Lucky To Be Me
REVIEW by Willard Manus
Concord has also released a new CD by another impressive young jazz star, Taylor Eigsti. LUCKY TO BE ME is Eigsti's fifth album, but the first with a major label. The 21-year-old pianist/bandleader/composer teams up with Christian McBride (bass) and Lewis Nash (drums) on six of the twelve cuts, then collaborates with a different rhythm team (James Genus, bass; Billy Kilson, drums) on four, joined at times by his close friend, 18-year-old guitarist, Julian Lage, and by various horn players, especially on a spirited rendition of the theme song from The Sopranos, "Woke Up This Morning."

Eigsti shows his astonishing range as a musician, not only paying tribute to such jazz classics as Coltrane's Giant Steps, Cole Porter's Love For Sale and Eddie Harris' Freedom Jazz Dance, but offering four original compositions. No matter what he plays, the result is the same: fresh-sounding, deeply-felt music that is never derivative or cliched.