Coffee and Cats

Music Diary – 02/07/24

Change of pace: I’m visiting Istanbul this week. My highlight: cats, coffee and music.

The sound of Istanbul: Nardis Jazz Club

We visited all the main attractions, the Blue Mosque, Dolmabahçe Palace, Galatea tower, Hagia Sofia, Roumeli Fortress… But what will truly remain in the back of my brain is the sound of Nardis Jazz Club.

We came to see a band called the Onur Ataman Quartet, named after the lead guitarist Onur Ataman. What followed was what I’d call a ‘full on’ jazz gig. Jazz classics alternated with original compositions, each lasting a good ten minutes. Main themes were followed with improvised solos, whether it be effortless piano riffs, frantic drums, funky guitar licks or bouncy bass lines, each filling our ears with jazzy goodness.

Telling a Story

The music was amazing, the cocktails were sweet, but what was most noteworthy was the story Onur Ataman shared with the audience. Before playing their first original song, Onur mentioned they would explain the song’s story after playing it. They forgot, but the crowd didn’t. Several people started calling after the clapping and cheering stopped: “Tell us the story!”.

Onur smiled: “Ah yes… The story…”

He described the tragic destiny of a little girl and her ordeal during the Second World War. How she had to leave her home, how she had to flee her country. How she lived through some of the toughest times in recent history. Until she met him… And he fell in love with her.

All Them Feels

Everyone was at the edge of their seat until the end, desperate to hear more. We were all hooked to this feeling, to this story. In that moment I realised, or maybe I remembered: this is what music is all about. Your technique could be great, or crap. Your mix could be revolutionary, or garbage. Your style could be groundbreaking, or straight-out average. None of it really matters as long as your music shows true, raw, unfiltered emotion.

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