When: Monday, June 16, 2008 • Where: Dakota • Who: Taylor Eigsti (piano and keyboard), Harish Raghavan (bass), Justin Brown (drums)
In the liner notes to his latest CD, Let It Come to You, Taylor Eigsti writes: “The main reason I’m a musician is because interactive improvisation is the only activity I can possibly think of that forces me to immerse myself completely in the present moment, where I’m truly the happiest.” Listen to interactive improvisation makes me happy. That’s why I go to so many live jazz performances. The energy of what happens on stage fills the room. Every note is in the present moment. You’re there from creation through completion and then it’s gone.
I’ve seen Eigsti once before, in Chicago at the old Jazz Showcase in 2006. Our excuse for the Chicago trip was the big King Tut exhibit at the Field Museum, but we turned it into a jazz blur, going from the Green Mill to the Showcase, the Hyde Park Art Center, Velvet Lounge Hot House, and Andy's. I remember thinking that Eigsti was very young, which he was—21 at the time. (A former child prodigy, he began his performing career at age 8 when he opened for David Benoit.) He’s still very young which is interesting but not what matters most. That would be the music. Tonight we hear original compositions, Wayne Shorter’s “Deluge,” Woody Shaw’s “Jean Marie.” Eigsti plays with strength and speed, imagination and joy. So much joy that he feels the need to introduce “I Got It Bad” by saying, “Right now I’m really happy but I’ll try to channel the angst.” Battle lost; he smiles the whole time.
Hear Eigsti play on his Web site and MySpace page. On his Web site, click on Media to go to a page with videos. Photos by John Whiting.