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Harris Eisenstadt: Canada Day II

Jerry D'Souza By

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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 in fecund form, this CD turns out to be a nugget, embellished with wit, melody and inventive spark.

Several streams converge into one becoming whole on "Now Longer" and profile the compositional strengths of Eisenstadt. The lengthy bass intro from Eivind Opsvik vents into open space until it is met with the shimmering cascade from the drums that breathe a blithe spirit into the rhythm and the third stream classicism of Nate Wooleys trumpet. Tenor saxophonist Matt Bauder changes the countenance with some hard-blowing phrases that find some sustenance in lightly flexed notes along the way. The tune comes full circle as it eases into softly glowing luminosity and disappears.

"To See/Tootie" is a masterful blend of composition and free jazz. Wooley fires the first salvo, letting freedom ride in a blistering squiggle of notes. Melody finds a voice as Bauder seamlessly makes the transition with gentle urging from vibraphonist Chris Dingman, and the open-ended spacey interlocution of bass and drums. As the music transitions into "Tootie," an incipient beauty pervades the atmosphere. The direction has changed, but the way in which all the elements gel are a testimony to Eisenstadt's remarkable vision and imagination.

The contagious "Cobble Hook" does not stray far from its melodic perch—doing so would deprive it of its soul. Dingman is the first to evoke it with spry enthusiasm, while Bauder cuts a deeper furrow as he dances in and out of the refrain.

Round two from the band affirms its temperament with the stamp of class.

Track Listing: Cobble Hook; To Seventeen; Song For Owen (for Owen Eisenstadt); Now Longer; To Eh; To Be;To See/Tootie; Judo For Tokyo Joe (for John Zorn).

Personnel: Nate Wooley: trumpet; Matt Bauder: tenor saxophone; Chris Dingman: vibraphone; Eivind Opsvik: bass; Harris Eisenstadt: drums, compositions.

Title: Canada Day II | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Songlines Recordings

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