Music is aroused in the soul. Pianist Taylor Eigsti harkens to the call and finds his inspiration in a well-chosen selection of standards and four originals on Let It Come to You
Eigsti's firm sense of harmony and focused direction turn this outing into a delicious adventure. He gives melody its due even as his innovations brim with exciting ideas. His band adds to the impact, and he is astute enough to utilize the line-up for maximum impact.
"Timeline," which is dedicated to Michael Brecker, has Joshua Redman on tenor saxophone. Redman swoops in with the blues and a light touch of swing. His playing is modulated and infuses a strong body. He changes tack for the climax, unleashing molten shards and torrid looping lines that carry the music to an intensely high level that points to his considerable technique. Eigsti never lets the moment eclipse creativity. His focus is assured, his runs luminous and precise. His conversation with Redman is engaging; each plays off the other and elevates the goings-on.
"Deluge" is prime Eigsti. He shapes the tune on a shifting tempo as he uses space to complete the message with a strong left hand that stamps down and articulates the melodic ministrations of his right. He is in prime form aided by the crackling rhythm of drummer Aaron McLendon and bassist Harish Raghavan.
Eigsti composed the three-part "Fallback Plan Suite" that wraps up the CD. He uses a septet to reconstruct his music. The group is in perfect tandem, spotlighting a graceful arch that begins with "Less Free Will." The mood essentially sits in ballad mould, the piano, tenor saxophones and flute lending a soft air. But there is a shifting rhythmic bed that changes the atmosphere, which Eigsti fuels fluidly. The second segment, "Not Lost Yet," is marked by disparate movement. The strands move out in different directions, yet there is a logic to them that is tied by the tenor saxophone of Dayna Stephens and an interpolation from Eigsti. "Brick Steps" has a brighter rhythm and chugs along. The groove is tighter, there is a bit of swing, a slight swagger from tenor saxophonist Ben Wendel, and a happy feeling initiated by Eigsti that the band rides out to end a top notch record.
Personnel: Taylor Eigsti: piano, DigiTech pedal effects, Fender Rhodes; Harish Raghavan: bass; Julian Lage: guitar; Aaron McLendon: drums; Eric Harland: drums; Reuben Rogers: bass; Dayna Stephens: tenor saxophone; Ben Wendel: tenor saxophone; Evan Francis: flutes; Joshua Redman: tenor saxophone; Edmar Castaneda: Colombian harp.