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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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ELDAR

Live at the Blue Note

Sony 82876 74745 2

 

 


1. What is This Thing Called Love?
2. Someday
3. You Don’t Know What Love Is
4. Daily Living
5. Dat Dere
6. Besame Mucho
7. Straight, No Chaser
8. Sincerely
9. Chronicle
10. Take the A Train
 
Eldar – Piano
Marco Panascia – Bass
Todd Strait – Drums
Chris Botti – Trumpet (track 3)
Roy Hargrove – Trumpet (track 7)
 

"Then felt I like some watcher of the skies When a new planet swims into his ken…" Well, it wasn’t quite like that when I heard for the first time a track by pianist Eldar Djangirov on Humphrey Lyttleton’s BBC radio jazz programme – but it was certainly an astonishing experience. The sheer virtuosity of Eldar’s playing in What is This Thing Called Love? was enough to make one catch one’s breath and wonder: who is this musician? He was actually a boy aged eleven when he left his native Kyrgyzstan for the USA, where he became good enough to play at New York’s Blue Note club. This set was recorded there last October, with Eldar’s trio joined by a couple of guest trumpeters for one number each.

From the very first track, it is evident that Eldar Djangirov is an important new jazz talent, with an astonishing technique. His facility at the piano puts one in mind of such virtuosi as Oscar Peterson and Michel Petrucciani: indeed, you might describe him as an updated version of Art Tatum. He negotiates difficult runs with fluent ease, devises inventive solos, and remembers that the blues is at the heart of jazz. His performance of Dat Dere combines the funkiness of the blues with a mixture of daring and delicacy which is mightily impressive.

He is also a composer, contributing four of his own tunes to this album. Someday and Daily Living are attractively buoyant pieces, while Sincerely is a delicate ballad. Chronicle might be by McCoy Tyner, with swirling chords behind lively right-hand twirls.

Chris Botti joins the trio for a thoughtful You Don’t Know What Love Is, and Roy Hargove comes in for the beboppish Straight, No Chaser. On these tracks, one’s attention is caught by the way that Eldar accompanies the trumpeters as well as by his often startling solos.

The closing Take the A Train is as astonishing as the opening track, throwing in some muscular stride piano alongside breathtaking runs and witty interjections. This track only lasts for two-and-a half minutes but it is mind-blowing. If Eldar plays this well when he is just out of his teens, one wonders how much further he can develop. It should be fascinating to hear.


Tony Augarde

see also review by Don Mather

 



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