'Comin' Back Around'
With Taylor Eigsti´s new CD, Let It Come to You, the pianist-composer-bandleader takes another giant stride forward as a significant new voice in the jazz world, and at 23, he stands tall among a select few of his generation, who are in the midst of establishing themselves as the jazz stars of the future.
With this, his sophomore outing, and follow-up release to his 2006 breakout debut CD, Lucky to Be Me, for Concord Records, Eigsti says that this now is "the record that I´ve always wanted to make." Indeed, Let It Come to You reveals Eigsti as an adventurous artist who, while steeped in jazz tradition, is also committed to advancing it. As he writes in the CD´s liner notes, his compositions "provide a glimpse of the new type of music that I am currently gravitating toward and convey the emotional concepts behind their inspiration."
Let It Come to You, is Eigsti´s second CD for the Concord Records label.
Taking it from the top, what were your musical influences growing up and how many still factor into your music today? "My musical influences have drastically and constantly changed over time, and I have gone through many different phases of being intrigued primarily by all of the different genres of music at one point. Most of my early influences were jazz musicians (mostly pianists), and then after I got a bit older I started to develop the maturity that would make me broaden my horizons in terms of what I listened to."
"I've definitely gone through long phases of checking out Oscar Peterson, Gene Harris, Erykah Badu, Bjork, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Sting, Squarepusher, Coltrane, to throw out some names of some musicians I have idolized for a while. Fortunately, music keeps me continually interested and immersed in finding something new, and I think it benefits us as human beings and musicians to listen to as many varied types of music as possible."
For the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking of buying your new CD, how would you yourself describe your sound? "Maybe the best way to describe my music would be that it is ideally an infusion of the energy and emotion of rock, the rhythms of R&B and Funk, the freedom and improvisation found in jazz music, and the harmony from more of a modern classical music vein. I'm definitely influenced by everything, and I want to always allow the natural influence of so many types of music to infiltrate the sound of my own."
"There's something to be learned from listening to any type of music, and so I think park of being a musician and establishing your own sound involves piecing together musical concepts that you have found in the music you like, and letting it all come together and hopefully form a brand new sound. Hopefully someone new to my music would be drawn in by a variety of elements, that attempt to appeal to a variety of tastes."
Please reveal to us how you've managed to survive in this cutthroat business from such a young age and continue to create such wonderful music? "Well being a musician is pretty much the only thing I've known, so I can't imagine doing anything else. I've been fortunate to get so many opportunities to make the music I want to make and to play with some amazing musicians, and I try to use those opportunities as inspiration to work harder and to try to take on as many projects as possible."
"Life is pretty short, so I want to try to play as much music as I possibly can within the time I've given in this lifetime. Music has been something that has gotten me through a lot, so I am lucky to be able to have this language to play with."
Your album title 'Let It Come To You' is an interesting choice, but perhaps it originates from a more personal standpoint for you? Is there a theme to it, perhaps? "'Let it Come to You' is most definitely a rather personal piece. Much of my life has been a serious struggle with many things, and I have found that the only way I can achieve happiness in my life is by letting the world around me take the shape it is naturally inclined to take. When I try to control too many things that really are (and should remain) out of my control, then I feel that it is harder to create personal happiness in the midst of all of that."
"I truly believe that by throwing all of one's energy into making something happen, while leaving the logistics up to the universe as to how something might arrive in your life, then it will happen. 'Let it Come To You' was a title that reminds me to set my goals, remain passionate and work my ass off, and then ride the wave of whatever situations present themselves, instead of trying to map out every minute of my life and then get disappointed when things aren't going "as planned".
How easy (or hard) is it to constantly create a new, vibrant, wanted-by-the-public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderment's/accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? "Well, that's always something that is a professional goal, although any musician in it for the right reasons will tell you that the true personal goal of playing music is to eventually make yourself understand life and emotions better. We all want our sound to be accepted by a general public audience, and all we can do is make music that is fun to listen to and hope that people out there feel the same about it. Ultimately though, any musician is really on their own personal quest for understanding life."
"Music has made me understand myself a whole lot better because the improvised language of shapes in which I think, is a window into my brain and how it works. There are a lot of similarities between the way one improvises, and thinks in general, or holds a conversation. Its interesting sometimes to try to think about what kind of a musical improvisor some of my friends who are not musicians would be, given their personality and thought process. Its a world that will definitely intrigue me my whole life, that's for sure."
Please tell us more about a couple of your fav songs from the new CD and the true depth of meaning behind them for you personally "There were many highlights for me in recording 'Let it Come to You'. I feel that this is definitely my dream record in a lot of ways. One of the highlights was recording a tribute to the late Michael Brecker with one of my musical friends and heroes, Joshua Redman. Also, getting to work with the band I play with the most, Julian Lage, Reuben Rogers, Eric Harland, was great because I felt like we already had a lot of communication and synergy going into the session."
"Another great experience was recording a duet with Columbian harpist Edmar Castaneda. He blew me away - definitely the most amazing craziest harpist I have ever heard - taught me a whole new way to think about 3/4 time within 20 minutes. Probably for me though, the biggest highlight was recording my composition "Fallback Plan Suite" with a group of really talented, patient musicians. It's very heavily layered - 3 flutes, 2 saxes, 4-5 keyboards/piano layers, guitar, bass, drums, etc. and recording/mixing that piece was almost like recording a full orchestra there were so many parts. I am really proud of it though, and it feels like there is definitely an example now on a record of the true direction I want to go towards musically."
What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today if asked by a charity organization ... and why that one in particular?! "Haha a "Charity Organization". I like that - that means I can't turn it down, I guess.....I would go with something by the "Police" - maybe "Hole in my Life" or some song like that. The Police were so musically hip, and they were a band that was cool enough that the general public adored him, but musicians really dug them as well. Sometimes that's hard to do - pleasing both musicians and non-musicians."
"But that band put out some of the baddest music ever, so I'd probably go with something by them. Even some of their songs that might now be considered cheesy weren't cheesy when they first came out. Pop radio has a way of overplaying songs until they lose their appeal, but I think that the Police put out music that was good enough to survive through the test of time and overplaying."
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball here, but Exclusive Magazine love Penguins ... do you?! 'I definitely do! I like that "Penguin March" movie - I saw that on a plane and it was so well-made. Big penguin fan here."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
So, if you would like to win one of these wonderful new CDs, just answer this easy question: This past January Taylor performed with which Symphony in the Bay Area?!
Send us your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these new CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before August 1st with your answer and the subject title CONTEST: TAYLOR EIGSTI CDs to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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