All this jazz ... in honor of Vagif Mustafazade

By Vestnik Kavkaza
All this jazz ... in honor of Vagif Mustafazade

A concert dedicated to the birthday of Azerbaijani jazz legend Vagif Mustafazade was held at Igor Butman Club at Taganka. On March 16, he would have turned 79 years old. His career and life ended abruptly, but Vagif managed to become a real legend not only in the Azerbaijan SSR and in the whole Soviet Union, but also far beyond its borders. Mustafazade is a significant figure in the history of Soviet jazz. He was the first jazzman to be awarded the title of Honored Artist. The winner of many national and All-Union competitions, he created several musical teams with which he successfully performed on tour. Vagif Mustafazade became the creator of a unique jazz direction - Azerbaijani jazz-mugham, he also composed both symphonic and chamber music.

Saxophonist Igor Butman shared his memories of Vagif Mustafazade with Vestnik Kavkaza: "He had a wonderful sense of humor, a great knowledge of jazz and traditions. He was original in his Azerbaijani mugham performances. He intertwined everything so naturally, I was always thrilled to bits. Of course, we will always remember Vagif, always think about what a great musician he was and what jazz talents lived in the Soviet Union."

The jazz festival was organized by the Azerbaijani Embassy in Russia, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Culture and the House Museum of Vagif Mustafazade.

"Despite the fact that his career, his life was interrupted 40 years ago, back in the days when we all lived in the Soviet Union, a rather closed country, he managed to gain recognition on a global scale. Suffice to say that [American jazz producer and broadcaster on the Voice of America] Willis Conover, after Vagif passed away, dedicated a one-hour programme to him. He said that he was one of the most technically and at the same time lyrical musicians and pianists he had ever heard," the cultural and tourism attaché of the Azerbaijani Embassy in Russia, Nigar Akhundova, told Vestnik Kavkaza.

"Vagif was a very kind man. Musicians gathered at his mom's house. She set the table, fed all the guests, get them tea. Ziver Khanum mage awesome huge qutab. Until they eat, until they sit in the kitchen, Vagif didn't let any of the musicians go," the director of the House-Museum of Vagif Mustafazade, cousin of the musician Afag Aliyeva told Vestnik Kavkaza.

"It is not my first performance at the evening dedicated to Vagif Mustafazade. Whenever possible, I attend these concerts with great pleasure, playing Vagif music, maybe some works of my own. It is always a great pleasure for me," pianist and composer Isfar Sarabski told Vestnik Kavkaza.