On March 28th, CPFJ had the honor of presenting Freddy Cole and his trio for a performance at the Hilton during CPFJ’s Sunday concert series.

The evening before, Mr. Cole and I spent a few hours together enjoying dinner at downtown restaurant. I have to admit, it was the best date ever! Mr. Cole shared lots of fond memories of his earlier days on the circuit – including many “He-couldn’t-possibly-make-this-stuff-up!”flashbacks of the Elks, Masonic Hall and the infamous Lawson’s Bar. (Having grown up in Harrisburg, I knew the stories weren’t farfetched, but rather, par for the course. They were some wild times!)

But the highlight of the evening was having my own private not-on-purpose concert with the fabulous Freddy Cole. The restaurant apparently subscribes to a Sirius jazz channel, one featuring all the jazz legends: Frank Sinatra, Nancy Wilson, Billy Eskstine, Ella Fitzgerald – and plenty others. When I tell you that Mr. Cole knew – and sang – every single song that came on that channel, I’m not exaggerating! (I still can’t believe a man 20+ years my senior recalled every word to every tune, while I have trouble remembering my middle name!)

He’s simply amazing.

Following dinner, we walked back to The Bar at the Hilton to hear Steve Rudolph at the piano. What a once-in-a-lifetime treat for all us listeners as Mr. Cole’s raspy voice accompanied Steve’s playing – totally impromptu – and pitch perfect!

It was the highlight of my evening. In fact, thus far, it’s been the highlight of my year! And definitely…



So THAT’S Eldar!

October 12, 2009


On October 11th, three unassuming “kids” walked onto the stage at Hilton Harrisburg.

Eldar Djangirov, whose bio says is 22-year-old, sits at the shiny grand piano. Sharing the stage are bassist Armando Gola and drummer Ludwig Afonso. They’re just kids, you think to yourself. How great can this be?

And then they played. And it was then that I realized this was some sort of inside joke: no WAY can these “kids” be so young: they’re FAR too advanced. These are 50-yr-olds in young-men bodies.

The musical genius of this trio was absolutely astounding! I had no idea what to expect next. One moment the beat was forthright and traditional; the next – choppy, “in your face,” unexpected.

They were Beowulf/Dragon-slayer…and we were their prey.

The crowd LOVED it!

Through several of Eldar’s own compositions from the latest VIRTUE CD, the trio mesmerized, hypnotized and everything in between.

Do I sound over-the-top? It’s quite fitting.

The old/young boys received a standing ovation.


For me, though, my evening was just beginning after they took their bows: they sat around snapping pictures, signing CDs, books, just like they were regular old folk out for any evening stroll in the park. (As if they didn’t leave us in complete awe. As if, in less than 12 hours, they wouldn’t be on their journey to plunder and pillage the next village along their way to the land of Legends, leaving us mere mortals behind to wonder ‘what just happened?’.)



That’s Eldar.