Harris Eisenstadt's quintet makes its recording debut in the Spirit Room for CIMP Records. The resulting Jalolu bursts with spicy interplay from a three-horn front line, joined and supported by Andy Laster on clarinet and baritone sax, his playing on the latter supplying the bass. Holding it all together, Eisenstadt travels over his drum set like a greyhound, subtle on a cymbal then rolling the snare and snapping the toms.
Laster's low baritone starts "Boogie on Lenjeno" like a freight train engine building momentum. Horns answer the sax line. Taylor Ho Bynum moves easily from slippery to articulate in a free duet with an active Eisenstadt. A horn chart passes through their conversation, and Laster brings a static bass back that causes the horns to respond in kind. Eisenstadt brings it up to shuffle beat with wah wah horns playing old time, breaking down into a free horn trio. Staccato ensemble with machine gun snare take it out.
"Seruba (take 2)" opens as a warm duet between Laster on baritone and Roy Campbell on flugelhorn. Paul Smoker and Bynum cue the chart, and Laster plays a bass line. Eisenstadt brings cool snare work, with hi-hat hiss. Campbell, with Smoker muted talk horn as Laster on clarinet and Bynum play a ballad chart. The crisp drumming initiates a loose funk arrangement that fragments into growly horn improvs, a period of spirited group interplay, and some baritone searching. The other take to appear here shows a much more aggressive Laster in the opening duet, and he joins the horns after they establish the riff. Everyone attacks the group improvs with more fire, and Eisenstadt unleashes four-handed polyrhythms.
After a near-heroic fanfare, "Mwindo" sets Laster free on baritone, framed by punchy horns. Those horns jump in on the fun and find their own ways over Eisenstadt's staggered beats. Campbell and Bynum share a vibrant exchange ahead of the returning chart and outro. "Go (for Adam Rudolph)" flies low with muted horns and clarinet and Eisenstadt whispering on cymbals.
A disheveled opening chart opens "Jumpin' In (for Eric Dolphy)" and quickly becomes a sparks-flying duet between Campbell and Eisenstadt. Smoker and Laster exchange notes, Bynum getting the last word on cornet. The ensemble ends by blowing the roof off the studio. The second take has Eisenstadt a little subtler on drums and Campbell even more ambitious on trumpet. Brass sheet fly in the wind around Laster's steady baritone. Bynum gets a little bluesier, with Laster's clarinet pointing toward New Orleans.
Wind up toy funk kicks off "Ahimsa," mellowing into Laster's mournful baritone. The horns return to brighten up the mood, Bynum and Laster sound each other out, then Smoker and Campbell take their turn.
With its fearless fiery explorations and smart charts, the Harris Eisenstadt Quintet brings the heat of summer early.
Personnel: Harris Eisenstadt: drums; Andy Laster: clarinet, baritone saxophone; Roy Campbell: trumpet, pocket trumpet, flugelhorn; Paul Smoker: trumpet; Taylor Ho Bynum: cornet.