Live at the Blue Note

It’s almost criminal that a guy so young can play jazz piano with such extraordinary accomplishment and invention. Eldar Djanirov has been in the United States only since 1998, but he seems to be channeling much of the jazz tradition of the last 75 years. He is now a mere 19 years old, but he plays with utter assurance, a master of both his instrument and his genre. Monk, Ellington, McCoy Tyner, they’re all in the mix, all of them filtered through the talent and improvisational skill of this kid from Kyrgyzstan. He knows his way around jazz standards, breathing new life into old songs, but always with respect and reverence for the sources. If you think there’s nothing new left to be found in songs like “What Is This Thing Called Love?” or “Take the A Train,” Eldar’s playing on this CD will convince you that there is. Two hot trumpet stars joined him for this live recording—Roy Hargrove and Chris Botti—and those are particularly tasty tracks. The torch is being passed to a new generation of players, and they come from all over the world. Eldar is among the youngest, and if he’s any indication, the future of jazz is secured.