PAGES FROM THE HISTORY OF THE BAKU FESTIVAL

They say that there is nothing new under the sun. To flick through the pages of our city's rich musical history is to witness the proof of this adage. Concerts, festivals, tours…. are all essential elements of our musical heritage. And one shining example is the 'Baku 87' All Union Jazz Festival.

Festivals, of course, are always great occasions and bequeath us fond reminiscence. Let's allow, however, that jazz festivals infuse a particularly special mood. The communication between player and listener is also unusual; the connection between stage and auditorium is hard to capture in words. It is a time for the discovery of new names, styles and mannerisms.



For just these reasons, the 'Baku 87' Jazz Festival has remained long in peoples' memories as an outstanding event. Many jazz musicians and groups came to Baku that year. Among them was the legendary Oleg Lundstrem's Big Band - a name included in many a jazz history. A variety of other groups were there, such as 'Allegro' led by N. Levinovsky, 'Kadans' under the leadership of G. Lukyanov, Y. Vorontsov's 'Riff', O. Plotnikov's 'Ural Dixieland', D. Goloshyokin's group and the Tallinn-based group led by Helmut Anikon.

A 'supergroup' trio of soloists was formed by well-known pianist Mikhail Okun, the great double-bass player Tamas Kurashvili and Viktor Yepaneshnikov, widely accepted as the best of Soviet drummers.


Among the festival's other participants were the brilliant guitarist Alexei Kuznetsov's instrumental trio, trumpeter Alexander Fisher and also Daniel Kramer's duo. Estonian saxophonist Lembit Saarsalu appeared, along with pianist Leonid Vintskevich's duo and also the duo of A. Jelakayev, a guitarist whose compositions combined jazz with gipsy folk music, and pianist F. Ivanov.
Popular pianists Vagif Sadikhov, Igor Nazaruk, Igor Brill and Sergey Terentyev gave memorable performances before the Baku audience. And we must not forget that among these guests of the festival was Larisa Dolina, originally from Baku, whose career began as a jazz singer and who is currently a People's Artist of Russia.

Azerbaijani jazz was well-represented by the Azerbaijan State Television and Radio soloist ensemble led by the unforgettable Rafiq Babayev, the Jazz-Choir under the guidance of Teymur Mirzayev, pianist Rovshan Rzayev's jazz quartet and the young, 17 year old, Aziza Mustafa-zadeh, now a 'global' star in the world of jazz.

….A warm June evening, numerous jazz lovers gathering in the open-air auditorium of the Green Theatre, losing track of time and place and held under the spell of jazz until 3am (taxis then were rarely seen at night, and many had to walk home).

Remembering all this, we wish long life to jazz and to jazz festivals - may these celebrations be with you always.

Lala Huseynova
musicologist