In Memoriam: Muvaffak Falay (1930–2022)

Turkish jazz trumpeter Muvaffak "Maffy" Falay passed away at the age of 92, on February 22, 2022, in Istanbul, Turkey.

Muvaffak (“Maffy”) Falay was born August 30, 1930. His hometown was Kuşadası, Aydın and his first name Muvaffak literally means “he who shall be successful.” Falay attended the Ankara Conservatory of Music at age seven, studying trumpet and piano. His love of Turkish folk music and jazz has given him a unique voice in the trumpet world.

Muvaffak "Maffy" Falay (PC: Arda Cabaoğlu)

Falay moved to Germany in 1956 and eventually became a member of the Köln Radio Orchestra (1960). In late 1960, he moved to Sweden , where he began recording with Harry Arnold’s big band. He played with the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band from 1961 to 1966, and with Kurt Edelhagen’s band in 1964. Falay also performed with Bengt-Arne Wallin, Boris Lindquist, and Arne Domnerus. In 1961, he and the Quincy Jones band recorded the soundtrack for the film The Boy in the Tree. From 1962 to 1967, Falay was a member of Bernt Rosengren’s band. He also played with George Russell’s big band (1966), Don Cherry (1971), Lars Gullin (1974), and others. In 1971, he founded his own group, Sevda, that fuses Turkish music with bop.

Falay was close friends with Dizzy Gillespie from the time Gillespie performed in Turkey on a US State Department tour. Falay’s band met Dizzy at the airport, and greeted the maestro with music. Gillespie reported to his manager in America that he had discovered a fantastic trumpeter who played like Miles Davis and Lee Morgan, only better! Later on, Falay was invited to play with Gillespie’s big band. Falay also participated in the Dizzy Gillespie Reunion Band in 1970.

Since 1986, Maffy Falay has been leading his own sextet, performing primarily in Europe and Sweden. In 2005, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Istanbul Jazz Festival.

(Source: Arda Cabaoğlu; Hickman, David, Michel Laplace, Edward H Tarr, and Leonard A. Candelaria. 2013. Trumpet greats: a biographical dictionary. Chandler, AZ: Hickman Music Editions.)

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