TEEN JAZZ PIANO PRODIGY ELDAR
MAKES HIS SONY CLASSICAL RECORDING DEBUT
CD RELEASED ON MARCH 22, 2005
Guest Artist Michael Brecker Joins
17 Year Old Jazz Sensation And His Trio
In Four Original Tunes, Plus His Own
Arrangements Of Songs By
Thelonious Monk & Herbie Hancock
A boyish 17-year-old from Kyrgyzstan in the former Soviet Union might seem an unlikely candidate for greatness as a jazz pianist, but Eldar is all of those things, and they have brought him to his self-titled debut recording for Sony Classical. The new recording features original tunes, and his own arrangements of such jazz classics as "'Round Midnight," "Nature Boy," "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Fly Me To the Moon."
Eldar, who turns 18 shortly before the release of his new recording, has already been featured on the 42nd annual Grammy Awards broadcast, and he took the top prizes in the 2001 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival and the 2002 Peter Nero Piano Competition. The legendary Marian McPartland has had him as her guest (the youngest ever) on her acclaimed radio series Piano Jazz, then invited him to perform on her jazz concert series at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.
After hearing Eldar play, jazz legend Benny Carter said, "He's one of the most astounding artists I've heard in a long, long time." An impressed Dr. Billy Taylor noted that "he's serious about his music, he's thoughtful about what he does, and he's a regular kid." Hailing Eldar as "a remarkably advanced jazz artist," Jazziz Magazine wrote, "The pianist's incredible hands already have him sounding like a young Art Tatum."
For his Sony Classical debut recording, Eldar (on piano and electric piano/synthesizer) is backed by drummer Todd Strait and John Patitucci on bass and electric bass, with tenor sax virtuoso Michael Brecker as guest artist. He introduces four original tunes – "Watermelon Island," "Lady Wicks," "Raindrops" and "Point of View" (the last with Brecker) – and is heard alone in his arrangement of Thelonious Monk's "Ask Me Now."
With the trio, Eldar plays his own arrangements of Bart Howard's "Fly Me to the Moon," Eden Ahbez's "Nature Boy," "Ben Bernie's "Sweet Georgia Brown," Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage," Bobby Timmons' "Moanin'" and the Monk/Bernard Hanighen classic "'Round Midnight."
Today, Eldar lives in San Diego, after settling in Kansas City with his parents Emil and Tatiana Djangirov in 1998 when they left Kyrgyzstan with the help of the late jazz aficionado Charles McWhorter. McWhorter first heard Eldar when the boy was only nine years of age, playing a jazz festival in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk.
"Jazz was like part of the air," Eldar has said of his early childhood. Though he began taking lessons in classical piano from his mother when he was five years old – "very helpful," he recalled – his father was a great jazz fan, constantly listening to BBC and Voice of America broadcasts. When he was nine, Eldar began to explore jazz seriously. His influences are classic, from the elegant drive of Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson to the exuberance of Dave Brubeck and Bill Evans' piercing intensity and introspection.
In the fall of 2004, Eldar was selected by Wynton Marsalis to appear at the gala opening of Jazz at Lincoln Center's new Rose Hall. In January, 2005, Eldar will be appearing as a featured artist at the International Association for Jazz Education conference in Long Beach, California
Eldar, the Sony Classical debut recording of jazz pianist Eldar, will be featured on Sony Classical's Web site at www.sonyclassical.com.