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August 2008

Taylor Eigsti
Let It Come to You
Concord Records

Taylor Eigsti is only 23 but has already recorded six albums. Let It Come to You is his second for Concord. The first, Lucky to Be Me, received two Grammy nominations. Eigsti has lethal chops, apparent from the first track here. Cole Porter’s “I Love You,” in four minutes, presents extravagant decoration in all tempos, from slow to manic.

Let It Come to You is a very mixed bag. The 11 tunes employ seven different personnel configurations. There are two piano trios, two quartets with either tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman or guitarist Julian Lage, duos with Lage or Colombian harpist Edmar Castaneda, and a septet. Such an approach precludes a unified album statement and results in a sampler.

Some of the samples are stunning. Redman smokes Pat Metheny’s “Timeline,” a passionate celebration of the life of Michael Brecker. Few pianists could stay with the intensity of Redman’s outpourings, but Eigsti hangs in there. “Caravan” is a wild catharsis, Lage and Eigsti shrieking and smearing it with electronic effects pedals. Castaneda and Eigsti, on the one track they are allowed here, jam in Colombian 3/4 and come up with an off-the-wall abstraction of “Fever.”

Some of the samples disappoint. Eigsti’s attraction to a rather insipid Eels song, “Not Ready Yet,” is puzzling. The most ambitious piece, and the one that might have given this heterogeneous, uneven album a focus, is Eigsti’s three-part, 20-minute “Fallback Plan Suite.” It contains extensive detailed information, from guitar and three reeds and overdubbed layers of keyboard instruments, but few interesting ideas. It is not as sweet and superficial as smooth-jazz, but close.

Originally published in August 2008
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