In 2004, the magazine Jazz Dunyasi was founded. The idea came about, I believe, because at that time, we felt the need to make such a magazine available. It was founded thanks to the active work of Rain Sultanov at the Baku Jazz Centre. The purpose was to cover the events mainly taking place at the centre, which then experienced another birth.
Later we realised that we needed to talk more about the concerts, bands, new names that appeared on the scene and albums being recorded. I truly wanted our youth to learn about the history associated with jazz in Baku, which dates back to the 1930s. It is indeed unfortunate that to this day, many in Baku do not know much about any jazz musician except Vagif Mustafazadeh. I remember one of our first issues with an article about Parviz Rustambeyov, a victim of the Stalinist purge. It caused some strong reaction and many readers said in astonishment that they had never heard anything like it.
In other words, we started working on shedding light on the history of jazz in Azerbaijan and ended up showing also the dynamics of developments in contemporary jazz both here and on a global scale.
A variety of festivals had been held in the Soviet era, followed later by the Caspian Jazz & Blues, but it was not until 2005 that the annual Baku Jazz Festival started. The magazine then began looking forward to interesting work.
We used every opportunity to get vivid interviews with musicians who came to Baku, including Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau, Bobo Stenson, Rachelle Farrell, Maria Joao, and many others. We issued exclusive material and the magazine's rating grew rapidly. Very soon we were mentioned in the United States and then in Europe and beyond. I remember Zawinul's musicians looking through a copy of the magazine and exclaiming: "Wow! You have your own magazine!" Later I would often hear these words then from other people. This is the case because we have been and remain to this day the first magazine about jazz in the post-Soviet realm. Unfortunately the Belarusian magazine could not linger for long, but another glossy magazine pioneered in Moscow soon after us.
Almost every Jazz Dunyasi issue has a critical section. I simply think as to who except us must raise the existing problems in jazz? We criticized boring jazz programs on television, poorly organised festivals, concerts, memorial evenings, and mentioned problems of modern bands. I remember how the band of the Heydar Aliyev Palace, well respected by me, was offended by my article about Soviet-style run-throughs and for my criticism of sound and light. Now we have another, better picture, but problems always exist.
Therefore, our criticism resulted in a small humorous annex to Jazz Dunyasi, an almanac called Jolly Jazz. It happened naturally. Comic books are very well accepted and never malicious, but there is something to think about, to see oneself through the eyes of others. Jazz Dunyasi is also read by officials. We were able to get them to hear us out and even to cooperate. We became the intermediaries between musicians and their problems and the people who can solve them.
I have always admired turning the pages of the American magazine Jazz Times. I have always wanted to get closer in terms of publication and content to that magazine. It served as a beacon for Jazz Dunyasi, and at some point I realised that we had turned from our path and discovered a completely different one. It was the right one, as today the portal features the link to our website among the world's best jazz magazines, where is it now firmly placed.
Thank you for being with us, all those whom this magazine is published for and who consider spiritual values important in this busy world..
Do read about jazz and do listen to jazz, as is it the music of Liberty!
Editor in chief