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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



Lucky To Be Me

Concord Jazz 0013431229926


1. Giant Steps
2. Get Your Hopes Up
3. Love for Sale
4. I’ve Seen It All
5. Argument
6. True Colors
7. Woke Up This Morning
8. Promenade
9. Adventure One
10. Darn That Dream
11. Freedom Jazz Dance
12. Lucky To Be Me
Taylor Eigsti – Piano
Christian McBride – Bass (tracks 1-3, 7-9)
James Genus – Bass (tracks 4, 5, 10, 11)
Lewis Nash – Drums (tracks 1-3, 7-9)
Billy Kilson – Drums (tracks 4, 5, 10, 11)
Julian Lage – Guitar (tracks 2, 5, 6, 7)
Greg Adams – Trumpet (track 4)
Eric Marienthal – Saxophone (track 4)
Brian Swartz – Trumpet (track 7)
Ben Wendel – Tenor sax (track 7)
Adam Schroeder – Baritone sax (track 7)
Garrett Smith – Trombone (track 7)

With colleges like Berklee turning out an endless stream of technically skilled players, it is no surprise to hear a 21-year-old American pianist with a truly impressive technique. He has already played with the likes of James Moody and Ernestine Anderson but this is his debut on a major label. He produces notes in quickfire succession but each one is clearly articulated, as in the opening Giant Steps which hops lithely up and down the steps. Love for Sale is given a jazz-rock rhythm and Taylor’s solo has the muscularity of Oscar Peterson. Promenade imparts a jazz glow to the main theme from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. And the album closes with a tender reading of Lucky To Be Me, which shows that Taylor can be sensitive as well as surprising.

Hand-picked guests add to the album’s appeal. Julian Lage (introduced to us by Gary Burton) contributes some tasty Metheny-like guitar to Get Your Hopes Up (one of several originals by Taylor) and duets lyrically with Eigsti on True Colors (which they wrote together). A horn section is added for the funky (but rather repetitive) Woke Up This Morning. Equally funky but more interesting is Eddie Harris’s Freedom Jazz Dance, with some stunning drumming from Billy Kilson matching the pianist’s hailstorm of notes.

On the album sleeve, Christian McBride comments: "It was fun to play with Taylor. I look forward to watching him blossom." This CD already contains a lot of blossoms, and we can look forward to plenty more bouquets.

Tony Augarde


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