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Eldar Djangirov: Rhapsodize

Mike Jurkovic By

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Eldar Djangirov... None other than Dave Brubeck declared him a genius. Dr. Billy Taylor called his music a "brilliantly complex discipline." So, when inevitably asked who the masters of their craft may or may not be, does Eldar Djangirov immediately roll off anyone's tongue?

More than likely not. And, with more than a handful of hot releases—the 2007 Grammy-nominated Re-Imagination (Sony Music), the flawless and much acclaimed Three Stories (Sony Music, 2011) and the mad energy rush of an eighteen year old on Live at the Blue Note (Sony Masterworks, 2006)—who's to blame for that? It's anybody's guess, but here's hoping the peppery fury personified on Rhapsodize brings the pianist back into the active discussion.

In a noble struggle not to blaze and burn too fast, too soon, Rhapsodize finds Djangirov and his biting-at-the-bit cohorts—drummer Jimmy McBride and bassist Raviv Markovitz—frenetically taking on "A Night In Tunisia" with a purely logical chaos. It bashes and cross-currents, cuts left and right with a laser-like veracity. That same take-no-prisoners aesthetic carries over into the original "Anthemic," a torrential rush of flash and prowess whose barnburner left hand groove, cool breaks and virtuoso intervals are more than enough to keep you guessing long after the trio has moved on.

But between "A Night In Tunisia" and "Anthemic" there's the oddly, or perhaps the oddly refreshing, 1980s-sounding groove of Djangirov's first of seven sparked and emboldened originals, "Airport." A tale of needed inertia among a world always moving, "Airport" rolls with an all-out, locked-in mind meld of Djangirov, McBride, and Markovitz, and their uncanny ability to amaze at any moment. "Willow Weep For Me" displays all the delicacy and humor of Art Tatum's take of 1949 and Tommy Flanagan's 1957 cover.

"Burn" quickly does just that with a fast moving, hard-bop fire. Redefining Soundgarden's grunge standard as this generation's latest jazz cover, "Black Hole Sun" is loosed of its strict rock architecture and set free. It's a marvelous performance, neatly on par withBrad Mehldau's equally expansive rock interpretations (ie: Nirvana's "Smells Like Team Spirit" and "Lithium.") A particularly coltish and frolicsome bounce pervades "Variations on a Bach Prelude" with the lush, "In July" quickly picking up the mantle. Fortunately, Rhapsodize doesn't stop there. And neither should we.

Track Listing

A Night In Tunisia; Airport; Anthemic; Willow Weep For Me; Burn; Black Hole Sun; Variations On A Bach Prelude; In July; Rhapsodize; Devotion; Blackjack.

Personnel

Eldar Djangirov: piano; Raviv Markovitz: bass; Jimmy McBride: drums.

Album information

Title: Rhapsodize | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Twelve Tone Resonance

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