I would guess that child prodigies sometimes tire of the expectations others place on them, but I suppose it comes with the territory whether your name is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or Taylor Eigsti. Not that I’m comparing the talented young jazz pianist to the legendary composer, but Eigsti does seem to be a musical prodigy who has grown into a solid adult performer, and his newest album, Let It Come To You, offers confirmation of that statement.
Eigsti began his career very early — performing professionally with David Benoit and others while still in grade school, and appearing at age 13 with jazz legend Dave Brubeck. And even though he’s still just in his early twenties, he’s already built a resume that includes not only recording success and live performances, but also two Grammy nominations and numerous appearances in jazz polls and publications.
His previous album, 2006’s Lucky To Be Me, fulfilled the promise shown by earlier recording efforts, and also gained the young wizard his first Grammy recognition. He’s now followed up on that with his newest, also on the Concord label, and Let It Come To You is already climbing the charts.
Joining Eigsti are some talented instrumentalists, including guitarist Julian Lage, bassist Reuben Rogers, and Eric Harland on drums. He’s also enlisted some guest stars, chief among them tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman, but although he contributes some nice solos the spotlight here is on Eigsti, and he doesn’t disappoint.
The selection of pieces includes enough variety to please just about any jazz fan, including a few re-worked old standards, such as “Caravan,” which is given a delightful Latin beat and showcases Lage’s guitar, and something a little softer, Cole Porter’s “I Love You.” Also enjoyable was “Fever,” almost unrecognizable when compared to the Peggy Lee classic and given a sharp edge by Eigsti’s electric play.
The pianist’s own composing talents are on display on a few tracks, and several – including the haunting and inviting “Less Free Will” – are part of what he calls his Fallback Plan Suite. It’s an ambitious but completely enjoyable grouping that shows versatility, and probably does a better job of illustrating Eigsti’s musical sensibilities than some of the more familiar tunes on the album.