“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, AllAboutJazz-New York).
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 jazz and 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 a bandleader and in-demand sideman, 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 50 recordings since 2000.
His album Woodblock Prints (No Business) was named album of the year (2010) and he was honored as composer of the year in the El Intruso international critics poll in 2010 and 2012. Other recent honors include nominations for Up and Coming Artist of the year by the Jazz Journalists Association (2009), being included in the Rising Star Percussion (2013) and Composer (2009) categories of the Downbeat international critics poll, and the premiere of his first piece for orchestra, Palimpsest, by the American Composers Orchestra (2011). A new orchestral work, Four Songs, commissioned by the Brooklyn Conservatory Community Orchestra, will be premiered November 2013 at the Brooklyn Museum.
His recordings as a leader since 2002 are consistently included on critics’ best-of lists. In 2013, Eisenstadt will release The Destructive Element (Clean Feed) and Golden State (Songlines).