Rain Sultanov: tenor-, soprano saxophone
Elchin Shirinov: piano
Aleksey Miltikh: cello
Yasuhito Mori: bass
Peter Nilsson: drums
Rain Sultanov is leading jazz saxophonist and composer who has made a huge contribution to the development of jazz culture in Azerbaijan. Not many were able to walk such a turbulent and interesting creative path, rich and full of musical events, as Rain Sultanov. He is a person whose work is always of interest to the world's experts of high music. Rain's music carries a lot of sense and leads one to a deep thought. His idols are the musicians who have devoted all their lives to jazz music.
In November 2013, Rain Sultanov recorded his solo project “Seven Sounds of Azerbaijan” Inspired by Nature, at the Norwegian studio Rainbow. It includes real sounds of nature, and here the musician touches on the subject of human's relations with the environment. According to Rain, Azerbaijan's nature is beautiful and diverse and his purpose was to show it through multifaceted music.
For two weeks straight, accompanied by various musicians, Rain Sultanov travelled to the Caucasus highlands, marshy grounds, steppes, deep woods, coastal areas, semi-deserts and a mountain desert, having made trips of 2,000 kilometres overall. The musicians listened closely for the sounds of each of the seven landscapes, hoping to discover its special charm, talked to the locals and began improvising on their instruments. Due to their unconstrained quest for music representing the specific aura of each destination, their album came to be known as Inspired by Nature – Seven Sounds of Azerbaijan.
The nature did not always favour the visitors. It was so cold in the highlands that Rain Sultanov's fingers barely obeyed him while playing the saxophone. In the marshes, the musicians played in a boat which had initially been on land. Carried away by the liberty of creative self-expression, they did not notice the water slowly flooding the boat, until discovering they had wet feet as they disembarked. In the woods, the performance was impeded by dog barking, in addition to the noise coming from chainsaws. And in the mountain desert, the musicians experienced a strong wind which led the sand to blow onto their faces and instruments. In spite of all this, they opposed the wind with the music of even stronger power. In the never-ending steppe, they were supposed to place a grand piano. Two cars with musicians and a lorry carrying the piano set out from Baku in sunny weather. When they reached their destination after a 100-kilometre journey to the Shirvan National Park, though, it started to rain. The piano was left in the lorry, and the search for traces of music had to be postponed for a few days.
On the last day of recording at the Rainbow Studio, Rain Sultanov summed up the work as follows: "Of course, had we not witnessed the beautiful landscapes of Azerbaijan, these seven compositions would have sounded differently. Here in the studio, it sufficed for us to close our eyes in order to feel as if we were back to the nature."
Scenes of Azerbaijani landscapes during the music performance and the recording at the Rainbow Studio in Oslo were filmed by German documentary film director Antje Dombrowski.
Album Seven Sounds of Azerbaijan will be released on ECM Records.
Rain Sultanov is one of the most outstanding jazz musicians of Azerbaijan. He possesses his own unique style of performance and an everlasting series of new ideas and projects. (Pressetext)