Taylor Eigsti: Plot Armor

Rating: ★★★

Record and Artist Details

Musicians:

Kendrick Scott
Maya Kronfeld (p, ky)
Julian Lage (g)
Rebecca Kleinmann (fl)
Lisa Fischer (v)
Charles Altura
Harish Raghavan (b)
Taylor Eigsti (p, ky)
Gretchen Parlato (v)
David “DJ” Ginyard (b)
Corinne Sobolewski (string qt)
Mia Barcia-Colombo (string qt)
Terence Blanchard (t)
Ben Wendel (s)
Dayna Stephens (s)
Jules Levy (string qt)
Stephanie Yu (string qt)
Becca Stevens (v)
Oscar Seaton Jr. (d)

Label:

GroundUp

June/2024

Media Format:

CD, LP, DL

Catalogue Number:

GUM0324TECD

RecordDate:

Rec. date not stated

Taylor Eigsti is a Californian-born pianist-composer living in New York, who’s been turning heads with his wittily effervescent piano contributions to high level bands such as those of Terence Blanchard, Kendrick Scott (Oracle) and Ben Wendel.

The high-energy, contemporary crossover approach on his recordings as leader meanwhile, have won him admiration among both Grammy academy voters and those with an ear for more genre-dissolving, contemporary jazz hybrids.

Plot Armor is his ninth album and it builds – slightly expanding and refining the sound canvas – on his 2021 Grammy triumph Tree Falls. Mashing together such elements as electric jazz, Americana/fusion-pop influenced orchestral rock soundscapes and hip hop rhythms and flanked by an impressive pool of musicians that are also frequent collaborators, Eigsti utilises well his experience with regional US orchestras by writing and arranging for a string section whose main source of inspiration is the outstanding Turtle Island String Quartet, with whom Eigsti collaborates as part of Terence Blanchard’s E-Collective.

There’s a mellower, more pared-down approach to ballads perhaps so as not to sweeten them up too much, with non-instrumentals sung by a few emotive singular vocalists, Gretchen Parlato being the most engaging here while one of the few non-originals ‘Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered’ is reinvented but as a slightly bloated pop-fusion ballad.

Nevertheless, the recording is stylishly yet organically arranged and produced. Eigsti writes attractive themes and his upbeat, tastefully flamboyant charms as composer-improviser and some tasty contributions on guitar (Charles Altura/Julian Lage) and saxophone (Ben Wendel) hit the spot. It seems those Grammys are gonna just keep on coming.

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