An angry Turkish jazz musician who relaxes when he hits drums

In Okay Temiz’s music, rhythmic Turkish folk and gypsy melodies fuse with international jazz. TRT World’s follows the iconic jazz musician as he marks his 80th birthday. We look back on his exceptional life.

TRT World: Jennifer Ciochin (TRT World)
TRT World: Jennifer Ciochin (TRT World)

The 80-years-old musician is still training students at the Okay Temiz Rhythm Atelier in the Beyoglu neighbourhood of Istanbul, near Galata Tower. (Jennifer Ciochin/TRT World)

Murat Sofuoglu Murat Sofuoglu is a staff writer at TRT World

ISTANBUL, Turkey —  “Turn up this machine’s volume. It should sound amazing,” Okay Temiz yells to the technicians as he prepares for the concert that will mark his 80th birthday here at Istanbul’s Cemal Resit Rey Concert Ball. Temiz could almost be mistaken for a mechanic when he’s onstage, as he tests the sound quality. Yet this highly tactile man has dedicated nearly half a century of his life to becoming one of Turkey’s most renowned jazzmen.

Asked how he feels about his 80th birthday: “Nothing. I feel nothing, I am youthful. I have a childlike spirit.”

Read our full story on Medium.

AUTHOR: Murat Sofuoglu

PHOTOGRAPHS: Jennifer Ciochon