285

Eldar Djangirov: Eldar

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Eldar Djangirov: Eldar You can't really blame the media for heaping hype upon the young piano prodigy known simply as Eldar, because his story is pretty remarkable. Eldar grew up in remote Kyrgyzstan, where there are far more goat herders than jazz musicians, but he revealed enough early talent that he attracted both local and international attention. After moving to Kansas City around age ten, he picked up a few admirers like Benny Carter and Dr. Billy Taylor, who contributed liner notes to this, his third release and Sony debut. (He also dropped the last name Djangirov, which tagged his previous D&D efforts, including an earlier recording also called Eldar—not to be confused with the present title.)

And this is a pretty remarkable album. The pianist goes after his music with infectious zeal, preferring a light, sparkling touch (like Tatum or Peterson) and regularly decorating themes with flying runs and trills. He's joined by two sympathetic veterans, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Todd Strait, who have the experience to know how to lend supportive depth without getting in the way. Monk's "Ask Me Now" features Eldar alone on the piano, digging into some quirky rhythms and paying homage to a clear influence; and the original "Point of View" brings in guest tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker for some perky, high-energy acrobatics.

Within seconds after you hit play, a few things immediately become obvious. Eldar has incredible dexterity and precision control over every note; he's able to channel this ability to construct flowing, connected ideas that covey a larger sense of motion; and he's not afraid to let it rip. When things slow down, as they do right away on the second tune, "Nature Boy," his weaknesses become apparent just as quickly. Eldar's playing lacks a certain warmth and respect for space that's more or less required to keep the candles aglow. But I have no doubt that will come with age. This teenager has a lot of years ahead of him in which to grow and expand.

It's hard not to get caught up in the enthusiasm of Eldar, which shines through in most outrageous fashion on the original "Watermelon Island," a funk/fusion tour de force near the end that ought to get more than a few listeners out of their chairs to shake it on the floor.

Visit Eldar on the web.


Track Listing: Sweet Georgia Brown; Nature Boy; Moanin'; Point of View with Michael Brecker; 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. Featuring Michael Brecker: tenor saxophone ("Point of View").

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Sony Classical


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Find Your Wings" CD/LP/Track Review Find Your Wings
by Jim Trageser
Published: November 5, 2016
Read "Brain//Child" CD/LP/Track Review Brain//Child
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Revolution Before Lunch" CD/LP/Track Review Revolution Before Lunch
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 2, 2016
Read "Iceland" CD/LP/Track Review Iceland
by Dave Wayne
Published: May 21, 2016
Read "Tales From A Forbidden Land" CD/LP/Track Review Tales From A Forbidden Land
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 1, 2017
Read "Saturday Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Saturday Songs
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 19, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!