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"Volcano" GroupIrina Rodiles
Emil Ibrahim & FriendsSevda Alekperzade
Shahin NovrasliRafig Velimetov Group

from June 22

The next, the third in a row Baku International Jazz Festival was held from the 7th of June 2007 to the 14th. As in the past years the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan, the Ministry of Youth and Sport of Azerbaijan, Friends of Azerbaijan Culture Foundation and Baku Jazz Center were the organizers of the Festival...>>>


Press-Release from June 10, Year 2007 In the yesterday’s program of the Festival there was another concert that I missed due to the fact that I was at the Festival events at Green Theatre and Philharmonic – it was interesting to listen to the guests of the Festival. Anar Yusufov’s Orient Express performed simultaneously with them. Considering that the building of Baku Jazz Center was completely full, the new program of the "Orient guys" was of a big interest to the admirers.
The Sunday evening started with Aziza Mustafazadeh’s press-conference. After the end of the Festival we will provide in detail a report of the intercourse of the main guest of the Festival and will publish it.
The youngest participant of the Festival Isfar Sarabskiy’es performance was the first in the Sunday concert program of the Festival. Isfar came to the jazz stage in March last year – exactly then he took part in the contest of drummers organized annually by Tofig Jabarov. Later he performed with solo concert at Baku Jazz Center and he also participated in the youth program of the last year jazz festival. The experience gained by Isfar in one year – actually in regular work, no in episodical concerts – gave the organizing committee grounds to invite him to the Festival. The young musician specially prepared for the Festival and performed with a completely new program – and that honours the young pianist. The real musician shall respect equally as spectators as the business, which he serves to. The jazzmen with whom Isfar had been cooperating successfully for a long time performed with him – bass Ruslan Huseynov, percussionist Tofig Jabarov and drummer Sergey Krasnyanskiy, and also musicians known as performers of folk music – I am talking about the brilliant nagara player (I believe it would be better to call him now a percussioner) Natig Shirinov and a young accordion player Orkhan Mirzoyev.
Isfar’s performance program consisted as of jazz standards (I would note "All Blues") and as of Azerbaijani music, "laid" under jazz standard by Isfar. One lyrical play was an exception; the author is Isfar himself (it was performed in duet with Natig). All the other performed music was remarkable for solidity of the sound and for the temper. Actually it was very interesting to observe Isfar’s face during his performance on the stage – a little shy in the real life musician literally transforms on the stage, his look becomes harsh and unapproachable, one can feel that Isfar lives with the music and controls literally every single note, and not just his but also his partners’. As to the last play where accordion player Orkhan Mirzoyev joined the quintet, it would have been better if it had not been in the program at all: in term of working for the audience the thing was perhaps proper – but it could not sustain any criticism. It seemed that the play had been given entirely to the accordion player – the three similar parties made people bored. In general one shall be very and very cautious when it comes to using ethical music in jazz, disregarding where it originates from: in most cases ethno-musicians work not by notes ( they actually do not know them), but by ear. Besides most have limited knowledge of music – and mostly this fact does not allow them to collaborate successfully in projects where the western musical culture and the ethnic shall be brought to one common denominator.
Unfortunately performance of the Hungarian group Djabe had to be moved from Green Theatre to Philharmonic – the wind, which did not want to drop, did not allow holding it in the open air. And immediately the problem of setting sound in capricious hall of the Philharmonic aroused. As we said yesterday it is good for acoustics, but application of sound magnifiers can end up badly. Besides we shall note that the music which is performed by the Hungarian team does not allow chamber premises by its Nature – the music of the group is ideal for open spaces. Very rich and solid sound of the rhythm-section with emphasis on the lower register is ideal in the open air – it gives a general depth to the sound. But because of the acoustics of Philharmonic the general sounding of the group became a sound squash: practically it was impossible to emphasize single instruments. To say the truth I was called out at that moment regarding the Festival stuff – and when I was coming back through the side passage I stayed there for while: in that area the music sounded pretty well. I think one of the most important reasons for problems with sound is the dome over the stage of Philharmonic: the sound reflected from it creates a constant echo – the outcome is obvious. And considering that the lower register dominated that evening it was not just an echo, but very heavily distinguishable squash.
And now we will tell about the performance of our musicians with Djabe. Even before arrival the guests expressed a wish to learn more about Azerbaijani music, and if possible to perform with any Azerbaijani musicians. Of course, the organizing committee accepted the wish of our guests from Hungary – so tar player Malik Mansurov and nagara player Natig Shirinov performed with the guests of the Festival. I will note that Natig already had a good experience of cooperation with jazz musicians – and he can always find the required rhythmical image and paint it his way. But as we already mentioned above it is not simple to bring jazz and ethnical music to common denominator. And of course there are pretty often non-professional and illiterate efforts of giving to the judgment of audience various types of projects, in which jazz musicians support rhythmical image, and the folk music players perform what they know. And when it is the turn of jazz players, the representatives of folk music remain silent as they were not on the stage. The problem is that such synthesis needs considerable musical knowledge in both of the spheres and naturally these projects need a very deep preliminary preparation – otherwise they will fail (wild delight of inexperienced audience is not considered). The same happened this evening – everyone played on his own. It seemed that Malik Mansurov was uncomfortable on the stage. And despite he completed his part with a melody given by the Hungarians – anyways that had not changed anything: they did not manage to bring different musical styles to the common denominator. It is a pity that a good chance for a joint work had been lost. Anyways even such performance became useful – it was like an example of what shall not be done. I hope in the future the approach to such projects will be more professional. As to Natig Shirinov, then all was easy for him – he was like a fish in the water.
The American group Volcano had the stage in the same hall of Philharmonic before the performance of the Hungarians. I awaited them with a special interest: the matter is that two of the musicians have a big experience of cooperation with the most creative musicians of the modern jazz – I am talking about Eric Person and Joe Fonda. We can talk endlessly about Fonda – he performed so brightly at the concert and at jam session as well. Not tall and very heated and fantastic sense of music. And it is just impossible to express with words what Eric, Joe and the leader of the group Yavuz Akyazıcı created during the jam session together with Salman Gambarov. To make the image full I will just add that straight away two contrabass could not sustain Fonda’s energy and became out of order.
But let us continue with Volcano’s concert. This concert in one term met the expectations and in other did not. The problem was perhaps that drummer Matt Wilson was replaced by a compatriot of the leader of the group Yavuz Akyazici Selim Selcuk. He is not a bad drummer, but his rocker past was felt in his play. And that affected the music of the quartet in general. He could not become a worthy partner to the other musicians, and first of all to Eric Person and Joe Fonda. Despite the fact that Person and Fonda were pressed in the frames of the music offered by Yavuz Akyazici, but even in these frames they could display themselves. I do not want to say that Akyazici’s music was bad – not at all. But these musicians’ potentials are much higher – and I would like to listen to them in performing free-jazz or something like that. At one of the moments Joe Fonda actually surprised me with his thinking: he seemed wrongly intonating in a simple phrase of four notes: the first three sounds were played at forth tone higher each. And here – the most unexpected: the last note, which had the strongest part, hit the point! I am not going to mark this moment specially: musicians will understand me, but a long explanation of technique of performance and musicians’ thinking characteristics will be required for others interested in this.
Rovshan Sananoglu