Few pianists sound like Aziza Mustafa Zadeh. Her style of attack, which is passionate, intense and precise, mixed with her wellspring of influences, from jazz to classical to avant-garde to mugam (a traditional improvised style from her native Azerbaijan), makes her a unique figure in the world of music performance. The result is truly exhilarating; even the more subtle moments are underlined with a strength of feeling that draws you immediately into the worlds she creates.
As a singer she is just as impressive, able to scat as well as the great Ella Fitzgerald and lift her voice into almost operatic territory at will. At the time of this concert she was in her mid-20s, already having left her native Baku for the US, where she placed third in the prestigious Thelonious Monk piano competition at age 17, and later, Germany, where she is still based today.
Her repertoire is packed full of original gems, as well as pieces in homage to Antoniô Carlos Jobim, Billie Holiday and the famous jazz standard "Take Five," written by Paul Desmond and popularised by Dave Brubeck's recording group. As always, Aziza makes it entirely her own, showcasing her singular, cross-genre prowess in an unforgettable rendition.
Young Performers at the Fondation Louis Vuitton
Munich Summer Piano Festival 1982