Taylor Eigsti Quartet at Scullers, Boston
May 14, 2008
From recent recordings with John Scofield, Joshua Redman, Peter Bernstein, Christian McBride, Lewis Nash, James Genus, Billy Kilson, the Brubeck Brothers, and the Czech National Orchestra, 23-year-old Taylor Eigsti has already established himself as a brilliant composer and jazz pianist. At such a young age, his unusual level of maturity has helped him earn the respect of major players as well as labels, as evidenced on his recent Concord CD, Let It Come To You (2008). On May 14 Boston was fortunate to be part of the current album's U.S. release tour, as the quartet brought an enthusiastic audience to its feet at Scullers Jazz Club.
The show featured Eigsti and included three musicians from the new record: Reuben Rogers on bass, Eric Harland on drums, and 20-year-old guitarist Julian Lage, who has recently received international recognition touring with vibraphonist Gary Burton and appears on both of Eigisti's Concord releases.
The quartet performed six tunes from Let It Come To You, including complex arrangements of Cole Porter's "I Love You" and Duke Ellington's "Caravan." Another highlight from the set was an arrangement of the Cooley-Davenport hit song for Peggy Lee"Fever." On Let It Come To You, the song is done as a duo with Columbian harpist Edmar Castaneda. Eigsti announced that working with Castaneda provided an amazing opportunity to learn entirely unfamiliar and complex rhythms. "Tonight we want to use this song just to see what happens," said Eigsti. The result was an exploration of the limitless rhythmic possibilities in live improvised music.
Other standouts included The Eels' "Not Ready Yet," Wayne Shorter's "Deluge," and a hauntingly beautiful original entitled "Broken Lullaby." For an encore, Eigsti and Lage performed as a duo on their co-written tune "True Colors," from Eigsti's Grammy-nominated Concord debut album, Lucky To Be Me (2006).
In the liner notes for Let It Come To You Eigsti writes: "Someone I trust and admire defined happiness as the ability to let go." As a result of the application of this principle, the effect of last night's show was not simply happiness, but instead a reminder of the sheer joy and fun we can experience through live music. As an audience member I felt, to put it in the words of an Eigsti recording, lucky to be me.