The six-plus decade resume of Okay Temiz
is a landscape snapshot of someone who made the most of their professional opportunities from different angles. A sliver of the performance side has brought him partnerships with American jazz giants Don Cherry
, Dexter Gordon
, Art Taylor
and Clark Terry
, along with an array of established European and South African peers. Another angle of his creative side stems from Temiz's creation of his percussion instruments to incorporate in a standard kit, including his use of the berimbau, barbukas, and other goblet-shaped drums instruments alongside his two notable handmade copper and brass drums coined Magic Pyramid and Artemiz. Finally, Temiz's career and established name both in his home nation, Turkey, and abroad has not just made him the premiere Turkish jazz musician of his time. His technical prowess and innovative drive have given him an ambassador-like credence to grow the genre further and incorporate Turkish folk music's distinctive rhythms into the free jazz realm.
Recordings of Temiz, ranging from his work with Don Cherry to Xaba (the trio founded alongside bassist Johnny Dyani
and trumpeter Mongezi Feza
), show his fluid skill from frantic rhythms to slow yet commanding cadences. This skill display is prevalent on Okay Temiz's Oriental Wind Live at Montreux Jazz Festival 1982
, which the innovative Istanbul-based label, Caz Plak Records, has partnered with the Swiss festival's jazz archives for this release. At the time of this recording, the Oriental Wind quintet was in its eighth year of existence, with routine touring in different countries helping to solidify Temiz's reputation as a formidable band leader. More importantly, he shows humility and acts selflessly with members of his group, something he demonstrates with his quartet throughout the recording.
It is worth mentioning that Caz Plak took exceptional care in producing this release. Three different versions of the album were pressed with region-specific artwork and language-specific liner notes available to European, Turkish and Japanese audiences. For hardcore collectors, the label offers a beautifully produced, limited edition box set housing all three versions.
Temiz's Oriental Wind ensemble consists of well-regarded names in Sweden's jazz world who share a degree of history with the Turkish bandleader from his residency in Scandinavia. A work opportunity in Copenhagen with a dance orchestra led to Temiz's arrival in the North. A meeting with two notable collaborators in, Muvaffak "Maffy" Falay and Don Cherry, led to the drummer taking a residency in Sweden to work and record with the two. Having already performed sessions with notable drummers Billy Higgins
and Edwin Coleman III
in the past, Cherry shows his eye for a caliber of talent and rhythmic exploration with his hiring of Temiz.
As stated earlier, Temiz's power and grace in this Montreux performance are overshadowed by selflessness as he gives way to other members of the Oriental Wind ensemble to showcase their talents throughout the four songs. On "Surf on Nile," Temiz acts as the driver of the song with his percussion work but gives way to Lennart Åberg
's wind improvisations during the first passage before tightening up the quintet by shifting through different speeds. "Saxophone In A Tunnel" is the record's best focus on the outstanding skillset of these four as Temiz's introductory solo leans into tight-knit passages between Åberg's playing and bassist Palle Danielson
's dexterity before giving way to Bobo Stenson
's fluid keys performance. Temiz's name was the first thing Montreux attendees noticed on the billing, but he makes it clear on the four-song performance that he is just an auxiliary to the talent of the other Oriental Wind members. Temiz's mannerisms and performance are clear examples of the kind of backing musicians appreciate from a leader.
Surf On Nile; Moon; North Of Map; Saxophone In A Tunnel.
For the Love of Jazz
All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles
for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today