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Jazz ambassadors

For one cool weekend in November, London played host to some of the hottest sounds from Istanbul. As the famous Nardis Jazz Club celebrated its 20th birthday, Tony Barrell joined the party

For two days in November, part of Istanbul came to Clerkenwell in central London. Many passers-by were oblivious, though some of them must have wondered about the sign attached to the Church of Our Most Holy Redeemer in Exmouth Market. It said “nardis” in lower-case letters, with the “a” back to front, and it had flashing lights around it.

If they had been out on the town in Istanbul over the past 20 years, they might recognise Nardis as the name of a popular jazz club. Having set up shop in an old storage building near the Galata Tower in 2002, Nardis has become something of a legend, hosting concerts by thousands of talented jazzmen and jazzwomen from Turkey and overseas. No nightlife guide is complete without an admiring nod to the club, and one travel website even calls it “the epitome of urban cool in Istanbul”.

● Nardis Jazz Club, Kuledibi Sok14, Galata, Istanbul; ● For Turkish events in London:, ● Links:

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