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.
Track Listing: I Love You; Timeline; Not Ready Yet; Caravan; Portrait in Black and White; Deluge; Fever; Let it Come to You; Less Free Will (Part I: Fallback Plan Suite); Not Lost Yet (Part II: Fallback Plan Suite); Brick Steps (Part III: Fallback Plan Suite).
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.