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Eldar Djangirov continues hell-bent on dazzling audiences with his impressive technique, speed-demon array of notes, and music that is displaying more of a jagged edge and abject angular inventions. The staggeringly pronounced music he is making takes a different turn on Virtue, utilizing horns and synthesizers, but it's mostly his kamikaze acoustic piano -- frequently turning on a dime -- that is the centerpiece. Djangirov receives help from Joshua Redman, who plays tenor and soprano sax, and trumpeter Nicholas Payton on one cut apiece, as well as saxophonist Felipe Lamoglia on four selections. Rarely displaying reserve, Djangirov is fully gassed up and ready to wail on these pieces that require acute listening skills to hear everything being dished out, but for him must seem naturally supercharged. Those impressed with pyrotechnics will likely be blown away by tracks like the busy horn-driven road song on cobblestones "Exposition," with Redman; the powerhouse piece "The Exorcist," with astounding invention and a bit of synth flavoring; and the jumpy, superball-in-a-squash-court "Blackjack," featuring Payton. Funky rock beats dominate the youth-oriented "Blues Sketch in Clave," featuring Lamoglia's tenor and soprano, while "Vanilla Sky" is another craggy, loose-cannon tune in odd meters fused by Lamoglia's soprano. Slightly throttled, "Lullaby Fantazia" is a lithe and soulful 4/4 track with a 5/4 modal insert that is more organic and breathing than steaming along. "Daily Living" takes into account the elfin flourishes of Chick Corea, while also adopting staggered phrasings, electric keyboards, and a sound that can strike a kinship with peers like Robert Glasper and Aaron Parks. Some trio-only tracks with electric bass guitarist Armando Gola and drummer Ludwig Alfonso -- including the pretty, cascading "Insensitive," the actual introspective and delicate "Iris," and the real ballad take of the classic "Estate" -- all show that Djangirov can ramp down the thunder and lightning into low-watt, sustainable, impressionistic motifs. While not all bombast -- and the high drama has its valid virtuosity -- the variations are either black or white, with no interest in the middle ground or a larger color palette. This is Eldar's eighth CD, at age 22 still a very young and maturing musician who has a lot to offer and gives it all up in one fell swoop. Strap in for the ride.
Performance CreditsEldar Primary Artist
Joshua Redman Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Guest Appearance
Nicholas Payton Trumpet,Guest Appearance
Ashley Brown Vocals,Guest Appearance
Eldar Djangirov Piano,Keyboards
Felipe Lamoglia Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Guest Appearance
Ludwig Afonso Drums
Armando Gola Bass
Technical CreditsJay Newland Engineer
Kirk Yano Engineer,Executive Producer
Bruno Martino Composer
Roxanne Slimak Art Direction
Bruno Brighetti Composer
David Lai Producer
Laura Kszan Product Development
Jennifer Liebeskind Product Development
Eldar Djangirov Composer,Producer
Eldar Liner Notes
Armando Gola Composer