[9 June 2008]
Every new hotshot jazz pianist upstart seems to have built in backlash—do we really have room for another one? With Taylor Eigsti, the answer is an unqualified yes. As the, yep, hotshot jazz pianist upstart moves out of his wünderkind stage and into “what else you got” maturity, he can add another feather to his already-festooned cap with Let It Come to You.
The accolades have been many, the Grammys fruitful, and the live performances invigorating. Eigsti’s common thread is trusting his own ear for brilliant harmony: anything he touches feels balanced, no matter how sparkling a progression, jostling an idea, or accommodating a guest (be it his old friend guitarist Julian Lage or a jazz giant like Joshua Redman). Let It Come to You mixes Eigsti’s piquantly named originals with a handful of standards and he presents the whole range in a graceful narrative, from the left-hand acrobatics of “Deluge” to a “Caravan” that takes the standard if not out of its comfort zone, then certainly to the tonal margins. The album closes up with Eigsti’s three-part “Fallback Plan Suite”, which shifts from airy ballad (“Less Free Will”), to disorienting give-and-take between Eigsti and saxophonist Dayna Stephens (“Not Lost Yet”), and finally to a snappier, straighter rhythm scheme (“Brick Steps”).
The keeper is “Timeline”, an intensely realized tete-a-tete between Eigsti and Redman, dedicated to the late Michael Brecker. Brecker would be proud—the confluence of Redman’s bluesy, torrid lines and Eigsti’s radiant runs makes for lean simpatico. A mesmerizing listen.