JAZZ IN CHURCH - RAIN SULTANOV & HIS FRIENDS
AT JAZZ PA KAMPEN
East and West, fiery expression and a cooling gust of musical winds - this is what the outstanding Azerbaijani saxophonist Rain Sultanov proposes to unite. Rain is already famous with his original projects such as saxophone with organ music, world jazz with classical music and all of them have become memorable.
Rain Sultanov’s idea to unite his favorite musicians from Norway, Sweden, and Azerbaijan in the project “Jazz in Church”.
The best jazz musicians will gather around him in various Churches to show the highest level of music and for the audience to discover new forms of music.
THE MUSIC PLAYED WITH A DEEP FEELING. I ENJOYED IT VERY MUCH.
STAY AS YOU ARE. YOU ARE GREAT MUSICIAN MY FRIEND.
BEST WISHES AND GREATINGS
- JOE ZAWINUL -
"A MUSIC THAT SOUNDS CLEAR, LONGING AND IMAGINATIVE."
- JAZZTHING -
I AM VERY HAPPY THAT WE ARE PLANNING A RELEASE OF AN ARTIST FROM YOUR COUNTRY THAT I LIKE VERY MUCH,
HIS MUSIC HAS MUCH HEART AND SOUL:
RAIN SULTANOV IS A GREAT SAXOPHONE PLAYER AND COMPOSER, WITH HIS MUSIC HE HAS A LOT TO SAY.
- DAGOBERT BÖHM - OZELLA MUSIC
TODAY I LISTENED AGAIN TO “SEVEN SOUNDS” (INSPIRED BY NATURE), WHICH REALLY REMINDS ME TO JAN GARBAREK’S OFFERINGS
IN THE OLD DAYS, “SART” FOR INSTANCE – INCLUDING THE SOUND CONCEPTION WE DEVELOPED AT THAT TIME TOGETHER.
THE QUALITY OF MUSICIANSHIP, INTERACTION AND PARLANDO IS AT TIMES ON A GOOD AND INSPIRED LEVEL.
- MANFRED EICHER - ECM
VINYL / CD
BY OZELLA MUSIC
Rain Sultanov mans jazz's Azerbaijan outpost, running the Baku Jazz Festival and writing a history of the music in the former Soviet republic. This tribute to influences including Coltrane, Miles and Kenny Wheeler doesn't mimic them. Instead, his tone most resembles another saxophonist who distilled Coltrane's early heat into cool restraint, Jan Garbarek.
Recorded at the late Jan Erik Kongshaus's Rainbow studio, its trademark, ECM-defining resonance also helps put us in Nordic dreamtime. These seven ballads are all elegies to experience, with Sultanov's balmy melancholy and introspective flights sometimes shooting off fierier plumes, but otherwise ruminative, as he seeks the spiritual in heart-slowing calm.
Rainbow's fabled, fine-tuned piano gives fellow Azerbaijani Isfar Sarabski a sometimes glassily precise sound, as he traces delicate runs through ‘My John C.’, and adds an unhurried pulse to the measured lyricism and slow-burning warmth of ‘Behind the Sky’. Such unfolding melodies are the invitation into this deeply personal evocation of a high mainstream. Intensity is implicit, excitement elsewhere, feeling left glowing on some higher plain. It's an old-fashioned, lucid love letter to music which surely found its way to Soviet Azerbaijan like a message in a bottle, replied to with life-long commitment.
„Influence“ ist eine Geisterbeschwörung der besonderen Art. Die sieben Stücke hat der aserbaidschanische Sopransaxofonist Rain Sultanov sieben längst verstorbenen Jazzmusikern gewidmet, die ihn bei seiner Entwicklung vorangebracht haben – von John Coltrane bis Miles Davis, von Joe Zawinul bis Kenny Wheeler.
Das Rainbow Studio in Oslo war bereits gebucht, als Sultanov merkte, dass er erst drei Stücke geschrieben hatte, die restlichen entstanden auf dem Weg dahin. Mit seinem Landsmann, dem Pianisten Isfar Sarabski, und dem schwedischen Bassisten Nils Ölmedal ergeht sich Sultanov in berührenden Balladen, die vielleicht mehr über ihn verraten als über die Jazzgiganten, denen die Songs gewidmet sind – so ist zum Beispiel das Dexter Gordon zugedachte „Solaris“ von einer zerbrechlichen Sanftheit. „Ich habe nicht versucht, Musik zu spielen, die ihnen ähnlich ist“, sagt Sultanov.
„Ich habe einfach jede meiner Kompositionen zu Ehren eines meiner Idole benannt.“
VINYL / CD
BY OZELLA MUSIC
The church organ has been a bit player in jazz history, impacting about as much as an Alfred Hitchcock cameo—blink and you'd miss it. Jan Garbarek and Kjell Johnsen's meditative duo album Aftenland (ECM, 2000) and a trio of gothic jazz recordings by Asaf Sirkis and the Inner Noise spring to mind, but after that you'd really have to dig. Cycle sees Azerbaijan's leading jazz musicians, soprano saxophonist Rain Sultanov and pianist/organist Isfar Sarabski embrace the solemnity of church organ in intimate dialogues that, without a doubt, owe a debt to Garbarek and Johnsen's aforementioned collaboration.
Recorded in the Gothic Church of the Redeemer in Baku, shares some of the aching lyricism of Inspired By Nature (Ozella Music, 2017) though none of that record's free-jazz flights. Unlike Garbarek, who toggled between soprano, tenor and wooden flute on Aftenland, Sultanov sticks resolutely to the soprano throughout, with the result that the color variations on these nine tracks are emotional rather than tonal or textural in nature. Sarabski, for the most part, uses the organ as an accompanying tool, underpinning Sultanov's measured solos and providing chordal and drone-like counterpoint to his own crystalline piano playing. Sarabski's organ solo on the haunting lullaby "Embryo" stands out as a rare improvisational foray on the instrument.
The quasi-sacred ambiance instilled by Sarabski contrasts with the humanity in Sultanov's playing; there's an undeniable warmth in the longing, lamentation and sombre meditation that his soprano variously evokes. Sarabski's piano interventions offer another dynamic; the gossamer lyricism of his solos, notably on "Planet" "Tandem" and Symbiosis" largely mirroring Sultanov's own emotional contours. All the while, Sarabski's left hand works the organ, and in general, the arrangements vary little from one track to the next.
The exception to the prevailing format comes with the prayer-like "Orison," where the organ sits out as soprano and piano gently dovetail. Medina Sultanova's wordless singing on this composition adds a subtle, ethereal quality, her voice entwined almost as one with that of the soprano saxophone. It would have been simple enough for Sultanov and Sarabski to splash more such colors about—a tenor or baritone saxophone here, a blues configuration there, some rustling percussion—but then the music would have been something entirely different, less conceptual, perhaps. Less meditative, almost certainly.
There's a boldness in the simplicity of Sultanov and Sarabski's proposal that's admirable in itself. The understated elegance of their dialogues may prove too low-key for some tastes, but Sultanov's gentle keening and Sarabski's lulling, church organ pulses will wash over others like a welcome balm in these frenetic, conflictive times.
INSPIRED BY NATURE
VINYL / CD
BY OZELLA MUSIC
An uncanny mix of folk with original music permeates Rain Sultanov's Inspired By Nature (Ozella 68; 57:01)
Sultanov's sometimes haunting, sometimes fiery soprano and tenor playing can recall Jan Garbarek.
Garbarek's shadow looms but is otherwise forgotten as Sultanov, an Azerbaijan native, walks his mates through a tribute to his home country's landscapes.
The music is in turns solemn ("The White Birds of Qizilagac") swinging ("Up Lahij Mountains") and deeply melodic ("On The Trail Of Shirvan's Gazelles"). Major alternate voice/pianist Shahin Novrasli, celist/vocalist Linnea Olsson, bassist Yasuhito Mori, oudist Yasef Eyvazov, drummer Peter Nilsson and udu/percussionist Irakli Koiava all deserve mention as integral members of this imaginative group expression.