This is not yet the classic that Eigsti promises to deliver soon.
John Eyles 2008-07-04
Taylor Eigsti is a technically gifted pianist, seemingly able to spin out fluid solos at the drop of a hat - maybe no surprise from a player who made his stage debut aged 8, played with Dave Brubeck at 12 and released his first CD at 14. (He is now 23.) However, if technique was all that Eigsti had to offer, Let It Come To You would not be half the album it is. Instead, here it is not individual virtuosity that repeatedly grabs the attention but group interactions, spontaneity and energy.
The presence of Joshua Redman on tenor saxophone serves to emphasise the class of company that Eigsti keeps. More importantly, even though Redman is on top form - notably on Pat Metheny’s Timeline, where he takes two blistering solos - no way does he overshadow Eigsti or the rest of the band, who match him all the way.
Material is imaginatively chosen and interpreted. Not Ready Yet retains the languid quality of The Eels' original but avoids sounding like a cover, using the song as a vehicle for group work that is both tight and laid-back. Caravan showcases the talents of guitarist Julian Lage, a frequent collaborator with Eigsti, before the leader fires off a free-flowing solo to keep the momentum up. On Fever, the band sits out as Eigsti duets with Edmar Casteneda on Colombian harp; with a soundscape that contrasts sharply with the group sound, the piece acts as a refreshing interlude.
By comparison, Eigsti's own compositions - the title track plus the three-part Fallback Plan Suite - are competent without ever really catching fire. In particular, the suite seems over-written and contains the band's energy rather than releasing it. As it closes the album, it makes for an anticlimactic ending which is at odds with what has gone before. Make no mistake, this is a very good album - but it is not yet the classic that Eigsti promises to deliver soon.