"How can you teach a child to listen to jazz music?" From the example of Valeri Hajiyev, it seems you simply need to love the music. On 21st and 22nd June 2006 a Youth Festival was held in the Opera Studio; organised by Rain Sultanov, producer of the Baku Jazz Festival 2006, the Youth Festival opened with the youngest participant, 11 year old pianist Fariz Asadov.

His grandfather, Valeri Hajiyev, has a huge passion for jazz (and, incidentally, was in his time a member of the bronze medal-winning Neftchi team, playing at half-back). Fariz' joyful performance lifted the audience - it was clear he knew exactly what and why he was playing. During the performance three other members of Music School No 4 from Bakikhanov settlement joined him, and the audience enjoyed the spectacle of eight hands on two pianos playing "Caravan".

Fariz played four pieces in all: on two of them he was supported by Ruslan Huseynov and Sergey Krasnyansky. We should mention Vitaliy Volkov who did the arrangements for the young musicians and among those others who volunteered their services was percussionist Tofiq Jabbarov. The assistance of such experienced musicians is, of course, invaluable!

The main sponsor of the festival was the internationally renowned Yamaha company through its chain of 'Music Gallery' shops. Selection day for the festival had been on 28th May, with a jury of professional jazz experts, who chose the most talented of the young players.

The festival programme included two students of the BulBul school: 10th grade student Isfar Sarabski and graduate Aysel Guliyeva. The lively and emotional performance of Isfar was impossible to ignore; he played with great technique and revealed his deep understanding of the music. His co-performers complemented him well: the names of Ruslan Huseynov, Sergey Krasnyansky and Tofiq Jabbarov are well-known in Baku jazz circles.

Following Isfar, Aysel Guliyeva came to the stage. The trio accompanying her, however, were the weakest of the musicians. Aysel's performance was one of the most successful, as she carried the entire responsibility. She demonstrated the qualities required of a future bandleader and this bodes well for her continued development.

Pianist Iman Bayramli played a complicated piece by Michel Camilo and another of the young musicians, Arslan Novrasli, surprised everyone by playing an improvisation of jazz-mugham.

On the second day of the festivals, a guest from Moscow, vocalist Sabina Gasimova performed. She only recently began to sing jazz and is currently studying at one of Moscow's jazz colleges. As soon as she heard about the festival, she paid her own way to Baku and asked to participate in the concert programme. It was interesting that she was accompanied by Isfar and they only had two or three rehearsals for him to familiarise himself with her music. As for Sabina's singing, her voice covers a full octave, has a fine timbre and she has a dynamic presentation. Yes, there were some problems of intonation, possibly as a result of incomplete breath control; but this can easily be ironed out, the main thing is to work and think!

In short, this was a very successful festival! The youth showed their desire to play jazz, develop and work to become a good generation of musicians able to represent our country. Each participant was given a diploma of the Baku Jazz Festival 2006 which also featured jazz legends Al Jarreau and Herbie Hancock:- a stimulating gesture. To those who did not get through the selection stage, there was also a valuable present - the head of the festival's organising committee, Nuri Akhmedov, with great generosity presented tickets to Al Jarreau's concert.

We would like to express our special gratitude to the representatives of the Yamaha company - they flew to Baku especially from Japan to take an active role in the concerts. For example, Ninel….. presented musical instruments to Baku Jazz Centre and helped in the organisation of the festival. Of course, for the original idea and the organisation of the festival, on behalf of the participants and parents we express our deep gratitude to Rain Sultanov, and hope that he is able to continue this work and bring equal happiness in the future. The youth are our future and the music of the future depends on the new generation.


Nowadays, jazz is growing in popularity and drawing youth into its orbit; 'Baku Jazz 2006' was a practical demonstration. One of the most promising groups there was the saxophone ensemble led by Arif Jahangirov.

Arif Jahangirov - saxophonist graduate of the Gnesin Music College in Moscow, laureate of many jazz festivals in Baku and Moscow and currently teaching saxophone classes at the Baku Academy of Music and the BulBul School of Music.

- Arif muellim, where did the idea of establishing this saxophone ensemble come from?
- In 2004 there was a concert in the Baku Jazz Centre by Israeli jazzman Leonid Ptashko. It was there that I met Nuri Akhmedov, General Director of Azeurotel; he suggested that I try to attract young people to jazz and the idea arose of trying a new idea - an ensemble of saxophonists. I invited all my students. I was pleased to be able to 'infect' them with this music. They are flocking to jazz.

- How did you turn your idea into reality?
After assembling enough musicians to establish the ensemble, I turned to Nuri Akhmendov for help. Nuri muellim liked the idea very much and offered the use of the Jazz Centre to solve a problem we had in finding rehearsal space. This solved all our problems and the ensemble was formed in November 2005. By February 2006 I had completed arrangements of my compositions and we began to rehearse once a week, on Sundays.

- When was your first solo concert?
Firstly I'd like to say that the main role in organising our concert was taken by Nuri Akhmedov. He came to our rehearsals a couple of times; he liked the young saxophonists' playing and he offered us the chance of a solo concert in the Jazz Centre; this took place on 5 June 2006. Posters, invitations and tickets were distributed with his financial support. The concert was a success and attracted the press and television; it was broadcast on Lider TV more than once.

- How did you become involved in the Baku Jazz Festival?
- In the middle of June there was a competition of young musicians, with the chance of being selected to take part in the jazz festival. In the selection round we played several compositions; the jury was pleased with our performance and the ensemble was selected to participate in the festival. Our group played in the square on the opening day and in one of the concerts in the Opera Studio, together with other young musicians.

- How did this involvement in the festival affect the ensemble's development?
Of course the festival played an important role in the soloists' development. For example in October 2006, Elchin Huseynov and Safura Alizade played in a concert of Azerbaijani musicians in Paris.

- What are your future plans for the group?
- Now we mainly work with the guys on an individual basis. There are new members and some have moved on, but we are continuing our work.