Tuesday night (September 9th) was opening night at the Blue Note for co-headliners Sophie Milman and Eldar.
Eldar, who has previously performed at the Blue Note, opened the set. This young and extremely talented pianist has already recorded 5 albums including 3 with Sony Classical including the most recent Grammy nominated album, “Re-Imagination”.
During this set, he performed several original Jazz compositions including “Exposition”, and ”Insensitivity”. Although normally very young for this genre, Eldar is already a master of improvisation and full expression. His songs definitely make a clear statement, as they take on a life of their own. Eldar was accompanied by Armando Gola (bass) and Justin Brown (drums).
The trio’s progressive energy, led by Eldar, set the tone for this exciting and entertaining evening.
Sophie Milman (Koch/Linus) had been scheduled to appear a few years back, but due to bad weather delays, her plane didn't arrive until midnight. This week she not only appears, she is a headliner!
Sophie took the stage and immediately connected with the audience during her opening song “Agua De Beber.” Her contemporary look accented the smooth style of this Jobim classic.
The set included a variety of songs from an appealing version of Springsteen's “I'm On Fire” to “Love For Sale” and “People Will Say We’re in Love.”
Sophie was accompanied by Paul Shrofel (piano), Cameron Wallis (sax/flute), Kieran Overs (bass), and John Fraboni (drums)
Sophie shared a little about herself, between songs, which added to the warm and friendly rapport she generated with the audience. As she introduced “Bein’ Green”, Sophie recalled how “out of place” she felt in high school as a result of moving from Russia to Israel to Canada. Milman found solace in her music.
Milman was wonderful with her intimate interpretation of “Tenderly” and turned it on with “Sweet Georgia Brown”, dedicating both these songs to the late Oscar Peterson. She remembered first listening to her dad's collection of Peterson's records at the age of 7 and being strongly influenced by his music.
She dazzled the audience with her closing arrangement of “Undone”, by fellow Canadians Guess Who.
Style, grace, sophistication beyond her years… Sophie can seduce you in ways that few artists can. Sophie Milman is quite a talent!