BILAL KARAMAN (Turkey)
With the special participation of Ivo Papazov Ibryama - clarinet, Bulgaria
Turkish guitarist Bilal Karaman (1981) is one of the most promising and talented young jazz musicians in his country. He started playing guitar when he was 11. A graduate of Bilgi University in Istanbul, he studied with musicians of the scale of Ricky Ford (member of Duke Ellington Orchestra for two years and co-playing for two years with Charlie Mingus), Lawrence Butch Morris (one of the pioneers of the structured free improvisation method) and Donovan Mixon. In 2009 he won First Prize at Nardis Jazz Guitar Competition, organized by Yamaha in Istanbul. In 2012, he was appointed as one of the four best sunrising jazz guitarists.
Apart from his solid education in the field of jazz, Bilal Karaman has strong interest in Turkish music and numerous different musical influences. Thus, thanks to their combination, he succeeded to create his own original and recognizable style. He is constantly looking for new musical worlds and innovative approaches towards the well-known in music. What he loves the most are the concerts and the communication with the audience. Thus, the energy is conveyed in two ways and leads to new inspirations.
He is the founder of the first virtual guitar academy in Turkey. He has played with some of the greatest jazz performers such as Marcus Miller, Lars Danielson, Diane Reeves, as well as with emerging stars in the world of jazz such as Mike Moreno. He continues to live in Istanbul, but is actively touring in the United States, England (London Jazz Fest), Germany, France, the Netherlands, Hungary, South Africa, Kenya and others. He describes the music he creates as "a unique Middle Eastern approach to the guitar in the jazz."
He has released two albums: Bahane (BBC Music 2011) and Patika (2013). In 2014, he started a musical journey into the world of gypsy jazz (French manush jazz, which is associated with Django Reinhardt), making arrangements of pieces created by Turkish composers in this style. In result in 2018 album Manouch a la Turca is released. Because of its success in 2019 it triggered a release of two more works in the same style bringing the European jazz and swing tradition to Turkey: Manouch a la Turca Volume 2 and 2020 ( Manouch la Turca live),.
"I aimed to achieve a magnificent harmony between Manush jazz and Anatolia's music," said Bilal Karaman.The clarinetist Ivo Papazov Ibryama is known as a real music magician. He has been compared with the famous Miles Davis even in the German conservative press on his performance on the Beethoven Festival in Bonn. Even though he is almost entirely self-thought, he manages to create his very own wedding orchestra when he’s only 22 years old but he later becomes admittedly famous when he forms the Trakia orchestra. In the end of the 80s he signs a contract with a bigtime British label which is the start of his marvelous journey through the world of music. He masterfully manages to combine different styles of music – Thracian, Jazz and even a pinch of Gypsy and Turkish folklore rhythms. He has played alongside some of the big names of Jazz and also has won multiple national and international awards including BBC 3’s World Music Awards.