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Harris Eisenstadt: Golden State

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Toronto-born drummer, composer Harris Eisenstadt is headquartered in the fertile artistic environs of New York City, and each new release divulges his thirst for ingenuity. He's emerged as an important voice within progressive jazz circles while gathering the crème de la crème of artists to help support his visions. Thus, Golden State is a polyrhythmic presentation that unites jazz and an ultra-modern chamber perspective, featuring poll-winning flautist Nicole Mitchell and bassoonist Sara Schoenbeck. Recorded in California, the album title refers to Eisenstadt's residency at CalArts in 2012 and other factors that led to this engagement. Eisenstadt's compositions ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Harris Eisenstadt September Trio: The Destructive Element

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Celebrated for his musicality and leadership, drummer Harris Eisenstadt is a modernist who dispels preconceived notions that a drummers' primary function is to keep time, and prop the frontline along with a bassist. With this 2013 instilment of his September Trio, he ingrains organic textures and a touchy feely loose groove modus operandi when not engaging his band-mates in structured unison choruses. Eisenstadt also imparts his clever call and response mechanisms when jabbing with tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin and pianist Angelica Sanchez. Even without a bsssist, the band manages to project a spacious environment, at times tinged with bluesy and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Harris Eisenstadt September Trio: The Destructive Element

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In a jazz setting, the traditional role for a bassist is to keep time, and in effect be the glue that holds a composition--and essentially the jazz unit--together. Maybe that is the reason is why drummer Harris Eisenstadt chose to construct his September Trio sans bassist. Aptly named, The Destructive Element follows the September Trio of Eisenstadt, pianist Angelica Sanchez and tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin's eponymous Clean Feed Records debut from 2011.It's not that the music here is disorganized or chaotic. No, Eisenstadt is a skilled and gifted composer who can arrange music for small ensembles, like his ...

INTERVIEWS

Harris Eisenstadt: Full Steam Ahead

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As well as three current working (and touring) ensembles, a busy recording schedule and a flourishing teaching career, Toronto, Canada-born percussionist/composer Harris Eisenstadt is also a family man. Now settled in New York City, it's been a busy year, with four recordings-September Trio (Clean Feed, 2011), Canada Day III (Songlines, 2012), Canada Day II (Songlines, 2011), Canada Day Octet (482 Music, 2012)-all released within the last twelve months or so; a release schedule rivaled only by guitarist Bill Frisell and pianist Chick Corea.All About Jazz: You have three working ensembles: a quintet, a trio and also a new ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Harris Eisenstadt: Canada Day III

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The third installment in drummer Harris Eisenstadt's Canada Day adventure follows the same winning formula as established by Canada Day (Clean Feed, 2008) and Canada Day II (Songlines, 2011),carving out a distinctive niche on the contemporary jazz borderlands, with a nod to the '60s Blue Note territory of pianist Andrew Hill and reedmen Sam Rivers and Eric Dolphy. Recorded after touring, the band has thoroughly internalized the program, which has a harder edge than its predecessors, achieving a perfect balance between thoughtful arrangements and space for individuals to shine.Even with when restricted to a quintet, Eisenstadt deploys an ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Harris Eisenstadt: Canada Day Octet

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Drummer/composer Harris Eisenstadt has developed into one of the most imaginative writers on the scene for larger ensembles. On Canada Day Octet, he presents the latest installment following on from such larger scale works as All Seeing Eye + Octets (Poo-bah, 2007), and the wonderful Woodblock Prints (No Business, 2010). But this time, the difference is that at the core of his eight-strong group are the members of his regular working band, Canada Day, familiar with both his materials and methods. The expanded lineup affords more scope for richer harmonies and added layers of counterpoint, as well as extending the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Harris Eisenstadt: Canada Day III

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Drummer Harris Eisenstadt has gained steam on the progressive jazz front, largely due to his complex and harmonically variant compositions amid glittering support from like-minded musicians who often lead solo careers as well. His Canada Day band reemerges with a strong program, seeded in multidimensional jazz-tinged spinoffs, featuring free form segments, intricately executed structural components and other factors.Bassist Garth Stevenson launches “The Magician of Lublin," with a creaky and cranky arco bass riff, segueing the band into a crisp, yet restrained mid-tempo swing vamp. Here, vibraphonist Chris Dingman takes charge via his softly resonating lines, followed by the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Harris Eisenstadt: Canada Day III

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Harris Eisenstadt's Canada Day quintet is evidence that an ensemble can be both disciplined and chaotic. With Canada Day III, the drummer/composer presents eight original pieces that, but for his talented sidemen, probably could not exist elsewhere.As with his previous quintet dates, Canada Day (Clean Feed, 2009) and Canada Day II (Songlines, 2011) Eisenstadt's quintet remains the same except for bassist Eivind Opsvik, replaced here by Garth Stevenson. Although the drummer claims not to write tunes for individual players and their styles, there is no mistaking the unique-sounding Nate Wooley. Part perfect chamber player and part slurry growling ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Harris Eisenstadt: Canada Day II

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Are life events audible in music? They would certainly seem to be in the case of Canadian drummer/composer Harris Eisenstadt. Half the tracks on Canada Day II were composed around the time of his son's birth. One track is dedicated to his youngster, and the genesis of two others was related to public schools, so Eisenstadt wanted the cover to recall childhood summers at camp. In fact, there is a pervasive brightness and childlike innocence to much of this second offering from the drummer's Canada Day ensemble, representing a subtle but noticeable evolution from their more edgy eponymous debut (Clean ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Harris Eisenstadt: September Trio

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In the global jazz community, drummer Harris Eisenstadt has spiraled to prominence via his technical capacities and insightful compositional prowess via large and small ensembles. His musicality supersedes that of most drummers, where he takes a holistic approach to variable tangents and architectures. With his September trio, armed with an equally prominent support system, Eisenstadt charts the mood or biorhythms of September, 2010, capturing and propagating a broad plane of sentiment, executed at either slow or medium-tempo processions. “September 1," the album opener, elicits meditations of a late-night vibe, treated by a tepid breeze. Here, tenor sax titan ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Harris Eisenstadt: Canada Day II

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When drummer Harris Eisenstadt debuted a new band on Canada Day 2007, he quite simply called it “Canada Day." Since then, Eisenstadt has nurtured the band through an open concept. He lets the musicians find their own voices, as they navigate his compositions and find a cohesive stream of tributaries that blend into one cohesive flow.Eisenstadt wrote half the songs around the time his son was born and found inspiration for the other tunes at other signposts of his life. Eisenstadt has the ability to look beyond the obvious and go deep into harmonic structure. With Canada Day ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Harris Eisenstadt: Canada Day II

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If you believe most recordings by drummer/composers are positive statements, then Harris Eisenstadt's Canada Day II is more than a glass half full. It is a brimming cup of music. The disc follows 2009's Canada Day, on Portugal's Clean Feed label, with the same lineup. Eisenstadt infuses each recording with a buoyancy and high-spiritedness, not unlike fellow drummers Matt Wilson and John Hollenbeck. Eisenstadt, a student of African drumming, has written for large jazz bands, chamber ensembles, and small groups playing music from classical to rock. His jazz inflection is flavored by his experience in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Harris Eisenstadt: Woodblock Prints

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Canadian drummer/composer Harris Eisenstadt is making a compelling case for complete player status. His name on the CD sleeve does not necessarily predict the contents. Examples include his joyous marriage of jazz and West African rhythms on Jalolu (CIMP, 2004) and Gewel (Clean Feed, 2008), his compositions for large ensembles such as Ahisma Orchestra (Nine Winds, 2006), his adventurous small group writing with Canada Day (Clean Feed, 2009) and The Soul and Gone (482 Music, 2005), and not least his work as an improvisor in collectives such as The Zone with trombonist Paul Rutherford (Konnex, 2006). Now he has drawn ...

ARTIST PROFILES

Harris Eisenstadt

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One normally thinks of the drummer-bandleader chair in this music as easily given to a mentality that embraces “more is more." Whether bombastic or just plain full, drummers' bands often focus on mass, rhythm and time. In the post-free arena, leaders like Gerry Hemingway, John Hollenbeck and Harris Eisenstadt have learned not only that every instrument can be a drum, but that the drum can be every instrument and that the drummer's role in creative music is as guide, follower, accent and architect. Eisenstadt was born in Toronto in 1975 and though the drums were early on ...



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