A thoroughly researched oral history spiced with a fine selection of archival performances, Batu Aykol’s documentary Jazz in Turkey is both a chronological history of jazz in his homeland and an exploration of the impact of jazz music there. Compiled from more than 50 interviews, the film considers the evolution of jazz and its musicians in the context of Turkish history. The engaging result is the country’s first cinematic investigation of this topic by revealing that traditional Turkish music shares an openness to improvisation and the ability to incorporate new forms and variations. There is perhaps no better proof of this than the jazz standard “Blue Rondo a la Turk,” composed by Dave Brubeck and inspired by the rhythms of Turkish street musicians.

Batu Akyol
Turkish with English subtitles
Running Time
100 minutes