"This 19-year-old jazz piano prodigy is completely amazing. "Eldar Live at the Blue Note" is a good representation of his work. Eldar's command of the instrument seems impossible for someone so young. He can be tender and sweet on the cut "Someday", then jumping and strong on "Chronicle." He has some of his own compositions like "Someday" and "Daily Living" along with his takes on old standards like "Take the A Train" and "What is this Thing Called Love." You will find it hard to believe there are only two hands playing the piano. He is literally all over the keyboard, but controlled and technically perfect - a joy to hear."
A Fan | Painted Post, NY United States | 07/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As Ms. Murphy said, Eldar is in fact all over the piano. He has chops to die for. On quiet passages he still maintains tremendous facility. I saw him live recently with this same trio and he has quite a stage presence and is entertaining. Unfortunately, the CD tends to show up the repetition of his flashy, cascading cadenzas. He has clearly listened to Oscar Peterson. As one professional jazz pianist told me, one tends to get listener fatigue after a couple of tunes. (Not being a pro, it took me several listenings to see what he was talking about.) The potential is certainly there for great things and at least technically Eldar is already there."
Most accomplished teenage jazz pianist in history
J Redfield | Orlando, FL | 05/19/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first knew of Eldar when he was 13. By 16, he could hold his own, technically, harmonically and rhythmically with just about anyone. When he came out with the "Eldar" album, and I first heard Sweet Georgia Brown, I absolutely could not believe my ears. His tempo on that track exceeds anything I ever heard from Oscar or Tatum. And yet every note is crystal clear. And yet he can take a tune like "Nature Boy" and give it a gentle, moving treatment a la Bill Evans.
I saw Eldar in person at a Florida concert in early 2007. After the concert, my wife and I talked with him for quite a while. He was extremely polite--more so than most Americans. My wife was in a wheel chair at the time and at a moment where she teared up a bit, Eldar stepped over to her and gave her a hug. My wife spent a fair amount of time in Russia and the two of them hit it off quite well. I mention this because we've all seen musical prodigies before with awesome talents, but many times, arrogant attitudes--difficult to talk to (Keith Jarrett perhaps?). Eldar was as nice and mature as anyone I've ever met at that age.
I have been a jazz pianist since the late 1960's. My idols have always been Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson. I know how hard it is to swing--to play rapid lines in perfect rhythm, maintaining the groove, regardless of the tempo. I know better than most just how truly incredible Eldar really is. He could emulate anyone's playing if he chose to. Most jazz pianists--if they practiced several hours a day for the rest of their lives--would not scale to the heights that Eldar has already reached.
This live at the Blue Note doesn't disappoint at all. One extraordinary track after another. And the musicians have remarkable affinity and creativity together. I recommend this, and all of Eldar's albums whole-heartedly, although I'm a bit disappointed with his recent forays into electronics. But like Herbie, Chick, Zawinul and many others, he's just being creative, and has a long lifetime to do his "thing", so I support his different directions. But I will always cherish his acoustic output the most.
Time will tell, but I think Eldar will someday rank with Oscar and Art as the greatest jazz pianists of all time. "
Where jazz piano is at today
Eric C. Sedensky | Madison, AL, US | 01/19/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I suppose there is very little middle ground with Eldar. Most people I've talked to in the jazz music world either love him or hate him. I'm still undecided, but after listening to this at the library, I liked the album enough to buy my own copy. Nothing Eldar does is ever half way. The guy has got hammers for fingers, and it's a good thing he only has ten of them, because he uses every finger whenever he can. So, yes, those ten-note voicings going up and down the register can be wearying after a while, but, there is never a shortage of something to listen for or some surprising line sneaking in where it isn't expected. I guess for a snapshot of contemporary jazz piano, this is as good an album as any. If you buy it and don't like it, don't feel bad. I think this is one of those CD's/artists that is better to have listened to and disliked than to never have heard at all."