Apart from that night of magic, what else have I enjoyed in Baku? As usual the search for live music has produced the best evenings. On Saturday i made it tired to Baku Jazz Centre and decided the cool and excellent sounds would probably send me asleep. Back in a sidestreet from the strolling and sometimes smiling crowds of Fountain Square i found a large band playing latin music on the staircase leading into Panchos restaurant and chatted awhile with Martin. Heading homewards, hard rock lured me into Phoenix, where a crowd of international (and British) workers maybe oil loved the excellent and driving music of the band. Women, one or two lovely and fresh, some jaded and craggy, sat with menfriends or gave me friendly but inquiring smiles, and in one case a bump with a bony bum. But wild and driving rock and a wild crowd was enough of a night for the memories.
On a previous trip, Baku Jazz Centre shone with star pianist Etibar Esedli guiding his band. Tamilla Yagubova shone on vocals full of soul, love and vigour, a voice that I searched for again (she said she sang at Park Bulvar, but i was always too early or late). Shadowy star of the evening was Zauz Mizzeyev on tortured sax, a workmanlike stocky man who clutches his magic sax, transforms into fire and dragons wearing a flowery shirt as streams of consciousness, wild melodies and waterfalls of emotion spin from his sax like Catherine wheels. Ruslan Heseynov keeps order and drive on bass guitar and drummer Isgendez drives rhythms, mountains, meadows, memories and music all from his kit.