Shahin Novrasli: a virtuoso pianist and so much more
Technical virtuosity has always been jazz’s double-edged sword. Empty technique can be the enemy of artistic expression, but in the hands of an artist, advanced mastery of a musical instrument can make discernible the most subtle and unsayable of emotions, just as today’s high-resolution telescopes bring far-flung, previously unseen galaxies into view.
Azerbaijani pianist Shahin Novrasli is undoubtedly a virtuoso, a master of the keyboard with jaw-dropping technique, capable of Jarrett-like flurries of melody, spiced with the folk influences of his homeland. But there is something more here – a willingness to be guided by emotion, to peer into the darkness – which explains why legendary pianist Ahmad Jamal has taken Novrasli under his wing.
For emerging pianists, endorsements don’t come much sweeter.