When it comes to Azerbaijani jazz, one legendary name pops in mind: Vagif Mustafazadeh.
Great and outstanding composer and musician, Vagif Mustafazadeh is the voice of Azerbaijani mugham reflected in jazz. There is much in common between the ancient mugham and modern jazz as discovered by Mustafazadeh: both are forever mysterious and marvelous, and both are capable of appealing to the human soul by stirring the deepest emotions and sentiments.
Jazz music formed the core of Mustafazadeh's legacy. Throughout years, he wrote numerous jazz compositions, including fugues, preludes, ballads and scherzos, many of them written in the 1970s. He released a total of eight albums, all with different line-ups, mood and style.
Winner of numerous jazz festivals such as "Tallinn-66", "Tallinn-67", Baku festival "Jazz 69", Donetsk 1977 festival, and "Tbilisi-78", Vagif Mustafazadeh always fascinated listeners with his originality and virtuosity. He first used Azerbaijani mugham in jazz and later became the founder of Azerbaijani jazz.
His death on December 16, 1979 was a hard blow to Azerbaijan's music society, but his works live on. A whole generation of young Azerbaijani musicians has followed in his footsteps, among them the composer's eldest daughter, Lala, who is currently working as a pianist at the Paris Conservatoire, and his other daughter, Aziza, who is often referred to in Europe as the princess of oriental jazz.
On the anniversary of the legendary composer's death, Baku Jazz Center hosted an evening dedicated to the memory of the musician. This evening brought together famous musicians, who performed Vagif Mustafazade's works.
Moreover, an Open Day was held in the House-Museum of Mustafazadeh. Opened on July 28, 1989, the memorial house received the status of a branch of the Azerbaijan State Museum of Musical Culture in 1994. The museum contains 1214 exhibits, including photographs, posters, records, various documents, works of art, household items and other things related to the life of the great composer.
Jazz schools around the world have recognized Vagif Mustafazadeh as a phenomenal musician. His works represent a unique combination of eastern and western schools, of tradition and innovation.
Mustafazadeh died 34 year ago, however, his music is still alive, and will be forever...