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Taylor Eigsti: Lucky To Be Me

Ken Franckling By

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Fire and crisp delicacy go hand in hand on Lucky To Be Me, Taylor Eigsti's major label debut. It is clear that he loves rhythm shifts within a song—and from song to song. His teasing rearrangements of "Giant Steps and "Love For Sale are edgy and delightful. He then turns pop singer Björk's dark ballad "I've Seen It All into a piece of personal introspection.

"Woke Up This Morning is the funky, up-tempo theme song to HBO's TV mega-hit The Sopranos. Eigsti realized the tune's structure is ripe for solo excursions and tight horn section riffs, throwing in some Tyner-esque block chords as a bonus. The indelible melody of "Promenade, from Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition," gets a splendid trio treatment, with bassist Christian McBride opening things up with a teasing, melodic "The Summer Wind intro. Eigsti's arrangement of this wonderful classical composition glows with more of a Vince Guaraldi feel.

"Darn That Dream and Eigsti's equally pensive "Adventure One are trio pieces. "Argument (where Eigsti briefly plays electric piano) and the adventurous "Get Your Hopes Up are originals arranged for his quartet, featuring another young phenom, guitarist and frequent musical collaborator Julian Lage. They co-wrote "True Colors as a duo showcase.

Eigsti, James Genus and Billy Kilson turn Eddie Harris' "Freedom Jazz Dance into a rip-roaring burner. The title track, a standard, is the lone solo piece. It's a beauty—and a chance for Eigsti to reflect musically on what a wonderful place he's in today: just 21, with four independent CDs and a major jazz label debut.

Track Listing: Giant Steps; Get Your Hopes Up; Love for Sale; I've Seen it All; Argument; True Colors; Woke Up This Morning; Promenade; Adventure One; Darn That Dream; Freedom Jazz Dance; Lucky to be Me.

Personnel: Taylor Eigsti: piano; Christian McBride, James Genus: bass; Lewis Nash, Billy Kilson: drums; Greg Adams, Brian Swartz: trumpet; Julian Lage: guitar; Eric Marienthal, Ben Wendel, Adam Shroeder: saxophones; Garrett Smith: trombone.

Title: Lucky To Be Me | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Concord Music Group

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