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KING OF JAZZ

Great  musician of the 20th century Vagif Mustafazadeh was born on March 16, 1940 in Baku. Vagif’s name was chosen by the renowned poet, Samed Vurgun, on the request of his mother. When he named this child Vagif, he didn’t know that this little child will become a great representative of Azerbaijani music in the future. Vagif’s mother was a musician, and love to music came from his family. He started to play the piano in his age of three. In 1963 he graduated from Baku State Musical Technical school named after Asef Zeynalli and a year later became a student of  Azerbaijani State Conservatoire.  At that times jazz music was banned in the Soviet society by Stalin. But all this couldn’t destroy little Vagif’s desire. As a child, he used to  listen to jazz on BBC broadcasts and sing Meykhana rhythmic poetry, which had also been banned, with friends.

In 1965 he graduated the conservatoire and went to Tbilisi to lead the “Orero” musical ensemble. Later he created the “Qafqaz” (Azerbaijani for Caucasus) jazz trio at Georgian State Philarmony. After Stalin’s death Vagif began to play jazz compositions in concerts.By the early 1960s, people were finally becoming more comfortable with jazz and Vagif had started to gain a reputation even outside of Azerbaijan as a great jazz musician. In 1966, Willis Conover, conductor of the “Jazz Time” radio program, even went as far as to say, “Vagif Mustafazadeh is an extraordinary pianist. It is impossible to identify his equal. He is the most lyrical pianist I have ever known.”

In 1970 the “Leyli” women’s quartet and in 1971 “Sevil” vocal-instrumental ensemble were assembled by him. Until 1977 he guided the groups.

Between 1977-1979 until his death he led the “Mugham” instrumental ensemble which was also organized by him. Vagif attended “Tallinn-66” All-Soviet Union Jazz Festival and “Caz-69” Azerbaijani jazz festivals and was awarded as laureate there. Mustafazadeh was also elected as laureate at Donetsk All-Soviet Union Jazz Festival held in 1977. He was elected as the best pianist in “Tbilisi-78”. He won the first prize at the 8th International Competition of Jazz Composers for his composition “Waiting for Aziza” in Monaco in 1978 and was awarded with white grand piano.

Vagif Mustafazadeh composed wonderful songs such as “Thoughts”, “March”, “Fantasy”, “Mugham”, “Baku Nights”, “Waiting for Aziza” and etc.

Vagif married Eliza and has a daughter who follows in his footsteps as a pianist and is a famous composer and singer in the jazz-mugam style now residing in Germany, Aziza Mustafa Zadeh.

Before he was married to Eliza, he had been married once before and had a daughter from that union named Lala. Lala Mustafazadeh is now a talented classical pianist. She won the Grand Prize in Epinal Piano Competition, France, in 1991.

Mustafazade died of heart-attack shortly after a concert in Tashkent and also shortly before the birthdays of his wife (December 17) and daughter (December 19).” But the real hero dies in battle. The people assess him though it is late. As the saying goes, better late than never. The people always loved Vagif. Sometimes innovators are not appreciated in time. It is not accidental that my father died on the stage. Throughout the history extraordinarily talented persons were not appreciated unambiguously. Once world-famous Bach, Mozart, Chopin were not appreciated. Such people always suffered. Even that’s why they die suddenly. Despite all this, we should be grateful to the people. Now Vagif Mustafazadeh is not alive, but Azerbaijani people are able to appreciate Vagif Mustafazadeh. It is not accidental that Heydar Aliyev kept his creative activity in the focus of attention and said “Green lights to this handsome fellow from Icherisheher!”.” These were the thoughts of his lovely daughter Aziza.

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