Aziza Mustafa Zadeh

Picture of Aziza Mustafa Zadeh

Aziza

Aziza Mustafa Zadeh - Aziza ©1993 Columbia
1. Chargah
2. My Ballad
3. Exprompt
4. Quiet Alone
5. Inspiration
6. I Cannot Sleep
7. Oriental Fantasy
8. Moment
9. Blue Day
10. Character
11. Tea On The Carpet
12. Cemetary
13. Reflection
14. Aziza's Dream
15. Two Candles

It's hard to pinpoint what's so amazing about this record, Zadeh's second album and possibly the most widely distributed in her small but remarkable discography. It may be that she was twenty-four at the time and that the maturity she exhibits in her compositions is truly exceptional; or perhaps that her vocal and piano virtuosity are ridiculously mind-blowing. In either case, this early record is just as superb and essential as her later output.

While the Keith Jarrett influence is audible here and there, the fifteen tracks on this album are less meandering and much more organized than most jazz pianists'. These are elaborate, melodic, exotic compositions with far more structure than a standard head followed by excruciating blowing over a vamp: instead, Zadeh writes true songs with hummable melodies, and even her more adventurous soloing rarely veers very far away from the underlying harmonies. As might be expected from an Azerbaijani musician, these harmonies are very "exotic" sounding and should appeal to fans of Jarrett, Chick Corea, Jonas Hellborg, Al DiMeola and other jazzbos with non-Western leanings. Zadeh's stunning scat singing makes a few appearances, notably on the fantastic "Inspiritation", and adds a touch of variety to an otherwise all-piano record.

All in all, though not quite as majestically arranged or varied as the later Dance of Fire, this record is magnificent through and through and deserves a place in every jazz piano fan's collection.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 09/2004

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Dance Of Fire

Aziza Mustafa Zadeh - Dance Of Fire ©1995 Sony
1. Boomerang
2. Dance Of Fire
3. Sheherezadeh
4. Aspiration
5. Bana Bana Gel (Bad Girl)
6. Shadow
7. Carnival
8. Passion
9. Spanish Picture
10. To Be Continued
11. Father

Aziza Mustafa Zadeh is a jazz pianist/singer, which would raise the snide comment, "Heck, another one", if it weren't for the fact that she is from Azerbaijan and extremely talented.

There's very little straight jazz on this record. What we get is a collection of mostly instrumentals of a heavily Caucasian nature, centered around Zadeh's excellent piano playing and vocals, and fleshed out by an impressive cast of Western fusion enormies (they're more than biggies): Al DiMeola (acoustic guitar), Bill Evans (sax), Kai Eckhardt Karpeh de Camargo and Stanley Clarke (bass), and Omar Hakim (drums). The tunes are very melodic and rarely meander outside of a normal human's attention span (a problem that has plagued jazz since the 1940s). As a set, they have a particular cohesiveness that makes the record sound shorter than it actually is.

The album's blend of worldly influences works really well and makes for a rocking piano-based "exotic" album.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 04/2001

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Seventh Truth

Aziza Mustafa Zadeh - Seventh Truth ©1996 Columbia
1. Ay Dilber
2. Lachin
3. Interlude I
4. Fly With Me
5. F#
6. Desperation
7. Daha...(Again)
8. I Am Sad
9. Interlude II
10. Wild Beauty
11. Seventh Truth
12. Sea Monster

Seventh Truth, Azerbaijani pianist/singer Aziza Mustafa Zadeh's fourth album, is a return to the vocals-and-piano set-up of her self-titled debut (with very discreet ethnic drums), and a departure from the more ensemble-oriented Jazziza and Always. There is almost no straight jazz on this record. Instead, Zadeh plays very emotional instrumental pieces and sings-and-scats a few songs with English and Azeri lyrics. The music is more middle-eastern than on her jazzier albums, and only one track ("Daha...(Again)") shows truly western jazz chords progressions. Three pieces are based on Azeri classics, and three more on compositions by her late father Vagif.

The sparseness of the instrumentation showcases Zadeh's stellar piano playing and her extraordinary opera- and scat-style vocals. The faster songs ("Fly With Me", "Desperation") have a very accessible, almost poppy structure, and Zadeh layers some of her vocal lines with great impact.

This album is mandatory listening for fans of Al DiMeola, Badi Assad, middle-eastern music, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, and great vocal music in any tradition.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 04/2001

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