Delight and applause: Baku marks International Jazz Day (PHOTO)
Baku, Azerbaijan, May 1
By Jani Babayeva – Trend:
Baku has marked the International Jazz Day with an amazing concert program.
The International Mugham Center was the venue of the unique concert, where famous Azerbaijani and American musicians performed on one stage. Real fans of jazz attended the concert.
The event, dedicated to the International Jazz Day, was held by the Organizing Committee of the Baku International Jazz Festival and supported by Azerbaijan’s National Commission for UNESCO and the US Embassy in Azerbaijan.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the event, Ambassador-at-Large, Secretary General of Azerbaijan’s National Commission for UNESCO Elnur Sultanov stressed that Azerbaijan has long and rich jazz traditions.
"This kind of musical art has been gaining popularity in Azerbaijan since 1930s. Jazz continued to develop successfully and foundations were laid for the unique Azerbaijani jazz. Today, jazz is one of the most popular types of musical art. Azerbaijani jazz performers with great success take part in various international contests and jazz festivals," Sultanov said.
The International Jazz Day was established by UNESCO in 2011 and is marked worldwide on April 30.
Sultanov also handed a keepsake with the engraved logo of Azerbaijan’s National Commission for UNESCO to the Director of the Baku International Jazz Festival Leyla Afandiyeva.
In her speech, Afandiyeva stressed that Azerbaijani jazz has a rich history.
"There were jazz bands led by Niyazi, Tofig Guliyev, Tofig Ahmadov in the country. The Azerbaijani jazz music is associated with the names of such famous musicians as Rafig Babayev and Vagif Mustafazade," she said.
Charge d’Affairs of the US Embassy in Azerbaijan William Gill also delivered speech and expressed gratitude to the organizers of the event.
“It is such a pleasure to be here with all of you tonight, and I would like to express my deep appreciation to the International Jazz Day organizers for bringing us together to enjoy the wonderful performances ahead and celebrate the unique art form called jazz,” Gill said.
“Some of you, like myself, are longtime jazz fans,” he noted. “Some of you are curious to learn more about jazz. And some of you just never miss a chance to enjoy a great party. Here in Baku, several thousand miles from jazz’s birthplace, tonight is a great reminder that jazz has no borders.”
“Although jazz was born out of the American experience over a hundred years ago, it proved its universal character as it spread around the world, drawing on many different cultures and music styles. Fundamentally, jazz is about the human experience.”
“What do I mean by that? Simply that it allows us to transform even the worst situations and challenges into something beautiful and enduring in a way that is all at once inclusive, improvisational, and freeing. Each of us can recognize and respond to those aspects of the music,” he added.
“I suspect this is part of the reason, along with a rich multicultural history, why Azerbaijanis embraced jazz so warmly and made the music all their own,” Gill said. “A lucky thing for us since Azerbaijani jazz artists are recognized the world over for their musicianship.”
“Tonight, though, we’re going to have a chance to hear one of the finest examples of contemporary American jazz,” he said. “Now, I could tell you how great they are but I think your ears will give you all the proof you need: ladies and gentlemen, the Kennedy Administration!”
The Azerbaijani well-known and young musicians, as well as American band Kennedy Administration also performed at the event.
Trend.az, Day.az, Milli.az and Azernews provided media support to the event.