By Joseph Romero
NEW YORK, 16 APRIL 2009 In Russia piano prodigies
sprout like mushrooms. Evgeni Kissin (b.
1971, Moscow) was one, Konstantin
Lifschitz (b. 1976, Kharkov) another. A few mature into great artists;
most burn out on the contest or concert circuits and eventually disappear
into the dustbins of history. The latest revelation from the ex-Soviet
Empire to grab headlines and attract the music business is Eldar Djangirov
an international jazz phenomenon "known for his virtuosity in the style
of the great Oscar
Peterson " a perhaps excessive bit of publicity hype.
Be that as it may, jazz aficionados in New York and Seattle will have
an opportunity to judge for themselves when the young jazzman plays sets
at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center in Long Island City this weekend
and Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle next month.
Eldar, as he prefers to be called, was born on 28 January 1987 to
Russian parents in the former Soviet Union. He spent his first ten years
in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, a province on the eastern border of the
then-Soviet Union, where his father, Emil, was a mechanical engineer and
his mother, Tatiana, was a professor of music studies. Eldar came to the
United States when he was 10. His first performance appearance in the U.S.
was at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. Marian
McPartland invited Eldar to appear on her NPR
Piano Jazz radio show at the age of 12. In 2001, Eldar participated in
the jazz piano competition of the 2001 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival and
won the top prize. The following year, he won first place in the Peter
Nero Piano Competition.
Eldar Djangirov's website
describes him as a "hard bop/post-bop pianist" who "has accomplished
something that the vast majority of jazz artists - pianists or otherwise -
will never accomplish: he landed a contract with a major label and
received a Grammy nomination before he could legally be served alcoholic
beverages in the USA." Eldar was labeled a prodigy with the release of his
debut CD "Eldar" in 2005 and was nominated for a Grammy Award for his 2007
CD "Re-imagining." Billboard magazine has praised him for having
"the fastest hands in jazz." Eldar has recorded 5 albums including 3 with
Sony Classical. Eldar received a 2008 Grammy Nomination for Best
Contemporary Jazz Album.
Jazz Jam: Eldar Djangirov
LaGuardia Performing Arts Center
Long Island City, New York 11101
Tel: (1) 718 482 51 51
Eldar Djangirov (piano), Armando Gola (bass) and Ludwig
26 - 27 May 2009
2033 6th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121
Tel: (1) 206 441 97
Set times Tuesday and Wednesday are at 7:30pm. Doors open at 6pm
on Tuesday and 5:30pm on Wednesday.
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