Jazz in Azerbaijan
November 10, 2009 4:53 PM   Subscribe

Jazz in Azerbaijan

Before the turn of the 19th century, Baku Azerbaijan was already known for its oil. Europeans gravitated to this city on the shores of the Caspian, and together with local entrepreneurs, they succeeded in producing more than 51 percent of the world's supply of oil.

At about the same time, America was giving birth to a new musical form-jazz. This mesmerizing new sound which originated in the restaurants and back alleys of New Orleans and Chicago drew upon many different cultural traditions, including African rhythms, Asian improvisations and abstract thinking, European classical music and even symbols borrowed from Native American tribes.

Soon afterward, this new musical synthesis found its way to other cities all over the world, including Baku. Newspaper archives indicate that bands were performing jazz in Baku restaurants. It's very possible that Robert Nobel and his brothers, Ludwig and Alfred, listened to jazz in Baku.
posted by netbros (13 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
My apologies. Make that 20th century.
posted by netbros at 4:57 PM on November 10, 2009

What a super cool post. Love this music, did not know it existed before reading the post and tracking its links.
posted by bearwife at 5:04 PM on November 10, 2009

This is a seriously quirky story.
posted by bigbluepig at 5:10 PM on November 10, 2009

This is a brilliant resource, and some utterly fantastic music. I now see where virtually all of the inspiration for Farmers Market's album Surfin' USSR comes from. To hell and Baku!
posted by Dysk at 5:39 PM on November 10, 2009

wow, it sounds great! Thanks for this post.
I'm having trouble playing the radio though. Does anyone have any hints on why this might be? Im on a Mac, 10.4.
posted by dhruva at 6:08 PM on November 10, 2009

Ah never mind, the stream apparently only works with Windows Media Player 9.
posted by dhruva at 6:16 PM on November 10, 2009

Awesome post.
posted by mediareport at 7:01 PM on November 10, 2009

Ah Jazzerbaijan.

Next to Tatumestan?

Cool post.
posted by sien at 7:05 PM on November 10, 2009

Azerbaijan Hammer.
Afghanistan Getz.
Hungary Bartz.

OK, I got nuthin...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:05 PM on November 10, 2009

This is a seriously quirky story.

All due respect, there's really nothing quirky about it at all. Via records and film, American popular music (including jazz) spread throughout the world very quickly, rapidly finding its way into local music cultures all around the globe. China* and Japan**, for example, were both very eager consumers of early jazz, and musicians in those countries very quickly absorbed the style and made it something of their own.

*"In 1935, Du Yu Sheng, the notorious overlord of Shanghai's ominous "Green Gang" ordered into creation the first all-Chinese jazz group, called "The Clear Wind Dance Band", to perform at the Yangtze River Hotel Dance Hall. Critics called this music ‘pornographic,’ but the band played on just the same."

**"The "Americanness" and mass appeal of early jazz as dance music gave reason for concern among the conservative Japanese elite, and in 1927 Osaka municipal officials issued ordinances that forced the dance halls to close. A large number of young musicians switched to the jazz scene in Tokyo, where some found employment in the house jazz orchestras of the major recording companies.[4] In the 1930s, popular song composers Ryoichi Hattori and Koichi Sugii tried to overcome jazz music’s controversial qualities by creating a distinctively Japanese kind of jazz music.

posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:20 PM on November 10, 2009 [4 favorites]

Yes! The Jazz scene in Baku is vibrant, but too little of it is on the web...
For starters, here's a young Azeri jazz singer - Ulviyya Rahimova who I could only find on YouTube in this improv with the Georgian, Nino Katamadze.
posted by ruelle at 1:37 AM on November 11, 2009

Terrific post—two equally interesting, clearly related links, well presented—my hat is off! (And Baku was in fact known for its oil before the turn of the 19th century, so no need to apologize, though the author of the article may have meant the 20th.)
posted by languagehat at 6:22 AM on November 11, 2009

I just wanted to note that uttering the phrase "Azerbaijani bebop" is both a sort of performance and also the source of sheer pleasure. Also: great post.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:34 AM on November 11, 2009

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