September Trio

Harris Eisenstadt

September Trio

(Clean Feed) (2011)


Harris Eisenstadt (drums/compositions) Angelica Sanchez (piano) Ellery Eskelin (tenor saxophone)

"It’s unlikely that there’s ever been a CD quite like this one... the performances here are at a remarkably high level... tremendous cumulative power, testimony to Eisenstadt’s gifts as an orchestrator, whether composing or playing percussion."

-Stuart Broomer
New York City Jazz Record


September 1 (excerpt)


Harris Eisenstadt is a thinking man. The average listener, getting their feet wet in jazz, tends to think of most of this music as being either made by bespectacled and polite young men in suits playing a chess match with harmony and rhythm as rooks and knights, or a hirsute bunch of wild visionaries howling at the moon and sonically breaking their soul’s shackles, etc., etc.  Yes, those sentences were meant to be ridiculous, but the generalizations don’t fall far from the truth. In this sense, and to take the bipartite division of generalizations to a specific conclusion, Harris Eisenstadt could easily fall into the former category.  Harris is (as are the other 2/3 of this trio) a great architect of structure in sound, an accomplished composer of highly complex music, and one of the most important instrumentalists of his generation.  To make his music all about architecture, technique, and accomplishment, though, is to miss the greater point; which brings me back to my original thesis….Harris Eisenstadt is a thinking man. He does not attempt at being a thinker.  He doesn’t play at being the intellectual, or hide behind the conceptual or technical to invite the listener’s mind away from the music, he simply is a thinking man. This idea is readily illustrated when you meet Harris and especially when you are lucky enough, as I have been, to spend some time working in his bands, dealing with his composition and concept, and watching his music develop.  Harris simply embodies thought. He consists primarily of attention and naturally exudes detail.  He doesn’t hunker down to create unneeded complexity in his compositions or his playing to give us mental gymnastics to follow; he instead puts his incredible natural energy and intelligence into creating a music that is thoughtful, unique, well constructed and crafted, meaningful, and somehow very simple sounding.  It is absolutely out of his nature to do anything else and for that reason alone…. Harris Eisenstadt is a thinking man. What you hold in your hands now is a sign of Eisenstadt’s creative thought.  Along with his like-minded compatriots, Ellery Eskelin and Angelica Sanchez, September Trio works through the drummer’s compositions with a sense of breadth and expansiveness that shows a certain level of empathy to the musical cause at hand.  Each musician becomes a part of the ever-evolving organism of the trio without subverting their highly unique improvisational voices.  Ellery’s broad, bordering on microtonal, swathes of color, Angelica’s dense and knotty harmonic clusters, and Harris’ non-metrical time keeping all play a part in the production of something greater even than the composition while staying true to each musician’s history and mode of expression. This is a new tradition for the trio, a trio for thinkers. Nate Wooley, 2011