Sometimes the best bands, and the music that stays with you the longest, are not necessarily the biggest names. Finding a new, undiscovered group can be a really exciting moment, and the music often feels particularly special, personal even, if they aren’t known far and wide. Best of all, being able to introduce other music fans to something new and exciting is a great feeling.
A few years ago, I was lucky enough to go to the Cappadox Festival, and it was here that I first encountered the Uninvited Jazz Band. The Cappadox Festival itself is a pretty special event, but that’s another story for another time. Set in the otherworldly surroundings of Cappadocia, with its glorious cave hermitages, fairy chimneys and starkly beautiful mountain scenery, it is a festival that takes you outside of yourself and transports you to another realm.
After a gorgeous walk through the remarkable rock formations that are the ‘fairy chimneys’, I found myself relaxing on the lawn in front of a stage. The band struck up, and I immediately felt at peace. The music, combined with the out-of-this-world setting, took me far away, and I immediately felt that this was a band that I could love.
The Uninvited Jazz Band hail from Beyoglu in Istanbul, and cut their teeth in the smoky jazz dives of Taksim. They are mostly homegrown Turkish musicians, but often feature a bunch of wandering guest musicians from across Europe and the US. Their music is a marvellous mix of New Orleans blues and hot jazz, with a mesmerising undercurrent of gypsy swing cutting through everything they play. They’ve grown to be one of the biggest names on the Turkish jazz scene, and I imagine that even bigger and better things are in store for them in the future.
After the festival, I discovered that they are a regular feature at venues on Istiklal Street, and I was surprised that I hadn’t come across them before. That has all changed now, of course, and they remain one of my favourite live bands.
Take a look at this video of them performing an impromptu live gig on the street, and don’t forget their name, as I guarantee they are stars in the making!