How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Eldar more than lives up to the hype. If the opening Tatum-esque "Sweet Georgia Brown" doesn't bowl you over with his demonstration of articulate talent, try his head-spinning version of "Maiden Voyage" that makes the original sound absolutely archaic. Don't think this teen is simply some trained freak show. He is able to demonstrate speed with plenty of emotional depth. His incredibly insightful take on "Nature Boy," as well as his own deeply Debussy-influenced "Raindrops," demonstrate maturity far beyond his age.
The pianist shows absolutely no signs of intimidation or deferment with his illustrious sidemen: John Patitucci (bass), Michael Brecker (tenor saxophone), or Todd Strait (drums). Whether using a range on the piano that rivals McCoy Tyner, sparring to a draw with Brecker ("Point of View'), or waxing rapturously rhapsodic on Monk's "Ask Me Now," Eldar is not demonstrating potential that hopefully will reach an artistic zenith; he has hit the ground running and the earth is shaking.
Track Listing: Sweet Georgia Brown; Nature Boy; Moanin'; Point of View; Raindrops; Lady Wicks; Maiden
Voyage; Round Midnight; Ask Me Now; Watermelon Island; Fly Me to the Moon.
Personnel: Eldar: piano; John Patitucci: bass; Todd Strait: drums; Michael Brecker: tenor saxophone.