By Laman Ismayilova
New jazz project Baku Summer Jazz Days, organized by the producer agency Premier Art Management jointly with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, will be presented at the International Mugham Center on June 4-8.
Five concerts with musicians from different countries will be held as part of the project.
Ahead of the exciting music festival, Trend Life presents an interview with Turkish musicians.
Focan & Bıyıkoğlu Organic Expeditions project is an incendiary concert, featuring both author compositions and immortal jazz hits.
Premier Art management, festival's organizer interviewed the project manager, renowned guitarist Önder Focan.
Question: This is not your first visit to Baku. Last summer, at our invitation, you presented in our capital a very interesting project.
Answer: First of all, thank you for having invited us again. Yes, last year's Funkbook was a very energetic project. We expected to receive the same feedback from Baku listeners. I hope this year we will please the audience with interesting performances.
Q.: How was the project Focan & Bıyıkoğlu Organic Expeditions created?
A.: I like a jazz guitarist I love to play with organists - performers on Hammond. I worked with them a lot, I recorded albums. Kaan Bıyıkoğlu is one of the best pianists in Turkey. We often work together in different groups. When he said that he also played organ, and took lessons in Holland, we together with him and drummer Ekin Cengizkan created a trio. In this format, we began to perform works of different compositions. Later, tenor saxophonist Anıl Sallıel joined us and a project was created which we will be pleased to present in Baku.
Q: You played on the same stage with many famous artists. What was the most memorable meeting for you and why?
A.: Yes, I shared the stage with many priceless musicians. Apart from jam session, I played and recorded albums with such giants as Ted Curson, Scott Hamilton, Slide Hampton, and Joe La Barbera. Everyone has his own special place. There are also musicians with whom we had unforgettable joint performances: Al Foster, Bill Watrous, Benny Golson, and Roberta Gambarini.
Q.: With who of local musicians and artists would you like to perform?
A.: Rain Sultanov, Salman Gambarov, Ruslan Huseynov, Elvin Bashirov, and Elchin Shirinov. Except Elchin, I performed with all of them. I had a joint performance with Salman Gambarov and Ruslan Huseynov at the Istanbul Jazz Festival. They are very decent musicians. I would very much like to meet them all again and play together.
Q.: What program did you prepare for the Baku Summer Jazz Days this year?
A.: Repertoire Organik Expeditions, our improvisations with Kaan Bıyıkoglu, as well as compositions consisting of works by such musicians as Jimmy Smith, Kenny Burrell, and Pat Metheny. Our songs are pretty energetic, some of them are funky and groovy.
Q.: What does Baku mean to you? Are there any places you would like to visit, but not yet?
A.: Baku is very beautiful and modern, and at the same time has its own ancient history and culture. Therefore, Bakuvians also have a great interest in art and culture. We did not see much on our first visit, but this time we are hoping for an excursion to the city’s sights, I would very much like to visit museums.
Tickets for Baku Summer Jazz Days can be purchased at the city box offices and website www.iticket.az
Media partners of the event are Azernews.az ,Trend.az, Day.az, Milli.az.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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