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Eldar Djangirov: Live at the Blue Note

Jim Santella By

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Intimate and sparkling with effervescent joy, Eldar's appearance at the Blue Note in New York clearly brought a persuasive force to his audience. He's spontaneous and personable for this program of six standards and four originals, steering his acoustic trio through lovely straight-ahead territory with class.

Trumpeter Chris Botti guests with the trio on "You Don't Know What Love Is, waxing romantic with a heartfelt reading of this romantic evergreen. He's in top form, giving jazz's mainstream a winning ballad appearance that proves convincing. Botti and Eldar both enjoy an eloquent manner that allows for an intimate musical conversation between friends.

Trumpeter Roy Hargrove guests on Monk's "Straight, No Chaser, returning the ensemble to the kind of heyday when Bird, Diz, Bud, and Max ruled New York's nighttime jazz scene with a firm hand. Hargrove and Eldar drive this one hot and fast, taking no prisoners, as they let their passions rule the evening. It's during up-tempo romps such as this one that we clearly see Eldar's impressive talent with the piano keys and understand the phenomenal nature of his attack.

The big question of the night: Does Eldar have enough maturity and experience to interpret down-to-earth features such as "Dat Dere and "Besame Mucho with true feeling?

The answer is a resounding and emphatic yes.

Eldar's amazing technique puts a spin on each selection that translates into a memorable experience. He's unforgettable.

Track Listing: What Is This Thing Called Love; Someday; You Don't Know What Love Is; Daily Living; Dat Dere; Besame Mucho; Straight, No Chaser; Sincerely; Chronicle; Take the A Train.

Personnel: Eldar Djangirov: piano; Marco Panascia: double bass; Todd Strait: drums; Chris Botti: trumpet (3); Roy Hargrove: trumpet (7).

Title: Live at the Blue Note | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Sony Classical

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