The Istanbul International Jazz Festival, formerly Istanbul Festival, (Turkish: Uluslararas? ?stanbul Caz Festivali) is a cultural event held every July in Istanbul, Turkey. It offers a selection of jazz music performances with the participations of famous artists from all over the world. The festival was first held in 1986 and is organized by the Istanbul Foundation of Culture and Arts. Its main sponsor is the Garanti Bank.
The festival had its beginnings in a concert given by Chick Corea and Steve Kujala on July 8, 1984, as a part of Istanbul Festival. This concert ignited more and more jazz events in the Istanbul Festival during the following years. From 1986 on, jazz had a place of its own in the International Istanbul Festival program. Since 1994, the International Jazz Festival has been a singular event hosting not only jazz but also rock, pop, blues, reggae and new-age concerts, among others. The concerts simply overflow the venues and spill out into the streets. The International Istanbul Jazz Festival is a founding member of the International Union of Jazz Festivals, which it chaired from 1998 to 2001.
From its beginning, the festival hosted world-renowned artists and groups like Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Stan Getz, Oscar Peterson, Al Di Meola, Al Jarreau, Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana, Astrud Gilberto, Tania Maria, George Benson, Spyro Gyra, George Duke & Stanley Clarke, [Ornette Coleman]], Eric Clapton, Massive Attack, Björk, Deep Forest, Dead Can Dance, Loreena McKennitt, Suzanne Vega, Patti Smith, Bobby McFerrin, Randy Crawford, The Manhattan Transfer, Jan Garbarek, Keith Jarrett, Wynton Marsalis, Goran Bregovic, Bryan Ferry, Lou Reed, Ute Lemper, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Roni Size, Paco de Lucia, Nick Cave, John Scofield, Simply Red, Jane Birkin, Brad Mehldau, Marcus Miller, Mercedes Sosa, Marianne Faithfull, Roy Haynes, Billy Cobham, Dianne Reeves, Sting, Raul Midón, Lenny Kravitz, Pat Metheny, and Charlie Haden, among hundreds of other top names in the music industry.
In the USA Network television program Covert Affairs episode titled "Half a World Away" (initial airing July 19, 2011), a major piece of the action takes place as one of the operatives attends and records the music at the festival.