04 JUL 08 ANNE FARNSWORTH
Grammy-nominated pianist/composer Taylor Eigsti recently hit the Jazz Bakery in Culver City, CA, in support of Let It Come To You, his second album for Concord Jazz.
Eigsti garnered acclaim as a prodigy, due to his teenaged emergence on the scene and an already impressive output of recordings and performances. The prodigy label can become a burden, setting up expectations that might stress a young artist. But the 23-year-old's musical development and creativity show no sign of flagging.
The set was a thoughtful mix of standards, originals and revamped rock tunes, like "Not Ready Yet" by the Eels (an alternative rock group, he explained helpfully to us olds). Cross pollination and leaky musical borders are hallmarks of forward-thinking musicians and critical qualities when it comes to keeping a musical genre from stagnating into mere historical relevance.
As an example of this cross-referencing, Eigsti uses an effects unit on the grand piano, a pedal-operated device commonly used by electric guitarists. He asked, by way of explanation, "Why should guitarists have all the fun?" Why, indeed.
Guitarist Julian Lage, a childhood friend, joins Eigsti on this tour as well as the recording. As technically proficient and quirkily imaginative as Eigsti, one imagines this already longstanding relationship a fertile source of inspiration. Bassist Harish Ragavan, Eigsti's former classmate at USC and drummer Jamire Williams fill out the rhythm section with maturity that belies their age. All you Jazz Chicken Littles can rest easily -- the future is safe in these young men's hands.