88 keys are a handful, but when jazz pianist Eldar Djangirov holds down the sustain pedal at the end of his original composition “In Pursuit,” every note seems to linger. Like a great home-run hitter, Djangirov touches ‘em all, and often.
His spectacular technique has never been displayed more impressively than on “Breakthrough,” a trio album that can barely contain the many ideas at Djangirov’s fingertips. Notes rise and fall in torrents, but his playing is always headed downhill. There’s astounding rhythmic complexity, with bassist Armando Gola and drummer Ludwig Afonso joining their bandleader in more stops and starts than a car chase.
Djangirov’s hardly a showboat, however. The 26-year-old Soviet emigrant tackles the Great American Songbook on Gershwin’s “Somebody Loves Me” and Berlin’s “What’ll I Do,” never straying far from the melody but squeezing plenty of beauty from both chestnuts.
Elsewhere, there are hints of Ravel and Prokofiev, no surprise because Djangirov also released a fine classical solo album in 2013. This is jazz rooted in Europe, rather than the blues, but there’s nothing austere or conservative about these performances. Djangirov will pause over a sumptuous chord, then bolt in pursuit of another idea. On “Breakthrough,” he swings hard — and connects.
Eldar Djangirov Trio ‘Breakthrough’ Rating: W W W W