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By Joseph Romero

NEW YORK, 16 APRIL 2009 — In Russia piano prodigies sprout like mushrooms. Evgeni Kissin (b. 1971, Moscow) was one, Konstantin Lifschitz (b. 1976, Kharkov) another. A few mature into great artists; most burn out on the contest or concert circuits and eventually disappear into the dustbins of history. The latest revelation from the ex-Soviet Empire to grab headlines and attract the music business is Eldar Djangirov — an international jazz phenomenon "known for his virtuosity in the style of the great Oscar Peterson " — a perhaps excessive bit of publicity hype.

Be that as it may, jazz aficionados in New York and Seattle will have an opportunity to judge for themselves when the young jazzman plays sets at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center in Long Island City this weekend and Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle next month.

Eldar, as he prefers to be called, was born on 28 January 1987 to Russian parents in the former Soviet Union. He spent his first ten years in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, a province on the eastern border of the then-Soviet Union, where his father, Emil, was a mechanical engineer and his mother, Tatiana, was a professor of music studies. Eldar came to the United States when he was 10. His first performance appearance in the U.S. was at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. Marian McPartland invited Eldar to appear on her NPR Piano Jazz radio show at the age of 12. In 2001, Eldar participated in the jazz piano competition of the 2001 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival and won the top prize. The following year, he won first place in the Peter Nero Piano Competition.

Eldar Djangirov's website describes him as a "hard bop/post-bop pianist" who "has accomplished something that the vast majority of jazz artists - pianists or otherwise - will never accomplish: he landed a contract with a major label and received a Grammy nomination before he could legally be served alcoholic beverages in the USA." Eldar was labeled a prodigy with the release of his debut CD "Eldar" in 2005 and was nominated for a Grammy Award for his 2007 CD "Re-imagining." Billboard magazine has praised him for having "the fastest hands in jazz." Eldar has recorded 5 albums including 3 with Sony Classical. Eldar received a 2008 Grammy Nomination for Best Contemporary Jazz Album.

Jazz Jam: Eldar Djangirov
17 April 2009
LaGuardia Performing Arts Center
31-10 Thomson Ave.
Long Island City, New York 11101
Tel: (1) 718 482 51 51

Eldar Djangirov (piano), Armando Gola (bass) and Ludwig Alphonso (drums)
26 - 27 May 2009
Dimitriou's Jazz Alley
2033 6th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121
Tel: (1) 206 441 97 29

Set times Tuesday and Wednesday are at 7:30pm. Doors open at 6pm on Tuesday and 5:30pm on Wednesday.

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