How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Painting scenes from his experience, pianist Eldar Djangirov puts a virtual paintbrush to his third SONY album. Featuring his outstanding keyboard technique and a contemporary look at jazz's thrills, the twenty year-old prodigy delivers with emphasis.
His wizardry at the piano becomes immediately apparent with one listen to his interpretation of Oscar Peterson's "Place St. Henri, which is done in an up-tempo trio format along with double bassist Carlos Henriquez and drummer Ali Jackson. Fast and clean, the pianist drives hard with a lightweight demeanor; just the way its composer intended.
For the standard "Out of Nowhere, Eldar adds David Lai to the ensemble on Fender Rhodes electric piano. Together, pianist and crew dream up a lovely arrangement that centers on the familiar theme while coloring with delicate airs, giving a light, pastoral texture to the piece.
The remainder of the program comes from the pen of Eldar, the composer, who lets his imagination carry the day. Scenes from everyday life come into focus, as pianist lets go. Sadness, intrigue, tension and release come together to form a series of suites as Eldar's imagination lets him fly from one vantage point to another. It's exciting; however, the emphasis on piano as solo instrument and as full frontal object require that all else takes a back seat. The music would benefit from more action by bass, drums and guitar.
That being said, Eldar's solo piano mastery continues to amaze. His bonus track, a solo piano interpretation of The Beatles' "Blackbird, serves as the album's high point. Here, we find the artist doing what he does best: pursuing a theme with those incredible hands, alive and jumping all over the piano's keyboard.
Track Listing: I Remember When; Interlude #1 (Soul Glare); Prairie Village; Out of Nowhere; Interlude #2 (Ordered Chaos); Back Home; Place St. Henri; Tears; South Bixel; Dream Song; Polaris.
Personnel: Eldar: acoustic piano, keyboards; James Genus: electric bass (3, 9, 11); Marco Panascia: electric bass (1); Carlos Henriquez: double bass (4, 7); David Lai: Fender Rhodes (4); DJ Logic: turntables (2, 3, 9, 11), programming (3, 9, 11), effects (2, 3, 9, 11); Mike Moreno: guitars (3, 9, 11); Todd Strait: drums (1, 6); Ali Jackson: drums (4, 7); Terreon Gulley: drums (3, 9, 11).