"Harris Eisenstadt, a drummer and composer originally from Toronto, takes a fixer’s approach to music making, looking for ways to fit the pieces together. In his own music especially, he often seems intent on extracting consonance from dissonance or forging ungainliness into grace." (Nate Chinen, The New York Times). Critics have called him "one of the new generation's leading composers" (Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com), "strong proof that jazz is still young and growing," (Greg Burk, L.A. Weekly), "vital and increasingly influential" (Glenn Astarita, jazzreview.com ) and "one of the most creative and skilled musician/composers incorporating traditional material to create new and vital improvised music" (Robert Iannapollo, New York City Jazz Record). The Village Voice's Jim Macnie adds, "He's perpetually building new ensembles to suit the variety of music he hears in his head—that's what composers do."
One of only a handful of drummers equally well-known for his work as a composer, Eisenstadt is among the most versatile and prolific musicians of his generation. His eclectic resume includes studies with some of the most respected names in both improvised music, West African and Cuban drumming, and performances in genres ranging from film and theater to poetry and dance to contemporary classical and opera. Most active in jazz and improvised music, as both an in-demand sideman and a bandleader, he has performed all over the globe, earned commissions from organizations such as Meet The Composer and the American Composers Forum, and appeared on more than 40 recordings over the past decade. His album Woodblock Prints (No Business) garnered album of the year and composer of the year honors in the El Intruso international critics poll (2010). Other recent honors include nominations for Up and Coming Artist of the year by the Jazz Journalists Association (2009) and Rising Star in the Composer category of the Downbeat international critics poll (2009), and the premier of his first piece for orchestra, Palimpsest, by the American Composers Orchestra (2011). As each of his leader releases has since 2003, his latest recordings, Canada Day II (Songlines) and September Trio (Clean Feed), ended up on critics' best of 2011 lists. 2012 will see the release of Canada Day Octet (482 Music, spring) and Canada Day III (Songlines, fall).
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