Taylor Eigsti – Plot Armor (ENG review)

GroundUP – Available
Taylor Eigsti - Plot Armor

Here is the ninth album from pianist-composer-conductor Taylor Eigsti and the first album on the GroundUP Music label, featuring a joyful array of musicians you all know: featured guests (singer Lisa Fischer, trumpeter Terence Blanchard); vocals (Gretchen Parlato, Becca Stevens); saxophone (Ben Wendel, Dayna Stephens); guitar (Charles Altura, Julian Lage); keyboards/piano (Maya Kronfeld, the man himself); bass (David “DJ” Ginyard, Harish Raghavan); drums (Oscar Seaton, Jr., Kendrick Scott), as well as numerous appearances from an overlaid string section (Stephanie Yu, Corinne Sobolewski, Mia Barcia-Colombo, Jules Levy).
The beauty of Taylor Eigsti’s compositions draws from both classical culture and his love of jazz, with compositions featuring complex architecture and arrangements imbued with a cinematic lightness. From the first track, our ears are swept into a perfectly orchestrated and carefully arranged whirlwind. Taylor Eigsti states, “I wanted to build the whole album around two concepts: one was using the groups I frequently play with – Oscar and DJ and Charles and Maya,” Eigsti says. “And I also wanted more than one representative of each instrument on this album. It’s been such a joy playing with Harish, Kendrick, and Julian over the years, and I’m so glad they could join us on this project.”
An album that breathes intellectual intelligence in its purest form, we are fully seduced by “Look Around You,” which was adapted from Eigsti’s ambitious Hewlett 50 Arts Commission “Imagine Our Future,” created in 2022 at the Community School of Music in Mountain View, California, and featuring personalities such as Fischer, Kleinmann, and Wendel. “The song speaks to appreciating the little details around you,” Eigsti shares. “Lyrically, I wanted this piece to give the listener something different with each listen. So there are instruments morphing into other instruments and popping up out of nowhere to represent the little things around us that we sometimes don’t notice but make us who we are.”
And thus, we navigate through this album of discoveries and surprises, with the pleasure of listening never ceasing. Taylor Eigsti’s well-established style commands admiration, equally adept in melodic writing as in complex rhythms, utilizing each invited instrumentalist to craft a sonic backdrop in which he can gracefully evolve. The composer, visibly energized by his new production, states, “I’m lucky to have found a group of incredibly cool, open-minded people who encourage exploration, discovery, and new music,” he concludes. “And there are so many great people on GroundUP. I’m already a big fan of much of their music, and I’m friends with so many people on their label that it just feels like another family.”
We receive tons of albums, some like this one speak to us more than others, certainly due to the strength of their intellectual and musical conception and certainly because they correspond to a way of translating today’s artistic expression into thousands of notes…

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, March 17th 2024


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