Edlar_span3
July/August 2006

Eldar
Daily Living: Live at the Blue Note
Sony Classical

Like Eldar’s self-titled studio debut of 2005, Daily Living offers a stirring mix of standards and originals, informed not only by dazzling technique but also by a promising interpretive ear. It’s a worthy next step for the young Kyrgyz pianist, featured here in a trio context with bassist Marco Panascia and drummer Todd Strait.

Eldar is at his best when he’s blazing, as on the opening “What Is This Thing Called Love,” the unaccompanied “‘A’ Train” and the mid-set romp with Roy Hargrove on “Straight, No Chaser.” At slower tempos he’s less distinguished: “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” a vehicle for special guest Chris Botti, doesn’t add up to much; “Besame Mucho,” in a light bossa feel, is only a bit better. But “Dat Dere,” like last year’s “Moanin’,” reveals Eldar’s intuitive regard for the work of Bobby Timmons. Eldar’s originals, too, are smart and deeply felt, although they have their reference points—“Daily Living,” in a bright 7/8, recalls early Brad Mehldau, while “Someday” brings Dave Kikoski’s writing to mind. “Sincerely,” a moving solo piece, precedes the deceptively ornate “Chronicle,” which ultimately settles into burning 4/4 blues.

Originally published in July/August 2006
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