Multimedia and Web Design studio "MediaDesign Tech" announced the opening in Azerbaijan of a great online website jazz.az. The site’s internet address is www.jazz.az
The site was initiated by Baku Jazz Centre and sponsored by telecommunications company "Azeurotel". This is not simply a basic internet site; it is in fact a jazz portal, currently connected to many sites (more than ten) - and more connections will follow. This jazz.az project comfortably bears comparison with other sites, being one of the most creative sites in the jazz world in its use of multi-media. The portal is distinguished by its combination of creative design and state of the art internet technology, all used to display a wealth of information about jazz. The site offers versions in three languages: Azeri, Russian and English which makes it available to a huge constituency. Jazz compositions, Internet radio, a Photo Gallery, interesting texts, News from the World of Jazz, Performance Schedules, CD Discographies of Azeri Musicians, Computer Wallpapers, Forums, Screensavers, Polyphonic Melodies and Pictures for Mobile Phones, Internet links and may other features await your attention. Websites for nine Azeri jazz musicians have been created within the jazz.az project: Rafiq Babayev, Vagif Mustafazadeh, Vagif Sadikhov, Jamil Amirov, Salman Gambarov, Rain Sultanov, Aziza Mustafazadeh, Emil Ibrahim and Shahin Novrasli. Work is also under way on sites for other Azeri jazz musicians. A further attractive feature of the site is online radio at the address radio.jazz.az; it has three radio channels which operate at two speeds to ensure maximum availability to users. The "All Jazz" channel is devoted to the many faces of traditional jazz. On "Alternative Jazz" you can hear new directions and experimental jazz and the "Ethnic Jazz" channel plays the beautiful melodies of Brazil and Azeri Jazz (a recognised form within the world of jazz), Indian-style compositions and other ethnic jazz forms…Using modern internet technology via a simple modem, users can receive high quality sounds.
You can access information on musicians’ dates and gigs via live.jazz.az Although this is a recently established site, it has already achieved popularity within the jazz world. We are proud to report that following its launch the site has been given the American internet accolade, "Cators are grateful to the General Director of Azeurotel, Nuri Ahmedov, who has supported cultural development in Azerbaijan over the past year. Information support was given by the ‘Jazz Dunyasi’ magazine’s editorial team. Well-known jazzman Rain Sultanov contributed his written research for use on the project.

The following have worked on the project:
Creative Director: Miraslan Zeyn
Technical Director: Samir Gasimov
Webmasters: Rashad Zeynalov, Ruslan Nabiyev
Editing: Sevil Khan
Correction of English text: Ian Peart









On 30th January 2005 well-known Azeri percussionist Tofiq Jabbarov directed his largest project to date: a Festival of Drums at the Baku Jazz Centre. Sixteen of the best musicians performed at this mini-festival on a variety of instruments including: drums, nagara, double-nagara and other percussion. Together with jazz drummers, there were also folk musicians; there were young, experienced, professional and amateur musicians. It was remarkable that so many musicians were able to demonstrate their talent in both jazz and ethnic music.
The Festival began with a piece performed by the whole ensemble then, one by one, they displayed their individual abilities. Together with the professional jazz drummers Sergey Krasnyansky, Vagif Aliyev, Ramin Sultanov young players Eyvaz Hashimov and Elvin Bashirov also demonstrated their talent.
Master nagara players Jamal Dadashov and Taleh Gafarov surprised and delighted the audience, playing Latin American music with great style on their Azeri national instruments.
But I’d like to draw particular attention to the nagara playing of Natig Shirinov, an innovatory and experimental player who is always searching for a new sound and rhythm. He also played a key role in the organisation of the Festival. He is a musician with excellent technique and has toured many countries with his ensemble. He recently represented Azerbaijan abroad with his successful participation in a drum festival in Taiwan.
Let’s return to the festival in the jazz centre. On the stage amateurs played with the professionals, one of them was Bahram Khalilov, artist by profession but also an excellent percussionist. The drummers were accompanied on keyboards by Salman Gambarov and Emil Ibrahim and by Ruslan Huseynov on bass guitar. Their rhythmic support helped the drummers show their best.
Jazz pianist Salman Gambarov’s role also deserves attention. He is a musician distinguished by his intellectual approach and high professionalism in his composition and improvisation; every event featuring Gambarov provokes the interest of its audience.
And what about the initiator of the festival, Tofig Jabbarov? This extraordinary musician applies equal talent to drums and percussion. He has performed in his time with Gaya and with Rafig Babayev’s group; he has rich experience and very wide knowledge. By nature full of energy, Tofig Jabbarov makes great demands on himself, continually looking to progress. The stimulus for organising this festival was his interest in experimentation and musical syntheses.
This festival proved to be an exciting combination of drummers from very different fields of music.



A concert by jazz pianist Emil Ibrahim took place in the Baku Music Academy on 16th December 2004. The individual and attractive technique of this distinctive talent stimulates the interest of jazz audiences and the faultless improvisational development in his playing ensures his popularity. Ibrahim has a special affinity for the particular expression and temperament of Latin American music and his main interest is in the 'bebop' and 'post-bop' music of modern or contemporary jazz. Continually researching and experimenting, Emil is not afraid of frequent changes to his musical direction. His broad general knowledge of music and his desire to continue learning makes him demanding of himself and his colleagues.
Playing with Emil in the concert were Ruslan Huseynov (double bass), Tofiq Jabbarov (percussion) and two guest musicians: Rain Sultanov (saxophone) and Alexander Mashin (drums).
I would like to give a little more information about Emil’s fellow musicians. We know Ruslan Huseynov to be an excellent exponent of both bass guitar and double-bass playing, but he is also constantly striving to develop his ability in the different facets of jazz. Much has already been said about percussionist Tofiq Jabbarov; in short he is the best musician in his chosen field, there is no one to compare with him in Azerbaijan. Saxophonist Rain Sultanov is both talented musician and composer; he played on one of Emil’s compositions and his individual style gave a special colour to the piece. Finally, some information about a musician who lives and plays in Moscow and who was specially invited to Emil’s concert. Alexander Mashin plays in Moscow with musicians such as Igor Butman, Vagif Sadikhov and others; he was also in Baku two years ago and played in Baku Jazz Centre with Vagif Sadikhov. In Moscow he is also in demand as a session drummer. He was invited to Baku to play on the recording of Emil Ibrahim’s CD, which has now been successfully completed. It should be noted that on this recording the instrumental sound quality is of a very high level, it is a pity that the acoustics in the Music Academy’s hall produced sound and recordings of a lower quality.
Seven of the ten pieces played in the concert were Emil Ibrahim’s own compositions. Two were standards by Thelonius Monk and Miles Davis and there was a folk song, "Qubanin Ag Almasi". In this improvisation the musicians combined elements of mugham, Latin American and jazz music. Apart from the problems with sound balance, the concert was a success and it is to be hoped that the release of the CD will compensate for the sound problem.



On 29th December 2004, "Footprints: The Life and Work of Wayne Shorter", a biography of the jazz saxophonist and carrying the same title as his album, was published. The author is American journalist Michelle Mercer.

Well known jazz bass-player, band leader and composer Dave Holland received a diploma in 2005 from one of the oldest music schools, the ‘New England Conservatory’. From 7th to 10th February Holland gave lectures and master classes to students and played his own compositions.

Young British jazz composer and pianist Matthew Bourne has picked up an "International Jazz Award" for the fourth time, presented by the ‘International Jazz Festivals’ organisation. It was presented at the ‘International Association for Jazz Education’ conference, between 5th and 8th January 2005 in Long Beach, California USA. Barn - a versatile musician - works successfully within the jazz mainstream as well as in avant-garde jazz and drum ‘n’ bass genres. He writes for saxophone, guitar, piano and percussion among other instruments. Barn performs as a soloist and also with his own trio: double bassist Dave Kane and percussionist Steve Davis. It is interesting to note that Barn did not have a special musical education. He learned piano in 1993 and within only 10 years was receiving prestigious awards. In 2001, "Perrier Jazz Musician of the Year" award, in 2002 an award for innovation at the BBC Radio "Jazz Awards".

The 'Pat Metheny Group' released its twelfth album, 'The Way Up' on January 24th. This album was a first for the group: it features a sixty-eight minute composition by Metheny and long-time collaborator Lyle Mays. The musician says, "This project is the peak of our work as an ensemble. It has taken all our work to a completely new level." The concert tour which began immediately following the album's release was an appropriate celebration of Pat Metheny's industrious thirty-year recording career. Formed in 1977, the 'Pat Metheny Group' achieved a unique record when seven consecutive albums received 'Grammy' awards.

Legendary jazz musician, "King of Swing" and leader of a famous jazz band Artie Shaw, died aged 94 on 30th December at his home in Newbury Park near Los Angeles. He was at the peak of his popularity in the 1930s and 1940s; his death signified the end of the Big Band era. He received the accolade "King of Swing" upon the release of his 1938 album, 'Begin the Beguine'. He lived the last years of his life in California still composing and arranging music. In 2002 an album of previously unreleased music, 'Self Portrait', was issued.

The performance of the "Savab" group became a real Azeri jazz triumphal in Turkey. This concert took part in the "Reshit Rey" concert hall on the 31st of January and was organized by the Premier Ltd Company. The "Savab" quartet, featured by Jamil Amirov (keyboards), Shirzad Fataliyev (zurna, tutek and balaban), Emil Gasanov (bass) and Iskender Aleskerov (drums) performed a huge program formed mostly by their own compositions. Also they had played two pieces by Fikrat Amirov - "Gey Gel" and "Lay-lay".

On 19th February 2005, Shahin Novrasli played a concert in the hall of the Moscow International House to a packed house, receiving a standing ovation and being called back for several encores. The concert programme, called "Jazz Mugham" contained improvisations combining both genres. Jazz aficionados were quick to appreciate Shahin's own compositions as well as his jazz interpretation of traditional melodies; he also played jazz standards and improvisations on the themes of "Bayati Shiraz". Also playing were Muscovite drummer Alexander Mashin and New Yorker bassist Nathan Peck. Shahin summed up, "This was one of my best performances and perhaps the one which carried the most responsibility; no one had represented the tradition of mugham through jazz in Moscow since Vagif Mustafazadeh".

Bassist, composer and teacher Steve Clarke is working on a new project. His new CD contains funky groove, jazz improvisations and well-loved melodies. There are a number of Clarke's compositions on the disc which features work by guitarists Dave Danna and Tim Mallory, keyboards Chris Coogan and percussionist Chris Stanley.

Gilles Peterson's ‘Worldwide’ radio show conducted a listener survey to find the best recording company. Nearly 25,000 responses resulted in acclaim for ‘Ubiquity Records’ of California.

The ‘Earth Sounds Records’ label has released its fourth album, ‘Snake Charmer’ by guitarist and sitar player Rez Abbasi. Also working on the CD were soprano saxophonist Dave Liebman, organist Gary Versace, drummer and tabla player Danny Weiss and vocalist and tanpur player Kiran Ahluwalia. The music is a mixture of early period jazz-rock and Indian classical music.

Actor Jamie Fox was awarded the prestigious Best Actor ‘Golden Globe’ for his portrayal of legendary musician Ray Charles in the film biography ‘Ray’.

One of the greatest guitarists of our time, John McLaughlin, played with his group ‘Remember Shakti’ at the “LG Arts Centre” in Seoul in February. Beginning his career as a solo artist he later turned to more intensive genres like jazz and rock fusion. After some time he organised the group ‘Shakti’ which brought together improvisations in Indian and Jazz music, developing connections between East and West. McLaughlin worked with famous musicians and groups such us: ‘Lifetime’, Wayne Shorter, Miles Davis, Carlos Santana and Chick Corea. This time he is accompanied by Zakir Hussain, tabla player, percussionist V. Selvaganesh (son of original member of ‘Shakti’ Vikku Vinayakaram), mandolin player U. Shrinivas and vocalist Shankar Mahadevan.

BBC 4 is broadcasting a new three-part series called "Jazz Britannia", covering the history of jazz in Britain.

On 22nd January composer Consuelo Velasquez died in hospital in Mexico. Velasquez was one of the most melodious composers of the 20th century. The world-wide hit "Besame Mucho" was written in 1941 when he was just 16 years old. In its time the song was sung by the Beatles, opera singers Placido Domingo and Jose Carrerras, American jazz stars Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.