Taylor Eigsti Trio | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Taylor Eigsti Trio

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Though he only just turned 22, pianist Taylor Eigsti can almost pass as a jazz veteran. His latest CD, Lucky to Be Me (Concord), is his fifth release, and on it he does what veterans do: tries out different material and new approaches that refresh what has already become a distinctive instrumental voice. The album features all-star sidemen as well as a sympatico guest soloist (the even younger guitarist Justin Lage, from Gary Burton's quartet), and it captures Eigsti engaging with a horn section for the first time. Eigsti has a crisp, muscular technique, which electrifies fast tempos and funk grooves, and a sure approach to dynamics, which makes his ballad work remarkably mature. And on familiar material he displays a lively imagination--his arrangements of Coltrane's "Giant Steps" and Eddie Harris's "Freedom Jazz Dance" on Lucky to Be Me stand out among the dozens of precedents, and his reharmonization of "Darn That Dream" shrouds the song in a dark, Chopin-esque mist. He'll be backed by drummer Jody Giachello and bassist John Shifflett. See also Wednesday and Thursday; the trio's run continues through November 5. a 8 and 10 PM, Jazz Showcase, 59 W. Grand, 312-670-2473, $20.

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