VIDEO:Taylor Eigsti at the Jazz Standard, May 2008
Listen: "Less Free Will"
Menlo Park native Taylor Eigsti has taken the jazz world by storm
in the last few years. His 2006 album Lucky to Be Me received
two Grammy nominations, and his most recent recording, 2008’s Let
It Come to You, has earned wide acclaim. Since moving to New
York he has gigged widely with his own groups, as well as in a duo
setting with guitarist Julian Lage and other collaborative projects.
Eigsti has also proved himself to be an ambitious composer, arranger,
and bandleader. The title of his new project Free Agency reflects
his practice of assembling ideas and influences from disparate musical
sources the way a football team drafts players. The group’s
sound features adventurous improvisation with an eclectic and unpredictable
mix of rock and R&B rhythms, classical and jazz harmonies, and
the layering aesthetic of electronic music. This performance will
be an early opportunity to hear Taylor’s brand-new ensemble,
which features vocalists Gretchen Parlato and Becca Stevens, keyboardist
Sam Barsh, bassist Harish Raghavan, and drummer Aaron McLendon.
“He’s the most amazing talent I've ever come across. Remember
Do you have any rituals or superstitions when preparing for performances?
I usually don’t have time for any rituals. I am 85% deaf in
my right ear, and so I always have to put the monitors on the left
side so I can hear them better. This also makes me take waaaay too
long in sound checks. As a result, I'm usually left with no time
to get out a Ouija board, light some candles, churn homemade butter,
or do any of those such strange rituals before the show. However,
if it's available, I do throw hand powder in the air like LeBron
Describe your most exciting gig, ever.
The first gig with Free Agency last month! I've had these songs swimming
around in my head for two years, and it feels so incredible to finally
get a chance to play them with humans. The other most exciting gig
might have been performing with Harish Raghavan at Carnegie Hall
Describe the most memorable gig you’ve ever attended when you
weren’t playing but were in the audience.
Björk at Shoreline Ampitheatre, 2007, by a landslide....
Name something you’re most proud of.
My quarterbacking skills :)
What are your hidden talents?
There is an iPhone game called "Arcade Bowling". At one
point, I had the #5 all-time score in the world. I hope my mother
is reading this, and that she is proud of me.
What’s your pet peeve?
Well, I've written some pretty extensive blogs on these. Probably
the biggest thing in the world that I hate is cilantro. This, and
people driving in my blind spot.
What are your two favorite places and why?
Lucerne, Switzerland and Barcelona, Spain. I also love New York,
where I live. And the Bay Area of course!
Is there a particular teacher or teachers who had a strong influence
Cole Dalton, Randy Masters, Shelly Berg, Benny Green, Mulgrew Miller,
and everyone who taught at SJW when I went there. Also, the musicians
I play with FOR SURE!
What advice would you give to young jazz musicians developing their
Come to Stanford Jazz Workshop....
“I’d really love to meet…”
Barack Obama and Zach Galifianakis. Maybe together?
Do you think music should have a message or can it simply be aesthetic? I think it can be both, and it’s healthy to aim for either at