Ellora Management Contact Ellora Management Booking Contacts View our artists discography Watch video performances Read reviews See recent press releases about our artists Find out where you can see our artists perform Find out more about our artists


Shahin Novrasli's Reviews and Press Coverage


Shahin Novrasli Home Page

Shahin Novrasli

February 16, 2014
Financial Times FT.com
Mike Hobart -
Shahin Novrasli Trio, Pizza Express Jazz Club, London – review Pizza Express Jazz Club, London

Financial Times FT.com/Arts

February 16, 2014 10:26 pm
Shahin Novrasli Trio, Pizza Express Jazz Club, London – review

By Mike Hobart

The classically trained Azerbaijani pianist has a highly personal approach to jazz

Photo: Shahin Novrasli on stage at Pizza Express Jazz Club ©David Sinclair

It's not another New York yet, but Baku's jazz scene has grown healthily in recent years, helped perhaps by Azerbaijan's burgeoning oil wealth. The annual Baku International Jazz Festival dates from 2005, and a thriving jazz centre showcases local musicians blending jazz with Mugham, the country's traditional folk music.

In this, the locals are following in the footsteps of the extraordinarily gifted 37-year-old Baku-born pianist Shahin Novrasli, who has been lacing his jazz with Eurasian inflections for more than a decade. At this jazz club one-nighter, part of a Europe-wide promotional tour, short clumps of dissonance fizzed and cracked and mournful melodies hung tantalisingly over surges of rhythm.

But most impressive was Novrasli's highly personal approach to jazz, which stays within tradition while avoiding the obvious. If anything, his quickfire, spidery lines remind me of the late 1950s modernists who broke from showtune harmonies and edged towards the avant-garde.

The pianist set out his stall in the long unaccompanied intro to the first set. Novrasli's virtuosity reflects classical training from an early age – a child prodigy, he delivered a prizewinning performance of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No 2 when he was 18 – and both clean articulation and two-handed independence were displayed on the florid cadences and counterpoint lines that opened "Nocturne for Natavan". The band joined for a light Latin groove, with Chris Higginbottom urging on Novrasli's scampers up the keyboard with a brittle roll of drums.

"Insomnia" followed, its theme a snatch of drinking-song that broke into a run and ended with a thump, "Misri Blues" swung, "Saz" was a ballad, and the furiously fast "Baga" was a rampaging mix of Mugham and swing. Each composition went through twists and turns and showcased the solid support.

The second set's highlights included the ominous low-register rumble that introduced "1001 Nights", a lovely reading of Chopin's Prelude in E Minor, and the brooding and stately intro to "Bayati Shiraz", the title track of his excellent new CD. But he saved the best until last, when he burst into song on "Fir & Giz", his voice a mix of Caspian blues and call to prayer, his accompaniment a thrash of modal chords and dazzling runs.





   
   
Ahmad's Upcoming Performances Hiromi's Upcoming Performances
Ahmad Jamal Performances Hiromi Performances
 

Ellora Designs Lotus Flower Inspiration
lotus by Armond Lara


Ellora Management

74B Interlaken Road
Lakeville, CT 06039

Ellora Management
P.O. Box 755
Lakeville, CT 06039

Ph: 860-435-1305
Fx: 860-435-9916

ElloraManagement@aol.com
Laura Hess-Hay, President


  Home · Our Artists · Upcoming Performances · Press Releases · Artists Reviews · Videos · Discography
Booking Contacts · Contact Us
 

Ellora Management is the talent management division of Ellora Designs, LLC
Copyright © 2011 Ellora Designs, LLC All rights reserved.