Jazz phenom Eldar joins Soulive's Neal Evans and Korg at New York's Webster Hall.
We recently invited jazz keyboardist Eldar and Soulive keyboardist Neal Evans to join us at New York's fabled Webster Hall for the unveiling of the new Korg SV-1 Stage Piano. Opened in 1886, Webster Hall is the oldest running nightclub in New York. Hailed as "The Crown Jewel of Greenwich Village" by Eugene O'Neil in 1910 and "The Best Stage in New York City" in 2004 by Prince, Webster Hall seemed the perfect place to introduce the Korg SV-1. We were thrilled to bring these talented artists and the SV-1 together for the very first time.
Ten years ago, keyboardist Neal Evans and his drumming brother Alan invited guitarist Eric Krasno over to play a few tunes. On that day, Soulive was born. Propelled in no small part by Neal's thunderous left hand and genre-melding chops, the band has hit milestone after milestone, and stretched the boundaries of countless musical styles. Always an organ trio at the core, the band has featured a rotating cavalcade of vocalists and instrumentalists, including the recurring horn section of Sam Kininger and Ryan Zoidis who join Soulive on their latest release, Up Here. Recorded in Alan's Studio, the old-school album is also their first for their new label, Royal Family Records.
Eldar Djangirov made his US debut at the Interlochen Center for the Arts when he was just 12 years old. His disciplined piano pyrotechnics quickly placed him in the musical spotlight. After independently releasing two CDs, Eldar (as he is commonly known) signed with Sony Classical. Following on the heels of his Grammy-nominated 2008 album, Eldar's fourth release for Sony Masterworks, Virtue, reflects Eldar's youthful energy as well as a new "maturity" in his work. “In many ways” says Eldar, “you could think of it as a soundtrack to my direct experiences since I've moved to New York City.”
The SV-1 is a completely new and unique instrument from Korg. As a performance piano, the SV-1 features Korg's best (RH3) Graded Hammer Action and, of course, Korg’s finest piano sounds to date. Eldar responded to the RH3 piano action at once, "Well, one of the things that I think is amazing about the keyboard is the touch.”
On the vintage side, the SV-1 also contains every flavor of electric and electronic piano, juicy tone-wheel and grinding tube and transistor organs, funky clavs, real strings, tape strings and string machines. Korg even threw in a couple of polysynth brass patches. It’s all in there.
So what was the reaction? “The new keyboard [SV-1] sounds unbelievable,” Eldar offered. Neal was more specific, saying “I think it's going to replace a lot of keyboards. It replaces you having to lug around three, four keyboards, or having to kind of show up and wonder ‘what is the piano going to be like?’ when you know you have a have a pristine piano here, you know you have a pristine electric piano, a pristine clav, a pristine organ…”
Crafted using Korg's RX (Real eXperience) Technology, each sound is a detailed and authentic re-creation, accurately capturing the full range of expression and dynamics of the original. From the snap of the tine, the release of the hammer, to the click of the contacts, every element has been preserved. Eldar picked up on this immediately. “You can hear the mechanics…the real mechanics of an instrument behind the tines.”
But for Korg, even that is not enough. The SV-1 also recreates the effect pedals and studio processing that gave these sounds their to-die-for character. The proven, tube-driven (12AX7) Valve Reactor circuit adds warmth and realism to period-accurate amplifier models. Together, the three-band EQ, Pre-FX, Modulation FX and Reverb/Delay add yet another dimension of authenticity.
Both of our guests were impressed by how the tube can influence the final tone. Neal commented “That’s what you want to see, you want to know that it's real, that it's not just a bunch of algorithms, there's actually the tube, the warmth.”
Eldar also offered his praise. “The tube I think is what makes the keyboard, what raises the quality of the sound, and raises the bar.” Neal agreed. “Being able to overdrive it, and still have that warm, beefy low end…that’s kind of a hard thing to do, just kinda the nature of overdrives, but this DOES IT!”
Neal perfectly summed up what both artists were thinking. “This is what you've always hoped would happen again … You [Korg] produced a new vintage keyboard.”
We had a great time at Webster Hall with Neal and Eldar. Be sure and visit the SV-1 Stage Vintage Piano page of our Web site and watch the full-length video, including highlights of Neal and Eldar jamming together on the Korg SV-1. As an added bonus, you can also enjoy the video of Eldar tearing it up with Soulive's Eric Krasno at Korg's booth during the January 2009 NAMM show.