ÖNDER FOCAN’S SWING A LA TURC PROJECT Önder Focan (guitar) A. Şenol Filiz (ney) Şenova Ülker (trumpet) Ozan Musluoğlu (bass) Burak Cihangirli (drums) Swing a la Turc Project of Önder Focan was also released as a CD with Kalan Müzik label. This project has already been performed in a lot of venues and festivals in Turkey and in abroad such as Istanbul Jazz Festival (2007), Almaty Jazz Festival (2010), Paris, Izmir, Bodrum, Ashdod (Israel), Zonguldak, Basel (Switzerland), Erlangen (Germany), etc. The musical approach in this project is the use of local themes and melodies along with the jazz harmonies and the improvisations over the forms of the tunes in the jazz discipline. Focan used this concept before but with this project ney, an authentic Turkish instrument is also incorporated. After the early periods of jazz, especially in the Swing period and later, jazz musicians took popular tunes into their repertoire, played them with their own interpretation, arranged, reharmonized, and improvised over these tunes. Honeysuckle Rose, I Got Rhythm, Bye Bye Blackbird in Swing era, All The Things You Are, My Old Flame in Be-bop era, My Foolish Heart, My Funny Valentine in Cool and following periods are a few examples of popular tunes that the jazz musicians picked up from the popular music realm and made part of the whole repertoire called Jazz Standards. The composers of an important amount of great jazz standards of today’s jazz repertoire like Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Rogers, and Hart were originally not jazz composers but popular songwriters. The beautiful tunes written by these composers turned out to be the essential tunes of the jazz repertoire via the hands of jazz musicians. Jazz Standards are not confined to the tunes of the golden days of jazz. In later years John Coltrane made My Favorite Things famous again. Contemporary musicians like Herbie Hancock incorporated tunes by pop musicians like Prince, Simon, and Garfunkel in his album New Standard, Patricia Barber interpreted Black Magic Woman, Joshua Redman played Tears in Heaven as jazz tunes to keep up this approach. So with the “Swing a la Turc” project tunes from Turkish music are harmonized, arranged so that the tunes can be treated as jazz standards, harmonically and melodically taken to another dimension and incorporating a lot of improvisations in jazz idiom not to be confined in traditional taxims. Swing a la Turc plays Turkish and oriental-sounding music but totally in the jazz style.
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