Okay Temiz was born in Istanbul in 1939. He grew up in Ankara and received his musical education as a drummer and percussionist at the conservatory there. He felt a pull towards a kind of global musical idiom at a very early stage. After completing his studies, Temiz was compelled to earn his bread by playing in Turkish show and dance bands. Nonetheless, he dedicated his spare time to studying his kindred musical spirits.
Temiz finally found what he was looking for in Stockholm. Not, as one might expect, among Swedish jazz musicians, but among the Africans and Afro-Americans who had settled in that northern metropolis. More specifically, it was Okay Temiz who was found. Don Cherry, a pioneer of global musical thought, took notice of the Turkish drummer with the unusual ideas. The drummer thus gained admission into quite an illustrious circle comprising musicians such as: Mongezi Feza, Chris McGregor, Dudu Pukwana, Harry Miller (i.e. a large majority of McGregor’s “Brotherhood of Breath”), as well as Palle Danielsson and Charlie Mariano, all of whom were in one way or another concerned with introducing melodies and rhythms from the far corners of the earth into jazz.
Along the years, Okay Temiz was involved in numerous musical projects. To mention a few, the Turkish-Swedish band Sevda which enjoyed much popularity in Scandinavia, Oriental Wind existing in two editions: a Swedish one and a Turkish one. It was the latter that helped him explore the point of departure for his own version of ethno jazz. Oriental Wind became a kind of springboard for Temiz, for he toured widely with the band, appearing in India (as in 1980 at the Jazz Yatra Festival in Bombay) and at festivals all over Europe and making a distinguished name for himself.
To the present day, Okay Temiz has remained true to his ideals of an Orient-Occident fusion. In 1999, he recorded the album Karsilama with “drums beating and trumpets sounding” (or, more correctly, with davuls beating and zurnas sounding). undertook a similar process in Finland in 1995 with his MAGNETIC BAND, a Scandinavian-Turkish quintet. This would later lead to the album Magnetic Orient (2002). Here as well, the strains of the Orient (the Turkish dulcimer kanun and the Turkish lute oud) join western (jazz) instruments such as the trumpet and the electric bass and Temiz’ percussion instruments from the many regions of the globe in a breakneck rhythm slalom to achieve a fusion of the music of the Balkans and the Turkish-Arabic region with jazz, rock and Latin: a course ideally laid out for the master drummer!
Orient (1971) at BYG: Don Cherry, Johnny Dyani, Okay Temiz, Han Bennink, Mocqui Cherry
Music For Xaba (1972) at Sonet SNTF: Johnny Dyani, Okay Temiz, Mongezi Feza
Music For Xaba. Volume two (1972) at Sonet SNTF: Johnny Dyani, Okay Temiz, Mongezi Feza
Organic Music Society (1972) at Caprice: Don Cherry, Tommy Goldman, Tommy Koverhult, Maffy Falay, H’suan, Hans Isgren, Nana Vasconcelos, Helen Eggert, Moki Cherry, Chris Bothen, Tage Siven, Okay Temiz, and Bengt Berger.
Rejoice (1972) at Cadillac SGC: Johnny Dyani, Okay Temiz, Mongezi Feza
The painter (1972) at Emi Odeon: with Nils Sandstroem
Notes from underground (2-LP) (1973) at EMI-Harvest: with Bernt Rosengren
Bluesport (1974) at EMI-Harvest: with Lars Gullin
Yonca (1976) at YCS: Okay Temiz/Johnny Dyani
Big Band: First moves (1977) at EMI: with Bernt Rosengren
Partial solar eclipse. (1977) at JAPO: with Lennart Aberg
Live in der Balver Hoehle (1978) at JG Records and JARO: with Oriental Wind
Chila-Chila (1979) at Sonet SNTF: with Oriental Wind
Zikir (1979) at Kent & Sun Records: with Oriental Wind
Drummer of Two Worlds (1980) at Finnadar Records: Okay Temiz
Bazaar (1981) at Sonet SNTF: with Oriental Wind
Live in Bremen (1982) at Jaro (only vinyl): with Oriental Wind
Life Road (1983) at Jaro 4113-2: with Oriental Wind
Ditto (1983) at Organic Music: Okay Temiz/Saffet Gündeger
Sankirna (1984) at Sonet SNTF: with Oriental Wind/The Karnataka College of Percussion
Marmaris love (1985) at Danish Music Production DMLP: with Atilla Engin Group
Ararat. The border crossing (1986) at EMI: with Tayfun Erdem
Fis Fis Tziganes (1989) at Label La Lichere: Okay Temiz
Istanbul da Eylül (1989) at Label La Lichere: Okay Temiz/Sylvain Kassap
Misket (1989) at Sonet SNTCD also known as Transparent Dervish (1989) at Vasco Da Gama : Okay Temiz
Electricity (1991) at Backyard Records Riff: with Four Drummers Drumming
Green wave (1992) at Uzelli: Okay Temiz
Dona Nostra (1993) at ECM: Don Cherry, Lennart Åberg, Bobo Stenson, Anders Jormin, Anders Kjellberg, and Okay Temiz.
Magnet Dance (1994) at TipToe: Okay Temiz
Mishram (1995) at Raks Müzik: Karnataka College of Percussion/Okay Temiz
Fishmarket (1995) at Uzelli : Okay Temiz
Magnetic Band in Finland (1995) at Ano Kato Records: Okay Temiz Magnetic Band
Kutlama celebration (1998) at Banvit: Okay Temiz
Karsilama (2000) at JARO 4224-2: Okay Temiz & Group Zourna
Black Sea Art Project (2001) at Ada Müzik: Okay Temiz
Magnetic Band (2002) at JARO 4244-2 : Okay Temiz Magnetic Band