International Jazz festival, Baku
The Baku International Jazz Festival, one of the most anticipated cultural events of the year, has begun in the capital of Azerbaijan.
The festival has been held annually since 2005, and will take place this year from 20 to 28 October. It will host musicians from many countries, including Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Israel and France.
Many events have been scheduled including an international contest of young performers called ‘I am Jazzman!’, ‘days of Azerbaijani jazz’, a children’s jazz concert, art exhibitions and master classes.
This year the festival was opened with a concert held by Guinean musician Sekou Kouyate, nicknamed ‘the African Jimi Hendrix’. Kouyate is a virtuoso on the kora, an African musical instrument with 21 strings.
Azerbaijani jazz is a kind of ethno-jazz, based on a fusion of traditional New Orleans jazz and oriental mugham influences (mugham being Azerbaijani folk music). The style was popularised by pianist and composer Vagif Mustafazade and his daughter Aziz.
Azerbaijani jazz performers have participated in and won many international jazz festivals and competitions.