There’s an interesting history of the relationship between Turkey and jazz. It began in the ’40s when the two sons of Turkish Ambassador in the USA, pursued their passion for jazz music. After the ambassador died in 1944, his sons remained in the U.S. Ahmet Ertegun founded Atlantic Records. His older brother, Nesuhi, headed the label’s jazz department, producing recordings by jazz legends such as the John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman.
Back home in Turkey – on the intersection between East and West – musicians embraced American jazz and the music of their own culture, to produce a melange of both forms. In some cases using the ‘makam’ scales of traditional Ottoman/Turkish Classical Music. Some jazz features the Kanun, a zither like instrument used in Turkey that has 26 courses of strings, with three strings per course. It is played on the lap by plucking the strings with two tortoise-shell picks, one in each hand. Generally speaking, Turkish Jazz has been ignored in the West, with many artists unknown outside their homeland. So, please if you are a music fan, go check it out.
A good place to start is my latest mix features the modern jazz of Turkey in all its forms from tradition to drum and bass. It can be accessed here: http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/turkish-delight/ Do give a listen – open your mind to the Orient – and if you like it, go but the albums.