International Event Devoted to The Jazz Orchestra Tradition in Azerbaijan

International Event Devoted to The Jazz Orchestra Tradition in Azerbaijan

International Jazz Day is a global forum celebrated annually worldwide on April 30. This year one of the International Jazz Day celebration events took place in Baku at the ADA University on April 29. The event consisted of the open panel discussion and concert. It was initiated and organized by the Baku Music Academy named after Uzeyir Hajibeyli, being supported by the ADA University and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Entitled as “Jazz orchestra tradition in Azerbaijan: its past and present”, the event was focused on the 100th anniversary of Tofig Ahmadov, a well-known Azerbaijani musician, conductor and composer, awarded as a Nation’s Artist of Azerbaijan.

Fariz Ismayilzade, ADA University vice-rector, spoke at the beginning of the event. He said that their university regularly hosts cultural events focused on prominent figures in the history of Azerbaijan. He underlined that this time it was a tribute to one of the first jazzmen in Azerbaijan, conductor Tofig Ahmadov, and the event had to help the youth get dipper into the culture of Azerbaijan.

One of the Azerbaijani jazz art veterans, Honored artist of Azerbaijan Rafiq Seyidzadeh spoke about the life and creativity of the outstanding conductor and composer Tofig Ahmadov, his talent and contribution to the musical culture as a jazz orchestra leader. He emphasized that as a head of the Azerbaijan Television and Radio Orchestra, known for its unique style, Tofig Ahmadov brought valuable innovations to the musical culture of Azerbaijan.

Natavan Huseynova, a musicologist and journalist based in the Netherlands, talked about the jazz orchestras led by Tofig Ahmadov and Rauf Hajiyev, their importance for the history of Azerbaijani jazz.

Musicologist and actress Fariza Babayeva presented interesting facts from the activities of the Rafig Babayev’s quartet and orchestra. Being a daughter of this outstanding composer and jazzman, she shared also her personal memories featuring Rafig Babayev.

Faig Sujaddinov, composer awarded as a Nation’s Artist of Azerbaijan, took the floor and spoke about the historical importance of Tofig Ahmadov’s orchestra. He followed his speech with performing his own compositions.

Then to the stage was invited Markus Geiselhart, trombonist and composer, associate professor of the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts, head of his Big Band. He made a speech on the topic “Jazz orchestras in Germany and Austria: past, present, future. Big band in the music education system”.

The second part of the event presented a music program of different styles. Popular and classical Azerbaijani and international jazz standards were performed by “Bakustik Jazz” group led by Salman Gambarov, jazzman awarded as a Nation’s Artist of Azerbaijan, young jazz musicians, pianist Nijat Aslanov, trumpeter Firudin Hamidov, pianist Nurlan Huseynzadeh, fourth-year student of Azerbaijan National Conservatory, singer Diana Hajiyeva’s trio, percussionist Iskandar Alasgarov, bass-guitarist Fuad Jafar, singer Sabina Hajiyeva and others. The concert ended with compositions performed by the Baku Brass Big Band under the Azerbaijan State Wind Orchestra. Thunderous applauses sounded long in the final of the event.