On April 30, with the support of the National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO and the US Embassy in Azerbaijan a gala concert was held on the occasion of the International Jazz Day at the International Mugham Center in Baku.
Before the concert, Ambassador-at- Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Secretary- General of the National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO, Elnur Sultanov spoke on the rich and historical traditions of jazz music in our country. He noted that this musical art has gained popularity in our country since the 30s of the last century. Later, jazz music successfully developed its own way and laid the foundations for unique Azerbaijani jazz. In the former USSR Baku was considered as one of the most advanced jazz centers and after the restoration of the country’s independence, passion and interest for this music increased in Azerbaijan. Today jazz music is one of the most listened and popular genre in our country. The role of jazz in the development of intercultural exchange in the world and at the same time the promotion of tolerance is great. "I want to note with pride that our country has been making a significant contribution to the promotion of intercultural dialogue, multiculturalism, tolerance and cultural diversity, including through jazz music. Azerbaijan is one of the most exemplary and unique places in this area, said Elnur Sultanov.
It was noted that UNESCO has established 30 April as the International Jazz Day in 2011, and since that date a number of cities have hosted the event. Azerbaijan has been an active member of UNESCO for more than 25 years and our country plays an exceptional role in promoting the values of this organization. Azerbaijan's First Vice President, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva has an outstanding services in the development of close relations between Azerbaijan and UNESCO. As a result of Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva's care and attention to Azerbaijani music, jazz music in our country goes through a new development stage, and our musicians successfully participate in various international jazz competitions.
Elnur Sultanov said: “As the National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO, we are pleased to partner on the occasion of International Jazz Day on April 30 for the first time and are ready to cooperate in this direction in the future. I am sure that the magnificent Jazz Day will continue in the future and as a result of joint efforts Azerbaijan will attain new achievements. Later, souvenir with the logo of National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO coined on it was presented to the head of the Baku Jazz Festival, Leyla Efendiyeva.
Leyla Efendiyeva said that jazz has a big history in Azerbaijan. Jazz bands functioned in our country under the leadership of Tofig Guliyev, Niyazi and Tofig Ahmadov. In the world of jazz music Azerbaijan became famous for the names of Vagif Mustafazadeh and Rafig Babayev.
Chargé d'affaires of the US Embassy in Azerbaijan, William Gill said that celebrating the International Jazz Day in Baku once again confirms that music has no borders. Jazz has grown worldwide and has a universal character based on different cultures and its civilian styles. "I think that Azerbaijan, which is distinguished by its multicultural history, has mastered the genre of jazz and, to some extent, personalized it. The recognition of Azerbaijan's jazz musicians in the world is commendable”, said William Gill.
Then the gala concert started. At the concert, the well-known U.S. jazz band Kennedy Administration group and Azerbaijani jazz performers performed classical and contemporary jazz samples.