Since signing with SONY MASTERWORKS at the age of 17, the young pianist Eldar has worked tirelessly on the road and in the studio to deepen his exploration of the traditions of jazz—bebop, post-bop and beyond. With the April 5th release of Three Stories, his first solo recording on MASTERWORKS Jazz, Eldar pays homage to his classical roots by combining his musical passions, jazz and classical.
"The title has a double meaning," he explains. "First, it is the name of a three-movement composition which consists of three musical 'narratives,' each telling a distinct story. Second, the album consists of my interpretations and arrangements of predominantly three musical facets: standards, originals, and classical."
The new disc confirms Eldar's membership in that rarefied group of musicians who are masters of both the jazz and classical traditions—greats like Keith Jarrett, Andre Previn, and Wynton Marsalis. At the same time, Eldar can turn a modern pop tune like Dave Matthews' moody "So Damn Lucky" into a showcase of soulful agility.
The album highlights Eldar's astounding range. It includes standards that have been staples of his live repertoire, including a playful version of Sammy Cahn's "I Should Care," an ethereal, deconstructed "Darn That Dream," and a smooth take on the Thelonious Monk classic "In Walked Bud" in 5/4 time. The original title track spins out like a three-movement jazz sonata, zooming from sweepingly lyrical to contemplative to rough-seas and back in a concise five minutes-plus. Eldar can also weave a beautiful simple tune as in his composition "Russian Lullaby."