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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Motema 233714



1. Point of View Redux

2. Somebody Loves Me

3. Breakthrough

4. What'll I Do

5. Morning Bell

6. In Pursuit

7. No Moon At All

8. Hope

9. Tokyo Pulse

10. Blink

11. Good Morning Heartache (Bonus Track)

Eldar Djangirov - Piano

Armando Gola - Bass

Ludwig Afonso - Drums

Chris Potter - Tenor sax (track 3)

Joe Locke - Vibes (track 10)

When I first heard Eldar Djangirov (see my review), I was amazed by his virtuosity. This new album maintains the same high level of achievement. It is even more astonishing that he released this CD at the same time as a solo album of piano pieces by Bach, Brahms and Prokofiev. Both albums were recorded within one week.

The repertoire here consists of five jazz standards and six originals by Djangirov. Eldar's compositions tend to be complex but not always immediatelty hummable, so it is nice to have the standard tunes there as a counterbalance. Point of View Redux is an Eldar original that he played with the late Michael Brecker and it is a kind of tribute to Brecker. Two guests make appearances on individual tracks. Tenorist Chris Potter plays on the serpentine title-track, and vibist Joe Locke matches Djangirov in rapidity on Blink.

Irving Berlin's What'll I Do is probably best-known to British audiences from its use as the theme song of the TV series Birds of a Feather. Eldar interprets it as a moving ballad. Somebody Loves Me is also a tender ballad which Eldar begins with an almost classical introduction. Once he gets into improvising on the tune, he seems to vary the tempo according to how he feels. And he ends with a long cadenza that refers back to the tune's harmony. He takes No Moon At All at mid-tempo which he doubles at will.

Bassist Armando Gola supports Djangirov sympathetically and sensitively. For instance, on No Moon At All, he mixes two-in-a-bar with a walking bass to establish a continually varying pulse. Drummer Ludwig Afonso adds to the intensity of the fast numbers and contributes powerful drum breaks to such numbers as Breakthrough.

The final number, Good Morning Heartache is labelled as a "bonus track" because Eldar recorded it as a piano solo at the end of the session for his classical album, Bach/Brahms/Prokofiev. It is lyrical and rhapsodic, with the sort of flow that typifies another classical composer: Debussy.

In a recent interview, Eldar said that his greatest pleasure was "to make people happy when they listen to the music". Djangirov's playing certainly makes me feel happy.

Tony Augarde

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