9/24: Eldar at Nighttown

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Last month, 22-year-old pianist Eldar Djangirov released the invigorating Virtue, a follow-up to 2007’s Grammy-nominated re-imagination. The new album augments Eldar’s classically tinged, dexterous acoustic piano work with futuristic warping from an electric keyboard. It’s a heady explosion of sound. Eldar’s playing often recalls Brad Mehldau’s, especially on ballads like “Insensitive,” “Iris” and “Lullaby Fantazia.” His tone is deep and full, massed into atomic groupings of colliding piano flurries. He plays with time and, like Mehldau, strikes the count in such a way that he stretches it, unleashing several handfuls of notes that don’t rush the music but winds it down. His compositions lace intricate, classically written passages with equally complex, if more open, improvised choruses. Armondo Gola’s electric bass occasionally supplies some funky gasps of air to the new record, but he also proves the equal of Eldar’s intensity, motoring the music (along with Ludwig Afonso’s never-ceasing, bone-kicking drum attack) into faster, reckless and more thrillingly dangerous modes of operation. The trio plays at 8 tonight at Nighttown (12387 Cedar Rd., Cleveland Hts., 216.795.0550). Tickets: $20. — Matt Marshall

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