Azerbaijani jazz

Music of Azerbaijan
General topics
Specific forms
Traditional music
Media and performance
Music festivals
Music media Medeniyyet TV
Nationalistic and patriotic songs
National anthem March of Azerbaijan

The Azerbaijani jazz (Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan cazı) is a popular variety of jazz, widespread in Azerbaijan. It covers a broad range of styles (traditional, post-pop, fusion, free flexion)[1] and often features a blend with traditional Azeri music. Among modern famed Azeri jazz musicians are Aziza Mustafazadeh, who was influenced by Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett,[2] Isfar Sarabski, Salman Gambarov and Rain Sultanov.


20th century

Jazz first appeared in Azerbaijan at the beginning of the 20th century.[3] During the Soviet period, Baku was one of the three cities best known for jazz, along with Saint Petersburg and Riga.[3]

The Eastern Jazz Band, whose performances in Moscow were advertised in 1926, included Huseyngulu Sarabski as a soloist. In 1930s, Niyazi and Tofig Guliyev created the first local jazz band. However, jazz in the Soviet Union faced prohibition and censorship from 1920 and 1953.[4] By the 1950s, jazz musicians from many Soviet cities, looking for a safe harbour, gradually gathered in Baku. In the late 1960s, the Azerbaijani jazz music was boosted by such composers as Qara Qarayev and Rauf Hajiyev.

In 1969, the first jazz festival was held in Baku.[5]

21st century

As of 2000s, the country saw increase in jazz festivals, the music festivals such as Baku International Jazz Festival and Gabala International Music Festival are held annually.[6] The Baku Jazz Center has been created for development and support of jazz culture in Azerbaijan.[7]

Artists such as Aziza Mustafa Zadeh, Amina Figarova, Isfar Sarabski and Shahin Novrasli achieved worldwide success, who returned triumphant from Montreux Jazz Festival in 2007.[8][9][10]

Derivatives and offshoots

The most known type of Azerbaijani jazz is Jazz mugham, which includes a sultry combination of Mugham and traditional American jazz.[5][11] The style reached its full fame in the 1950s and 1960s under the influence of composer Rafig Babayev and his Gaya Quartet and jazz pianist and composer Vagif Mustafazadeh.[5][12] Dizzy Gillespie, the legendary American jazz trumpeter, reportedly lauded Mustafazadeh for creating "the music of the future."[5]

Notable performers




Tofig Ahmadov in the 1940s.



  1. "Music". Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  2. William Minor. Unzipped souls: a jazz journey through the Soviet Union, Temple University Press, 1995, p. 83-84
  3. 1 2 "Jazz in Azerbaijan: time-honoured tradition". UNESCO. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  4. Martin Lücke. "Vilified, Venerated, Forbidden: Jazz in the Stalinist Era..." (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-06-21. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Duncan, Ishdad. "The Baku Jazz Festival: Reviving a Tradition in Azerbaijan". Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  6. "IV Габалинский фестиваль собирает музыкантов мира". (in Russian). Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  7. Wrathall, Claire. "Baku to the future". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  8. Шаин Новрасли- звезда на небосклоне джазовой музыки (in Russian). Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  9. Noble, John (2008). Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan. Ediz. Inglese. Lonely Planet. p. 233.
  10. Fordham, John. "Shahin Novrasli: Bayati – review". Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  11. Esslemont, Tom. "Azerbaijan mugham music makes revival". Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  12. Blair, Betty. "Mugham Jazz: Vagif Mustafazade". Azerbaijan International. Retrieved 29 June 2014.

External links

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