Harris Eisenstadt: The Soul and Gone (2005)
By Chris DiGirolamo
Jazz is a conversation between musicians, and when it comes down to it, the style has an inherent structure. Musicians should have something to say, and drummer/composer/leader Harris Eisenstadt does, without a doubt. The Soul and Gone is indubitably about compositional expression. With the dynamics of a five o'clock traffic jam, the music still makes sense and takes in even the veteran listener. Though his compositional style may not be for everyone, Eisenstadt does get his musical points across.
The opening piece, "The Evidence of Absence is Not Necessarily the Absence of Evidence, is an introduction to what is to come. With a Sun Ra-like reminder that a brilliant new composer is at the helm, we have one of the most interesting recordings to come in some time. Jason Mears, on alto saxophone and Bb clarinet, takes the listener to a higher place with a style and approach reminiscent of the great Sam Rivers. Guitarist Jeff Parker takes on and masters the role of playing the six-string in a very disjointed compositional style, though at times even he seems to get lost in the structure itself. Vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, bassist Jason Roebke, and trombonist Jeb Bishop, known for his work with Ken Vandermark, round out the six-member ensemble.
"Posauno Y Schlagwerk > Between a Rock thrives. "Kola and the followup "Seed (for Gorecki) paint a picture that is borderline free jazz meets uncertainty. The musicianship is here, though at points you ask what the players are trying to get across to the listener. The session's strengths are in its first four (of seven) selections and the closing piece"And a Hard Place where once again Eisenstadt is spotlighted as both a fantastic drummer and composer. You may have a hard time understanding what he and his associates are striving to express, but repeated listens are warranted and may prove to be enlightening.
Track Listing: The Evidence of Absence Is Not Necessarily the Absence of Evidence; Three Beaths; Portrait of Holden Caulfield; Posauno y Schlagwerk > Between a Rock; Kola #2; Seed (For Henryk Gorecki); And a Hard Place.
Personnel: Jason Adasiewicz: vibraphone; Jeb Bishop: trombone; Harris Eisenstadt: drums; Jason Mears: clarinet, alto saxophone; Jason Roebke: bass.