HOW JAZZ CAME TO BAKU
Even though jazz music traces its origins to the beginning of the twentieth century, it made its way to Azerbaijan rather quickly, and already in the 1930s it was well-received by the elite circles in Baku and appreciated as one of the most interesting music genres. It is widely known that the period ofjazz history referred to as the JazzAge featured New Orleanais jazz, orjazz traditionally played in New Orleansbetween 1900 and 1917, aswell as by musicians from New Orleanswho performed in Chicagoand produced vinyl records from1917 and throughout the '20s. Atthis time, Baku had approximatelyten concert venues, including theNikitin Brothers' Circus of Baku,Taghiyev's Theatre, the Palais deCristal variety theatre, the hall ofthe Grand Hotel and others wheretouring musicians and theatretroupes from Russia and Europe would give performances.
Gramophone records of prominentAmerican jazz musicians, such asArmstrong, Ellington, Fitzgerald,and later Simon, Davis, Coltraneand many others, began being importedfrom Russia, Europe and theAmericas in this period. Thus theNew Orleanais or traditional jazzgradually came to be absorbed intothe music life of Baku.
As early as in 1907, the newspaperKaspi placed an advertisement ofthe Gramophone Joint-Stock Companythat offered readers to purchaseany of the 20,000 records in 70 different languages available instock in Baku.Concerts occurred rarely, but localmusicians tended to purchase andtreasure such records. They werethen played in small musician circles,followed by discussions and attemptsto understand the subtletyof the improvisation, the essenceand the truth behind jazz music.
In 1922, the Soviet Union's first jazzorchestra was founded in Moscow. Its founder, Valentin Parnakh, was apoet, translator, dancer and the atrical figure. The orchestra was officially known as Valentin Parnakh'sFirst Eccentric Jazz Band Orchestrain the RSFSR. On the evening of 20June of the same year, the Chat Savage theatre in Baku hosted the performance of Black Betty, advertised at the time as a 'Negrosketch'. In 1923, readers of the newspaper Вakinsky Rabochy were able tto come across the advertisement ofthe sheet music store of the People's Commissariat of Enligh tenment (education ministry) thatread: "LA-TEST DELIVERIES FROMMOSCOW, BERLIN, PETROGRADAND PARIS! Singing and dancing all through out: Foxtrot, Tango, Two-Step, One-Step, Romance, Operetta and others". In July 1927, Russian singer of Afro-Mexican origin Coretti Arle-Titz gave a successful performance in Baku. She sang as part of the sensation sextet Kings of Jazz by Frank Withers with Sidney Bechet during their tour in the Soviet Union. Songsperformed by Arle-Titz, however,were presented rather as 'African music' and not jazz.Then came the '30s with names that became the driving force of later processes, the development and future flourishing of jazz inAzerbaijan; the figures, who made the history of music, masters of the classical, popular and folk music; those who already at that time knew and understood exactly how jazz in Baku was to be managed.
They were not numerous, but each had their own important task: Gara Garayev, Tofig Guliyev, Niyazi, and Rashid Behbudov. In the '40s, Baku saw its first orchestra jazz, formed through out the 1920 s and 1930 s as a result of synthesising African and Europe an styles of jazz music. It had reached Azerbaijan, but was played underthe cover term of 'popular music', as this was the advent of the Great Century of jazz in Baku and of many difficulties that the musicians faced, such as persecution and repression, for "bowing down to the West".
JAZZ IN AZERBAIJAN BOOK 2CD
Release Date: March 2003
IAN PEART, SAIDA AFANDIYEVA, OLGA GOLUB, TEHRAN VELIYEV
Support: AzEuroTel Telephone Communication, Baku, Azerbaijan
Baku Jazz Center
140x120, 320 page
Efendi publishing House, Baku, Azerbaijan
THE JAZZ HISTORY OF AZERBAIJAN BOOK
LIVES FACTS FESTIVALS
Release Date: April 2015
MARK BROWN, SAIDA AFANDIYEVA, OLGA GOLUB, TEHRAN VELIYEV
Support: Ministry of Culture & Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan
180x180, 328 page
Efendi publishing House, Baku, Azerbaijan