Free Agent Taylor Eigsti Goes His Own Way at the 2009 Stanford Jazz Festival


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STANFORD, CA — Taylor Eigsti--the Bay Area-born piano phenom who has already released two CD’s through the Concord Records jazz label and has two Grammy noms under his belt at the ripe old age of 24--brings his new project, Free Agency, to the Stanford Jazz Festival for its West Coast premiere on Sunday July 26, 2009 at 7:30 pm. The sextet features Eigsti on piano, along with keyboardist Gerald Clayton, vocalists Becca Stevens and Gretchen Parlato, bassist Harish Raghavan and Aaron McLendon on drums.

The concept behind Free Agency, in the words of Eigsti, represents “...a notion that I have been dwelling on that music should be free of rules that are determined by the conventions of genre. 'Musical Free Agency' as I see it, is a composer's right to assemble a team of musical elements comprised of components of one's own musical taste, without much regard to conventional genre restrictions." The sextet, recently assembled, performs music primarily composed by Eigsti, with additional contributions from the members of the band, including vocalist Becca Stevens and drummer Aaron McLendon. The band also features the unconventional instrumentation of a piano-led group with an additional keyboardist, young virtuoso Gerald Clayton. The music is a unique blend of the harmonies of jazz and modern classical music, with the rhythms of R&B, rock, and hip hop. The result, says Eigsti, is “almost like movie music, a soundtrack or score, capturing emotion, something fun and listenable that you can groove to--but with the complexity of classical and jazz.”

Eigsti, along with fellow local breakout jazz talents Julian Lage, Dayna Stephens and Ambrose Akinmusire, will also be teaching at Stanford Jazz Workshop’s jazz education programs, Jazz Camp & Jazz Residency, during his Stanford visit.

The Stanford Jazz Festival opens June 26th and continues through August 8 on the Stanford campus in Palo Alto. For more information, visit StanfordJazz.org or call 650.736.0324. Tickets to SJF events range from $10 - $40 general admission (depending on concert) with a half-price discount for students with valid ID and children under the age of 18. Box office: 650.725.ARTS (2787) or http://tickets.stanford.edu.


Founded in 1972, the Stanford Jazz Workshop (SJW) has welcomed jazz artists and enthusiasts to the Stanford University campus each summer. As SJW’s programs grew, attracting preeminent artists such as Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz, the organization began presenting public concerts to encourage community appreciation and awareness of jazz. These early concerts served as the beginning of the Stanford Jazz Festival. Today the festival draws 15,000 music enthusiasts and is ranked by many critics and fans as one of the top jazz events on the West Coast.

Stanford Jazz Workshop gratefully acknowledges the following sponsors: See’s Candies, Presenting Sponsor of the 2008 Stanford Jazz Festival; KCSM FM 91.9, Official Radio Sponsor; Palo Alto Weekly, Official Print Media Sponsor, Rosewood Sand Hill, Official Hotel Partner of the 2008 Stanford Jazz Festival; Department of Music at Stanford University; Gallien Krueger; Gordon Biersch Brewing Company; Paiste Cymbals; Stanford Park Hotel; Sheraton Palo Alto Hotel; Vin, Vin Vino Wine; Sonor Drums; Stanford Blood Center; Yamaha Band & Orchestral; Yamaha Percussion Division; Zildjian Cymbals. Stanford Jazz Workshop is funded in part by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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