jaejazz at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 29 23:08:44 EST 2005
My bass player Terry Burrell called me while I was hosting my show last evening after I played some pieces from the new "Eldar" CD and asked how is it possible that someone could play like that at 17 years young? This is a remarkable question - considering who is asking - because Terry and I have had the opportunity to work with one of the most extraordinary young gifted pianist on the scene.....Justin Kauflin. He knows that level of talent is possible at that age. Justin just turned 19 and is now a sophomore at William Patterson in NJ. Justin is also blind. To say he is an amazing pianist in any regard would be an understatement but even more so when you consider his age. Now here comes Eldar - from Russia no less! To steal a phase from Emeril, Eldar has taken it up a notch. Maybe a few and has raised the bar for any young person considering playing this music seriously. He will either be a remarkable inspiration to other young up and coming jazzers or someone that will scare the
B-Jesus out of them.
The first thing you notice is his astonishing technique and love of Oscar Peterson. What I also notice is his ability to keep time and the form straight at tempos that literally couldn't be played faster and makes musical sense. Also the depth of his blues sensibility and understanding of that concept is highly unusual for someone his age. His power and ability to comp behind saxophonist and jazz giant Michael Brecker this smartly, isn't indicative of a 17year old. While there are areas in his playing that need minor refinement such as bettering is dynamic range, his use of space and making sure his high energy level doesn't take him into the hyper category, Eldar is one of the most mind-boggling pianist I've ever heard in my life. Thanks to Sony for bringing him to all of us.
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