Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial



The CIA Factbook lists the primary exports of the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan as cotton, wool, meat and tobacco, but it’s also sent a jazz piano wunderkind our way. Eighteen-year-old Eldar Djangirov (who records under just his first name) moved with his parents to the United States in 1998 to further his jazz studies and has just released Eldar with bassist John Patitucci and drummer Todd Strait on Sony Classical.

If you had to imagine a Kyrgyzstan family from which a jazz pianist might emerge, though, it would probably be something like Eldar’s. He began playing the piano at the age of three with the active encouragement of his father, a devoted jazz fan, and his mother, a classical musicologist and piano teacher.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published