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Eldar makes Napa Valley debut@City Winery / Napa Valley Register

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Watching his nimble fingers race up and down the keyboard gives rise to comparisons of other pianists, earlier times. Some feel the young man's dexterity and ability to improvise remind them of early 20th century jazzman Art Tatum. Others bring up bebop greats and make comparisons to jazz legends Horace Silver and Dave Brubeck. "It's important for me to be myself before I emulate someone else," said 28-year-old Eldar Djangirov, a truly gifted jazz pianist who'll be making his Napa Valley debut at City Winery in downtown Napa on Monday April 27.

When Eldar - he is known professionally by his first name - was signed to Sony Masterworks at the age of 17, the young pianist from Kansas City, Missouri, was already well known for his prodigious pyrotechnics and precocious knowledge of the bebop tradition. Along the way, he's had the good fortune to meet and work with the masters, including Dr. Billy Taylor, Michael Brecker, Marian McPartland, Brubeck, Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Chris Potter, Nicholas Payton, Harvey Mason, Chris Botti, Ron Carter, Pat Martino and Roy Hargrove.

Praised as "a genius beyond most young people I've heard" by the late Brubeck, Downbeat magazine said of the young performer and composer that "his command of his instrument is beyond staggering." The New York Times says Eldar "combines Art Tatum's superhuman velocity with echoes of Oscar Peterson's grandeur."  READ THE FULL Napa Valley Register ARTICLE