Fight or Flight
Harris Eisenstadt (drumset, percussion), Ellen Burr (flute), Bill Casale (contrabass), Brad Dutz (marimba, vibraphone, crotales), Bruce Fowler (trombone), David Philipson (bansuri flute), Mark Weaver (tuba)
**** Eisenstadt’s second release as a leader almost perfectly balances new-music ensemble compositions with an impressive level of improvisational integrity.
NOTES AND INFO
The harmonic development of the opening section of ‘Rise’ is textbook accurate, but there is a freedom to the improvised sections and Fowler’s mournful statement over the leader’s delicate cymbal figures is impeccably crafted. The flutes are subtly modulated with Dutz’ superb marimba work. Together, they don’t so much subvert the familiar horns-and-piano idiom of a jazz group as extend the language in a new and attractively alien way. ‘People Are Gonna Do What They’re Gonna Do’ is almost a blues march, a dark but never rancorous journey through a troubled landscape with individual testimonies along the way. The closing “Trouble Here, Fly There” begins in a similar vein but then but then breaks out into a more driven line. Eisenstadt brilliantly balances the polarities of the work as a whole- low and high, fast and slow, metrical and free, abstract and almost programmatic – and delivers a set that though short by contemporary standards seem absolutely crammed with material.’ Fellow percussionist Gerry Hemingway contributes a short but illuminating liner note, a model of its kind. - Penguin Guide to Jazz, 9th edition