The Jazz Festival is getting closer and closer... Now we can safely say that BJF 2005 is going to be one of the finest events on the city’s cultural calendar for many years. It’s now time to check out the opinions of our local jazz masters. What do they think?

Rain Sultanov

Rain Sultanov:
As the festival’s producer I would like it to set the highest standards. I am going to play music from my forthcoming album, dedicated to our lost lands, in collaboration with the great Indian tabla player, Udai Mazumdar. I hope lovers of ethnic music will enjoy this new project. We have invited many wonderful artistes with many different styles and it would be great to have time to perform with all of them, especially with Joe Zawinul’s Syndicate, on whose music I grew up.

Salman Gambarov

Salman Gambarov:
I am anticipating some fresh and interesting music. I think this festival will bring us the best of it. About our performance, it’s going to be pretty unusual: In 1930, under Mikail Mikailov’s direction, a silent movie was made called "Latif". We are going to show this movie, with our own live improvisation as soundtrack. There are many great artists coming to the festival this year. Among them is the great saxophone player Greg Osby; I would really like to meet and play with him in one of the jam sessions.

Rauf Babayev and "Beri Bakh" group

Rauf Babayev (Musical director of the "Beri Bakh" group):
I am very glad that we are finally able to organize an event of such quality for ourselves. The "Caspian Jazz and Blues festival" left much to be desired in its organization and its approach to programming in the past three years. In fact our local musicians were badly under represented and were made to feel they were the "poor relations" at their own festival. I am expecting great success this time, and wish good luck to the organizers, and good, professional music to the audience. This time we would like to present our band as not solely a vocal group, but also as solid, professional soloists. Our main wish is to take the audience back to the old jazz Baku of the 50’s.

Jamil Amirov

Jamil Amirov:
What do I expect from the festival? I am really looking forward to hearing new music and to seeing some new faces. I am also looking forward to the festival performances. Of course I am also very excited by the arrival of the legendary Joe Zawinul.
Savab will play a completely new program, played with additional musicians on board.
Javan Zeynalli

Javan Zeynalli:
I am really looking forward to the festival performances of both foreign and local artistes. For me - the festival is a great opportunity to build new connections and engage in a musical conversation. I believe that the coming event will provide all this at the highest level.
I will appear there as both singer and pianist, accompanied by my favorite musicians: Rauf Sultanov (double bass) and Vagif Aliev (drums). Down the years we have become really good friends and our collaborations have always worked creatively. I will also perform with the singer Leyla Mammadova, working together on a good set of classic jazz standards. My own composition "Vagif is among us", dedicated to the memory of the great jazz pianist and composer Vagif Mustafazadeh, will also feature in our program.

Rauf Sultanov

Rauf Sultanov:
This festival will, for sure, become the best of all the jazz events here. I can say this simply by the number of top class, foreign and local artistes invited. To see Joe Zawinul here in Baku? We could only dream of it....
Together with Vitaliy Volkov (piano) Rafig Bunyadov (guitar), Rafig Velimetov (guitar) and Sergey Kranyanskiy (drums) we are going to play in our usual Traditional Jazz style, which has remained in vogue through the years, creating a great musical legacy.

Shahin Novrasly

Shahin Novrasly:
I am awaiting the next important step in the establishment of jazz in Azerbaijan. It is going to be a very important stage in the further evolution of our musicians and for the whole jazz scene here.
I will play with a new band formed from festival guests, starring Nathan Peck on bass and an excellent drummer, Alison Miller, with whom we played successfully in Turkey, Russia and the USA. As usual, our program will contain my own compositions.
I would like to meet Joe Zawinul. Every encounter with such an artist is in itself a giant step in a musician’s career.

Emil Ibrahim

Emil Ibrahim::
I hope to meet and combine with some new, professional musicians. What and with whom am I going to play? I will only say that it will be a nice surprise for all jazz lovers...

The Orient Xpress

Anar Yusufov (The Orient Xpress band):
It is a great honor for us to perform on the same stage as the real jazz masters, both local and foreign. Although our debut was last year at the "Caspian Jazz & Blues Festival" 2004 this performance means a lot to us. That’s also because this time our band will play on equal terms. We would like to thank the organizers and all the musicians for their great help and support. We will not let you down! Our program will contain a lot of our own stuff as well as some well-known tunes, all arranged in an original Acid and Electro-jazz style.