Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

355

Eldar Djangirov: Virtue

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Virtue is Eldar's fourth album—his sixth, if his early independent releases are included—something of an achievement for a musician who was only 22 years old at the time of the album's release. The album further affirms the Kyrgyzstan-born, New York-based musician's deserved reputation for technical ability. Across the 11 tracks Eldar shows speed and virtuosity—on one or two ballads there are also welcome signs of a developing awareness of the impact of space and silence.

Throughout the album, the young pianist is provided with swinging support from bassist Armando Gola and drummer Ludwig Afonso. Their playing is crucial, providing a strong jazz sensibility and balancing out Eldar's tendency at times to move more towards a classical style of playing. "Estate" is an example of the effectiveness of this support. The tune, featuring Eldar on piano with simple but effective backing from the rhythm section, is beautiful. A slow and delicate piece, it enables Eldar to show that he has the feel for the emotions of a tune and there is a notable absence of complex runs or chord patterns. Another ballad, "Iris," again showcases Eldar's ability to play delicate and affecting patterns and features a warm bass solo from Gola.

By contrast, Eldar's faster numbers are performed with technical virtuosity very much in mind and there is a lack of memorable hooks or melodies. These are performances to be admired, undoubtedly, but they create nods of approval rather than smiles of pleasure. Strong guest appearances by Joshua Redman and others help to add color to the tunes, but when Eldar moves from acoustic piano to electronic keyboards the problem seems magnified—the album starts to sound as if it has been influenced by some of the worst excesses of progressive rock and fusion.

Such criticisms may seem churlish in the face of such obvious talent, but jazz is as much about engaging the emotions and experiences as it is displaying virtuosity. Many great players make this connection without Eldar's technical prowess; when he is able to achieve this engagement in addition to his technical skill he will be a genuine force with which to be reckoned.

Track Listing: Exposition; Insensitive; Blues Sketch in Clave; Iris; The Exorcist; Lullaby Fantazia; Blackjack; Long Passage; Estate; Daily Living; Vanilla Sky.

Personnel: Eldar: piano, keyboards; Armando Gola: bass; Ludwig Afonso: drums; Nicholas Payton: trumpet; Joshua Redman: saxophone; Felipe Lamoglia: saxophone.

Title: Virtue | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Sony Masterworks


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by John Sharpe
Published: December 14, 2017
Read I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Celebrating William Parker at 65 CD/LP/Track Review Celebrating William Parker at 65
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Eternal Life CD/LP/Track Review Eternal Life
by Jerome Wilson
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Baby It's Cold Outside CD/LP/Track Review Baby It's Cold Outside
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Wrong Turns And Dead Ends CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read "The Pauper And The Magician" CD/LP/Track Review The Pauper And The Magician
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 17, 2017
Read "Forage" CD/LP/Track Review Forage
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "Jazz Marathon 2" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Marathon 2
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 20, 2017
Read "Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn" CD/LP/Track Review Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "Alameda Gardens" CD/LP/Track Review Alameda Gardens
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 22, 2016
Read "Danse" CD/LP/Track Review Danse
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 7, 2017

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!