I can’t say that I know much about Bulat Gafarov personally, other than he’s both a fine multi-instrumentalist and a friend on Facebook, but he’s really quite an amazing talent. An ethnic Russia, he’s comfortable with music from India, China and Central Asia, as well as the regional music of places like Tatarstan and Siberia.
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.