TEAS jazz reception attracts an appreciative LibDem audience

Baku, October 8 (AZERTAC). On 5 October, the spirited music of Azerbaijani violinist Sabina Rakcheyeva and the multinational Deco Ensemble entranced around 200 extremely attentive members of the party faithful attending this year’s Liberal Democrat conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow. Sabina was the first Azerbaijani graduate from the Juilliard School in New York and is the Arts and Culture Advisor to The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS). The talented musicians performed a vibrant mix of tangos and Azerbaijani compositions.

Lord German, UK Chair of the Anglo-Azerbaijani Society and a staunch music aficionado, compered the evening. He said: “I am so grateful for the opportunity for us to have this music at the Liberal Democrat conference. We are thankful to TEAS for sponsoring this event. Tonight’s concert is a labour of love for me – this is fabulous music performed by excellent musicians. When listening to Azerbaijani jazz, it is possible to hear all the Western influences combined with Azerbaijani mugham.”

Lionel Zetter, Director, TEAS, recalled: “Azerbaijan was the first Muslim country to have opera, a university, and gave votes to women before the US and the UK. It was very progressive before being forcefully annexed by the Soviet Union in 1920. Mugham is the main form of traditional music in Azerbaijan, which features a high degree of improvisation, and has some similarities to jazz. Tonight’s concert is an excellent way of encapsulating the culture of the country.”

The evening focused on the romantic and rhythmic music of the Argentine bandoneon player and composer Astor Piazzolla (1921–92). After studying in Paris, he developed a genre known as nuevo tango, which combined the tango music of his homeland with elements of jazz and classical music. The programme included some of his most famous works, such as Oblivion, Escualo (Shark), and the rhythmic Libertango. It also included one of his earliest works, Triunfal, which was written after studying composition in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and paved the way for his future success.

The programme featured a plaintive violin-led arrangement of March, by Vagif Mustafazadeh, who played a major role in developing jazz-mugham in Soviet-period Azerbaijan in the 1960s. It also included an evocative arrangement by guitarist Rob Luft of the melancholic Azerbaijani folk song Sari Gelin (Blonde Bride).

The Deco Ensemble comprises Bartosz Glowacki (accordion), Rob Luft (guitar), Sabina Rakcheyeva (violin), Ricardo Gosalbo (piano), and Elena Marigomez (double bass).

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