Jahangir Garayev

That night there was nostalgia over a musician who left us and the time when he lived.


They are associated with a specific period. They carry with them the spirit, the fashion, the mood and the life of the time when they were… well, happy.

I can see a smiling person on a big screen at the Jazz Centre where many people came together to commemorate him. He is good-looking, dynamic and incredibly charming. His energy calls on to perform a miracle, discover the unidentified and touch the sky…

Background: Jahangir Garayev is an extraordinary musician, a rebel of his time, who stood far from the laws and stereotypes. He was born in 1950 and received brilliant education in music. His uncle, the great and inimitable Azerbaijani composer Gara Garayev, saw a talented musician in him. After graduating from the conservatoire with honors and being offered a job there, Jahangir Garayev became an exemplary teacher. Later, from 1982 to 1984 he continued his teaching career in Dakar, Senegal.


With the president of the Baku Academy of Music Farhad Badalbeyli

Jahangir Garayev

I remember him as a dare-devil. We were all like that; it was the happiest time for us. We never thought of expensive cars, or money, or any other material things. We read books and listened to music, and travelled around the world wearing just one shirt and a pair of jeans

Once when we arrived in Singapore, Janik wanted to take a photo of Polad and I. We froze in front of the camera, as usual.

‘No, not like that! Take a look at the trees; they’re so unusual! Can you climb on them somehow from the side and just hang by?’ said Janik. ‘Once when you become government big shots, you’ll remember this time!’

This is exactly what happened. And now, while looking at those photos, I realize that was what Jahangir Garayev was all about. He was real and could give it his one hundred per cent in everything.

At night, we would gather at his place to listen to the latest from Parker, Coltrane and Fitzgerald. He would lure us in; with him it was always fun and he lived by spiritual values, like a true musician.

Background: Having explored the depth of classical music, Jahangir became interested in jazz and tried himself in that field. He founded his own band he named Jurbajur which turned out very interesting and unusual for the listeners.

Jahangir Garayev


With the head of the Composers’ Union Franghiz Alizadeh

Jahangir Garayev

We studied together with Jahangir Garayev. And he was always one step ahead. He knew everything that was going on in the world of music. He was incredibly smart and knowledgeable. He would aspire for novelty. And once we heard that Janik was playing unusual music. Electronic music was rare in Baku back then. I attended his concert and felt so emotionally inspired that I decided to write a critical review. Just for myself. Then that review was published in a newspaper. And when Jahangir read the article, he said: ‘You couldn’t give my works a better definition! These are real mazes! Sometimes I cannot find the way out myself.’

Background: Jahangir Garayev’s band Jurbajur whose repertoire included jazz arrangements of the works of contemporary Azerbaijani composers performed numerous concerts and every time gathered a full house.


of the prominent contemporary composer and musician Faraj Garayev.

Jahangir Garayev

When he was young, I explained to him what a jazz square was. I remember drawing something with a blunt pencil on a piece of paper and showing it to him. ‘There are laws and squares which you cannot escape, and where you won’t find anything new’, I said. ‘These are the rules of music.’

Time passed and one time in Moscow, some accomplished musicians, on hearing a melody, asked me if that was my performance. I told them it was my cousin’s. ‘He’s a genius’, they replied. ‘He’s done the impossible by going against the rules. How did he do it?’ ‘That’s my cousin!’ I smiled, and I was extremely proud of him! Background: Together with professional mastery of the piano, Jahangir Garayev taught himself how to play the flute, which later became one of his favourite instruments.

Jahangir Garayev


was entrusted in his brother, currently Azerbaijan’s Minister of Culture and Tourism Abulfas Garayev.

Jahangir Garayev

He did not make a speech. And there was no need for one… Because their life passed by, or rather flew over the audience without any words. Only the eyes expressed the very intimate and valuable: childhood and youth memories, fun games, and a sinking heart when his brother’s friends gathered to listen to special music… They nurtured love and incontestable belief in his brother the MUSICIAN. Similarly to his elder brother, he is in love with music and helps its revival like no one else. His entirely family, starting with the great Gara Garayev, on to his cousin Faraj, his elder brother Jahangir and himself, is bound to jazz by destiny, which also means being bound to the high culture of the Azerbaijani people.

Jahangir Garayev


I am holding a CD of a musician in my hands, that of Jahangir Garayev. I am thinking of how well the colours on the cover were chosen. They are the colours of the sun: yellow and orange. They are as bright and warm as the author’s music. Jahangir Garayev has left us rays of bright light, and memories of him, resembling colourful kaleidoscopes from our childhood…

Jahangir Garayev

Leyla Efendiyeva