Azerbaijani jazz star delights German fans

Press Release: The 22-year-old Isfar Sarabsky, winner of the piano prize at the Montreux International Jazz Festival 2009, has attracted plaudits from jazz aficionados and politicians alike during two concerts in Berlin, organised by the German office of The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS).

On 24 June, in a concert organised in collaboration with JazzRadio Berlin, he performed alongside his regular trio musicians, Makar Novikov (bass) and Alexander Mashin (drums) in the subterranean Asphalt Club before an appreciative audience of listeners to JazzRadio Berlin. Initially, violinist Sabina Rakcheyeva, Member of the European Cultural Parliament and Cultural Advisor, TEAS, explained TEAS’ commitment to raising awareness of Azerbaijan’s unique culture on a pan-European level. Following this, JazzRadio's Michael Fischer introduced the musicians.

The following night, Isfar’s trio played another concert on the roof terrace of Ewerk, in the middle of Berlin’s Government district. The concert, entitled Summer Jazz and Politics, attracted an audience of around two hundred people, including numerous Bundestag members and other dignitaries.

During her introduction, Leslie Nachmann, Presenter, Pro7 TV, and Chief Presenter, JazzRadio, spoke about the long tradition of Azerbaijani jazz and its connection with traditional Azerbaijani mugham music, which similarly features a high level of improvisation. She also announced that she would be presenting a special feature news item for JazzRadio exploring the roots of mugham jazz, and the rich cultural heritage of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

All were captivated by Isfar’s unique fusion of western jazz compositions and jazz-mugham pieces attracting several encores at both concerts.