PIRO JAZZ FESTIVAL
PIRO JAZZ FESTIVAL
7-9 JANUARY 2022
The saxophone itself met with disapproval from the bureaucratic apparatus during this era.
And the advent of jazz in Azerbaijan brought the saxophone with it, an instrument that embodied and symbolized jazz.
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In 1944 Eddie Rosner, on tour in Baku,
spotted the youngster and invited him to be the star saxophonist and clarinetist in the Moscow orchestra.
This was big news in Baku: Rosner only chose the best.
The 22-year- old duly accepted and enjoyed great success in concerts throughout the Soviet Union.
Rustambeyov even became known as the ‘Soviet Benny Goodman’.
The famous composer and critic, with ballets and musicals to his name, Yuri Saulsky, spoke thus of Rustambeyov:
Piro Rustambeyov managed to amaze everyone who listened to him. He was a top-class musician and an improviser of a purely natural essence. Able to produce complex musical phrases, he found the right harmony almost intuitively. Once he was a guest musician in an ensemble which I worked in, and played a few pieces with us. His performance brought in so much freshness and innovation! He amazed us all with a special feeling of improvisation. His solos were always built on the basis of a clear development, and everything had a clear form. His music was inhabited by thought. Playing alongside Rustambeyov was a delightful experience . . .
Two years later, now a famous musician, Rustambeyov moved back to Baku and formed his own band, first at the Krasny Vostok Cinema
(now the Azerbaijan Cinema) and then at the Nizami Cinema. But, in January 1949, he was unexpectedly dismissed from
work under the pretext that he was ‘bowing down to the West’.
Parviz Rustambeyov had come into the crosshairs of the security services, who intended to find and expose at any cost
at least one person from the world of music who admired the corrupting Western art.
Not until 6 January 1958 was the decision made by the special council of the KGB that the case against Rustambeyov was to be
‘revoked and closed for lack of evidence’. The life of this talented young jazz musician was tragically cut short in his prime.
The location of Rustambeyov’s grave is unknown, so there is no place to visit,
lay a bouquet of flowers and pray for his soul, according to the Azerbaijan custom.