finished the recording for it. All the pieces of the album flourished with their own spirit and aura. On the side, Alan showed me how to better use the pedal while playing.

Loyka Production team under Batu Akyol’s direction was also present at the recording studio. They prepared a documentary for the album as well as two videos for different pieces.

2015

“Taste of Istanbul”, a feature-length documentary about Middle Eastern metropolis’ taste and character analysis through the dynamics of ingredients, approach, practice and consumption.

2017

Tuna Otenel is a significant musician and the last surviving member of the trio that released Turkey’s first jazz album, “Caz Semai”. A virtuoso of both the piano and saxophone, the artist had to bid farewell to these instruments years ago due to a stroke, and subsequently began playing the horn. In 2017, a concert was organized at IKSV Salon with his musician friends. My team and I recorded this concert and conducted interviews with many different musicians about Tuna Otenel on the same night.