[Music] Various Artists – SƏS: Azeri Music for Krot Zine

Yet another entertaining and utterly essential compilation of music from the Caucasus has been released by my favorite ethnic music label currently active, Ored Recordings.  Many thanks to Bulat Khalilov for his brilliant work in digging up these gems which would otherwise be lost to history.  Azerbaijan is a country with stellar traditions in music and storytelling, and it is my hope that Ored can continue to bring artists like this to the fore.

[Video] Sevil – Sevil (1971, Azerbaijan, USSR)

Outside of Vagif Mustafa-Zade, who has been featured here before on this blog, there’s not a lot of information on music from Azerbaijan. Sevil is a band who played a type of jazz-funk which was popular throughout the Soviet Bloc. Really solid music.

If any of my friends from the region could point me to some biographical data about the band, I’d be most thankful.

[Video] Vagif Mustafa Zadeh – Jazz Compositions

Those who know me well, say, for at least 15 years, know that I have tried throughout my life to be a champion for Soviet Jazz. They had something exquisite that the world didn’t have full access to until the end of Communism. One of these treasures hailed from Azerbaijan.

With the passing of B. B. King a few days ago, I was reminded of a story when the legendary blues guitarist came to the Soviet Union to watch a jazz festival. After seeing Vagif Mustafa Zade play, he named the stunned pianist as the ‘true king of the blues’. Vagif would die at age 35 in 1979, suffering a heart attack while performing onstage at a concert in Uzbekistan.

May his memory be eternal.

Many thanks to Funked Up East for their incredible selection of Soviet music.

[Video] Мурад Кажлаев (Murad Kazhlaev) ‎- Крутые Повороты (Sharp Turns)

Before Dagestan, in southern Russia, became a worthless subsidiary for radical Islamists, it was producing some rather amazing musicians and composers of note. Murad Kazhlaev (sometimes transliterated as Murad Kajlayev) hailed originally from Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, from a Lak family. He moved on to Dagestan, and would work with the Melodiya Records Orchestra, churning out great jazz like this.

If anyone from Dagestan could give me information on more interesting artists, I’d be indebted.