Eldar: A Young Jazz Star Goes It Alone
In 2005, jazz pianist Eldar Djangirov was 18 and a month away from graduating high school, but he was already a seasoned performer and recording artist. Back then, he visited NPR's studios and played solo versions of standards such as "Take the 'A' Train," "Armando's Rhumba" and "Ask Me Now," each brimming with rapid-fire pyrotechnics.
Djangirov is 24 now, and has just released Three Stories, an album of solo piano. Its name comes from the different types of tunes included: jazz standards, original compositions and interpretations of classical themes. While on tour in Washington, D.C., he paid another visit to Weekend Edition Sunday host Liane Hansen at NPR headquarters.
"This particular record is a solo piano record, which is an exciting format for me because as a pianist, you begin playing piano solo," Djangirov says. "And for any pianist, solo means something that you've been doing all your life. So it's just a matter of documenting that in an appropriate moment."
Djangirov describes his artistic growth and his work with kids. While in the D.C. area, he visited Kenmore Middle School in Arlington, Va., to work with the jazz band.
"When [students] hear music so early, I think they register it as a positive memory," he says. "And that can have a profound effect on how they appreciate music when they grow up."
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