JAZZ DOESN'T NEED DIRECTION, IT GOES ITS OWN WAY

Today television is the largest state in the media kingdom, but the serial is the most important guide. The cultural and ideological vacuum which was established in such a short period has been filled by serials. In modern society there are two types of products for mass-consumption: news and serials. News programmes help us to understand our existence and lives, serials help us to understand why and for what we live. Nowadays you will not find any publications about culture and jazz at the news kiosks, instead there are any number of private newspapers full of advertisements. In any case, most people earn low wages and can't afford to spend money on moral sustenance. In our city, from a chronological point of view, the latest important event, Baku Jazz 2006 festival was held in unusual conditions. The noble aim of the festival was to offer people a feast of music and poetry.
The seeds sown in the other hemisphere of our planet have grown here, too, and here this meant the development of new values and features. It is true that, as in the last century, jazz arouses enthusiasm among some people but there are others who can't accept it. Anyway, in the modern period, especially among the youth, the supporters of this art are rapidly growing in number.
Baku Jazz Centre is also trying to change its own structure and looking for a more highly developed lifestyle; the creative spirit has once again overcome the spirit of commerce. To make this leap, new strength and courage was necessary from dynamic and independently-minded people. This season Baku Jazz Centre, taking note of its audience and advice from specialists, has opened a studio for the young musicians who, in developing their music, have not lost belief in the life enhancing power of jazz. Jazz is generally a very dynamic art, it is able to change quickly over time and to follow its dynamic development and understand its incredible variety of styles is very difficult. This may be why all the developments of jazz have not been fully researched. In other kinds of music, standards have long been established, but not yet in jazz. We can say for sure, however, that Azerbaijan jazz has great creative resources; it has its victories and losses, great purpose and ideals.
I remember in my youth sitting for hours next to the gramophone. We learned then from the experience of foreign jazzmen. Of course, hearing these words now makes you want to laugh, but I am saying this not just to show how hard we worked to understand jazz. In those days intellectuals cut themselves off from the propagation of new values; the result was the complete disintegration of society and the loss of models for the future. There was nothing beyond shallow and primitive propaganda. There were clever people with definite interests.
I remember once being given an album for my birthday of Oscar Peterson's trio. In some ways this is accepted as a unique album. Firstly it is unusual in its instrumentation. The trio did not have a drummer (piano, guitar and bass); I'm sure you will agree that this kind of line up is very rare; drums are usually an essential part of a jazz group. There are examples, however, to prove that groups without drums can still play the most demanding jazz.
The record I mentioned has one other notable feature: it was recorded at a concert, not in the studio. This is an important problem for jazz. Recording in the studio enables you to achieve perfection in capturing the form of the composition. During a concert, the direct contact with an audience gives a special emotional content to improvisation. The most important feature of the album was that the musicians, formally, did not emerge from the jazz tradition, were still in leading positions in the world of jazz (one of them was Danish, another Italian/American and the third was a black Canadian). These three masters were pianist Oscar Peterson, guitarist Joe Pass and douple-bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen.
Oscar Emmanuel Peterson was born in 1925 in Montreal (Canada), he toured intensively and gave concerts for more than thirty years; as a player and soloist he preferred small groups.
Tamerlan Shalbarov

In the 1950s he played with bassist Ray Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis; in the 1960s his regular partners were Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen. In the 1970s Peterson did not have a regular group. He sometimes played solo and also worked with various other great jazzmen, but he was always a leading jazz pianist. As well as his playing, he taught jazz improvisation at universities in the USA and Canada (many of his solo works appeared in books on jazz style). He also introduced jazz programmes on television. Most of his records were awarded diplomas.
Guitarist Joe Pass, whose real name was Guiseppe Passalaqua, was born near New York in 1929. It took him quite a long time to achieve acceptance by an audience. In the 1960s he worked in jazz orchestras as a rhythm guitarist, and for some time earned money by playing in different clubs. He was also invited to work as accompanist with Sinatra, Eckstine, Williams, Vaughan and McCrae, but he was not offered regular work. His first solo record was made in 1970 in West Germany. He received most support from Norman Granz, who helped him enter 'Star Concerts' and make recordings. In the concerts Pass established great musical relationships with Ella Fitzgerald, Peterson and Ellington.
Only at this point, well on into his career, was he accepted by the jazz establishment; his name appeared more frequently in response to polls and finally he reached number one: he joined the limited ranks of solo guitarists. The article on Joe Pass in the 'Jazz Encyclopaedia' says that he is an exemplary modern jazz musician, for him there are no insurmountable technical problems. He maintains the swing even when playing extremely dynamic pieces and on ballads he demonstrates exceptionally harmonic 'inventive' ability. Most of his solo improvisations have been published in special editions. He has also published books for guitarists who want to improve their qualifications and for those who want to learn to play guitar independently.
Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen was born into a musical family in Orsted , Denmark, in 1946. He began playing piano at six years old and bass at thirteen and was already a professional jazz musician at fourteen years old. When the jazz club 'Montmartre' opened in Copenhagen in 1962, Niels was invited there as a member of the permanent rhythm section, so, as well as the opportunity to accompany the outstanding musicians who played there on tour, he also picked up both inspiration and experience. At that time, on Danish radio, a jazz orchestra and group had been established and he also gained experience from working in that studio. Musicians with styles ranging from live jazz classics to avant-garde began to invite him to play concerts and tours. Niels played with Bud Powell, Albert Ayler and Ben Webster but his most regular association was with Oscar Peterson. They even played together in the Soviet Union.
Niels Pedersen was regarded as the best jazz bassist in Europe for more than ten years. Asked if he had students, he answered, "Jazz is such a large field, that I still have to learn so much myself."

by Tamerlan Shalbarov
Head of Department Jazz & Cinema Cultural Analysis