As jazz goes, I have tended, in the past, toward saxophone jazz, with some notable exceptions such as Keiko Matsui or Diana Krall. My taste has been more David Sanborn and Michael Bracker. But at the same time, I have always admired young artists of any genre. Thus I come to Eldar Djangirov, who performs as Eldar, an 18-year-old pianist who, I assume, has ten fingers that play like 20.
To say that Eldar is fast on the ivories would be a major understatment. In fact in the opening piece, Sweet Georgia Brown, Eldar has populated the piece with stunning explosions of notes, moving so fast you can't keep up. He clearly has technique and speed to spare. He certainly has a promising career ahead of thiem.
But Eldar commits what I consider to be a sin of the young--that technique can make up for performance. Eldar substitutes speed for soul, having not learned that sometimes one note played in context can be far better than 20 played in sequence in the same space of time. His speed and ethusiasm overshadows the music and melody. In almost all of the pieces, Eldar packs in a flurry of notes, played at blinding speed, that takes the listener out of the piece for too long--thereby destroying the piece.
I hope that, over time, Eldar learns that speed does not replace sould, that technique is no substitute for taste and jazz is as much about evoking a mood as it is about playing music.
Having said that, there are a couple of redeeming tracks.
Point of View--this is a piece with Michael Brecker. I don't know if it is my predilection for Brecker or the fact that Brecker's experience has mellowed Eldar's speed, but this piece doesn't feel as rushed. The track is polished and well played, as well as very, very classy.
Watermelon Island--this Herbie Hancock penned track reminds me of one of the many reasons I love music--it is supposed to be fun. It is supposed to make you smile and smile I did with this track.