TOFIG SHABANOV (16.10.1946 - 31.08.1997)

The wish to know more about the life and creative activity of the talented saxophonist who died too early made me think very carefully, because on the one hand I felt the inevitable sense of guilt which follows when we invade the private life of anyone, let alone one whose life was already over. On the other hand, I wanted to do my work professionally and to bring carefully selected information to readers. Thus I firmly and confidently decided not to open old wounds and to leave in peace the musician who left life voluntarily.
Tofig Shabanov was an irreplaceable example of those totally committed to music, among others the legendary Vagif Mustafa-zadeh, and unforgettable Tofig Guliyev. He possessed unusual improvising skills; easily and correctly improvising upon the harmonies of blues.
Tofig Shabanov was born on 16th October 1946 in Baku. He was brought up with the melodies of John Coltrane, Charles Parker and others. He was flexible enough to join the world of jazz and his innate personal qualities ensured he became a wonderful jazz musician.

Tofig Shabanov

Tofig Shabanov was a saxophonist of educated musicianship, and he played many instruments: alto-saxophone, soprano and tenor, in his own style. He was very lucky to play in orchestras with such outstanding representatives of the Azerbaijan stage as Rashid Behbudov and Rafig Babayev; his work with them was especially inspiring and stimulating to his creative search. His good nature earned the love and warmth of the musicians who worked alongside him. He was a very sociable and sincere person and a good friend who was always available in difficult situations.
Tofig Shabanov

Tofig Shabanov`s whole creative life was connected with "Gaya". In 1988, Shabanov asked to be transferred to the State Jazz Orchestra "Gaya" and from 1992 he became its artistic director.
"Tofig Shabanov and I worked in the "Gaya" group. He was a good musician and I think he was a naturally gifted one. They say 'musician by the will of God' about such people,"were the words of the artistic director of the "Beri Bakh" group, Rauf Babayev.
He was clearly strong enough to transform the remaining members of the orchestra into one modern body in a very difficult and transient period. It was not an easy time for the creative people who had devoted their lives to music and thus he made a great contribution to Azerbaijani culture.
Until the end of his life Tofig Shabanov was a very generous and hospitable person and maybe that is why he was also a poor one. However, when we hear contradictory opinions about Tofig Shabanov, we can say that his life was not an easy one and his last act was final proof of that.
"I met Tofig Shabanov 10 days before his death. He looked very unhappy and under pressure, he burst into tears and embraced me. I think he already knew about his incurable illness. That last time I met him impressed me deeply", that was how Rain Sultanov remembered that day. The land of Azerbaijan, where many talented people were born, has every right to be proud of such a son as Tofig Shabanov.