Step Into The Light


While the jazz police keep trying to figure out just how to categorize pianist/composer Taylor Eigsti (Is he bop? Post bop? More of a funk and soul player?), he said it all about his free-spirited approach to his recording career -- and his eclectic third Concord Jazz album Daylight At Midnight -- when he declared, "I can play standards the rest of my life. But I wanted to step away to see what I could do that was different."

Under the influence of veteran jazz producer Matt Pierson, the multi-talented performer does just that, complementing a colorful batch of originals with spirited and/or thoughtful covers of songs by artists who make very interesting artistic bedfellows: Imogen Heap ("Little Bird," featuring vocalist Becca Stevens), Elliot Smith ("Between The Bars"), Rufus Wainwright ("The Art Teacher," with Eigsti doubling on Fender Rhodes) and Nick Drake ("Pink Moon," performed with Eigsti's longtime musical partner and fellow former prodigy Julian Lage).

The most attention will no doubt be paid to the 26-year-old musician's exploration of on "Daylight" from Coldplay's 2002 breakthrough album A Rush Of Blood To The Head. The track is a perfect showcase for the dynamic chemistry and darting innovations by Eigsti and his rhythm section of Harish Raghavan (bass) and Eric Harland (drums).

Now about that "prodigy" thing -- that's where Eigsti started but, with five albums, two Grammy nominations (for tracks from his Concord Jazz debut Lucky To Be Me), performances with Dave Brubeck, James Moody and Red Holloway and an ongoing slate of master classes and clinics, it's time we started calling him a great jazz artist, period.