BAKU JAZZ CENTER

Modern Jazz Trio

Recently in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, there was a concert by Timucin Sahin's famous trio of musicians which was brought to fruition with the assistance of Nazaket khanim Gasimova, Turkish representative of The Premier Art Management Agency. Firstly, I have to note that on electric bass was Kai Eckhardt, from Germany. This well-known guitarist has performed with John McLaughlin and is familiar to jazz-lovers in Baku.

Modern Jazz Trio

Timucin Sahin, leader of the trio is originally from Turkey. In 1992 he moved to the Netherlands and studied in the conservatoires of Amsterdam and Hilversum, playing jaz guitar. He moved, later, to New York and continued his studies at Manhattan Music College. This guitarist and composer has received many awards and prizes at festivals. He may be categorised as a musician researching new directions in jazz improvisation and to achieve his own specific sound he uses fretless guitars.
In Baku Jazz Centre Sahin used both a double-necked fretless guitar and a traditional fretted guitar. The sounds of the slide, fretless guitar, his microtonal playing and use of sampling all helped create a distinctive feel. Sahin's music is a synthesis of traditional southern Indian, eastern European and Asian styles. He also works on a number of other projects with different groups, but when leading his own trio he plays mainly his own music. Timucin also leads the groups, 'Rare Falcons' and 'Occult Ensemble'; he performs with Mike Manieri, Kai Eckhardt among others and has released albums with them. It should be noted that his style of music demands high professionalism and courage from his fellow musicians. With this in mind Sahin invites experienced musicians to his own trio; one of them being one of the best bass guitarists in the world of jazz: Kai Eckhardt. This musician was born in Mainz, in Germany. In 1983 he entered the Berklee Music College in Boston, USA. Even while studying he worked with various groups and established an international reputation. After graduation he was offered work as a teacher at Berklee. In 1987 vibraphonist Gerry Burton suggested Eckhardt to John McLaughlin, the jazz fusion guitarist and he became part of the trio in 1988. Also in the trio was drummer and percussionist Trilok Gurtu. Together they toured all over the world and released two albums. Eckhardt is a fast-playing and talented bass guitarist equally at home in be-bop, hard bop, free jazz and jazz sessions. Over the many years he has worked with musicians like: Billy Cobham, Bill Evans, Steps Ahead, Omar Hakkim and Aziza Mustafa-zadeh. By the way, Kai Eckhardt, in remembering their joint work on his disc, spoke warmly about Aziza.

Rain Sultanov and Modern Jazz Trio

Finally, some words about Owen Hart. Even while living in New York, Hart played with Benny Green, Ravi Coltrane, Ronald Westray and others and rapidly developed his musical abilities. Currently, he is head of the Faculty of Drumming and Professor in the Jazz Studio at the Groningen Conservatoire in the Netherlands.
The trio has met Timucin Sahin's expectations and the Jazz Centre audience received their music with pleasure and admiration. Sahin recently released an album, 'Slick Road' with the 'Rare Falcons' group, supplemented by other, international musicians including trombone player Robin Ewbanks, bassist Hein van de Geyn and two exotic percussionists Manjunat and Afra Mussavisade. The quintet's music differs in its exoticism. Sahin composed all the music on the album, creating a synthesis of complicated, rhythmic, ethnic jazz with traditional southern Indian music and a unique sound.


Fayum portraits

On 5th October the Baku Jazz Centre witnessed the concert, 'Fayum Portraits' organised by the Initiative Centre of Contemporary Music SoNoR, the tourist Agency 'Azintertour' and Baku Jazz Centre. Three groups performed: SoNoR ensemble, the Iranian trio 'Mehr' and pianist Shain Novrasly's trio.
The SoNoR musicians performed first, playing three compositions. 'Ad te Suspiramus' by Guillaume de Machaut, Faraj Karaev's 'Musik fur die Stadt Forst' and 'Fayum Portraits'. The latter composition was written by the Artistic Director of SoNoR, Elmir Mirzoev. SoNoR is Latin for 'sound' and clearly is appropriate, judging from their work in the concert. It should be noted that in 'Fayum Portraits' the music was presented in an unusual way; the use of Egyptian portraits as a backdrop helped the music to create a mood and strengthened its effect. In my opinion the composer achieved his purpose and helped the audience to a deeper understanding of the music. 'Fayum Portraits' is the collective's second project of the year. The first was a synthesis of modern music with the work of Azerbaijani artist Ali Herischi.

Shahin Novrasli

The second part of the concert was by the Iranian trio 'Mehr'. The trio members are: Babak Daneshvar, santor and Artistic Director; Bahman Faryadras, kemanch and Hamid Ghanbari, tonbek and daf; they play mainly traditional near Eastern music. Here they played three compositions: Pishderamed and Chaharmizrab, Bedahe Destgahe Shur and Segah Destgahi. The musicians played mughams with a high degree of professionalism.
Later, Shahin Novrasly and his trio played. Their highly developed techniques of improvisation, and the emotional content of every phrase played by this talented young pianist reached out to all in the audience. They played three compositions: the first was Vagif Mustafa-zadeh's 'Waiting for Aziza', then an improvisation on the traditional song, 'Alinde Sazin Qurbani' and Noravsly's own composition, 'Silk Way'. I have to say that all three pieces were played at the same high level. The themes of the first two were enriched by Shahin's improvisation but the final piece was clearly recognisable as all his own style, combining mugham and modern jazz with expression and emotion. Apparent in his playing are the influences of Keith Jarrett and Gonzalo Rubalcaba, but he has his own specific ideas; while taking elements from those musicians he adds his own colour.
In the 'Fayum Portraits' concert, although three distinct types of music were played, there were elements to unite them; the synthesis of jazz and traditional music, the combination of pictorial and musical art worked to provide a thought-provoking evening.


Lola Morales

Her family originated from Nicaragua, she was born in San Francisco but now Lola Morales lives and works in London; she is a singer-songwriter, but also sings the hit songs of jazz musicians like Antonio Carlos Jobin, George Benson and others. She has in her repertoire pop music alongside the jazz songs; she mixes pop, Latin American dance rhythms and Brazilian Bossa Nova with lyrical ballads.

Lola Morales

Before she came on stage, the band played Herbie Hancock's 'Canteloupe Island' - she was accompanied by Baku musicians, Emil Mamedov, keyboards; Ruslan Huseynov, bass guitar; Sergey Krasnyansky, drums and Tofiq Jabbarov, percussion. Her arrival on stage made a great impression with her effective, extravagant appearance. She appeared very relaxed and comfortable on stage. She did not produce any great innovation in her arrangements, but it is pointless to compare her with the musicians because she is learning from her predecessors, not repeating them - that's why her music is very specific.
Among the Azeri jazzmen I would like to mention especially the name of Tofiq Jabbarov. He took the opportunities offered by the compositions of Carlos Santana and other Latin musicians. The concert in the Jazz Centre was thoroughly enjoyed and applauded by an audience made up largely of ex-pat guests.

by Faig Gurbanov