harris eisenstadt



the all seeing eye + octets


"Re-recording a classic Post-War Jazz album in its entirety is an ambitious move, especially from someone as young as Eisenstadt (b. 1975). Re-arranging the album for different instrumentation… would be achievement enough, but Eisenstadt doesn’t stop there. The combination of "The All Seeing Eye"’s ominous harmonies and driving rhythms make a poignant contrast with Eisenstadt’s own long-form pieces. An intricate collision of lyrical harmonies and polyphonic textures, Eisenstadt’s writing is both challenging and accessible… a creative re-imagination instead of a slavish re-creation. The streamlined octet gives a stunning reading to these highly engaging original compositions. The ensemble expertly avoids conventional clichés. Reaching beyond typical notions of free jazz reverie, (the album) ends with one of the most uplifting melodies of recent memory, and culminates in a rousing, buoyant Kwela-inspired groove that sings with a straightforwardness that defies musical boundaries. A stunning combination of the past and the future, “The All Seeing Eye + Octets” is a telling document from a rising artist." - Troy Collins



the zone


"Eisenstadt's gentle yet propulsive trinkles coloring the outlines... Eisenstadt's sticks on his muted snare drum and the rest of his kit indicating his aptitude for the road travelled by the European percussionists."- Jay Collins


the diplomats


"Eisenstadt used an array of sticks, elbows, cymbals and towels in addition to a constantly changing rhythmic bramble patch that added jagged edges."- Ken Weiss



"Eisenstadt provides a plethora of diverse percussive substance in both the quieter segments and those blowing at full gale force... with defiant confidence to make the session atypical and challenging." - Frank Rubolino




"What an interesting ensemble Eisenstadt has put together, where he’s joined by three of the quirkiest trumpeters around and also by the resourceful Laster. The drummer has trained widely in the percussion musics of the world and puts this array of influences to work in this unit, which is inspired in particular by African drum and horn music (Eisenstadt has apparently recently spent two months in Gambia under the tutelage of Foday Musa Suso). It might strike you as perverse to ask players like Campbell, Smoker, and Bynum—such brilliant lyrical mischief-makers—to dig into a project where the horns frequently have a rhythmic function. But firstly, they do it so damn well; and secondly, they’re given ample space to strut their idiosyncratic stuff. The five players lock together to create a single, albeit polymorphous musical line (one which is at times wonderfully indistinguishable from New Orleans gutbucket Jazz). I’m often not sure which trumpeter is which, though I think I can often detect Smoker’s clarion voice (particularly on the infectious opening “Boogie on Lenjeno”) and Bynum’s pinched cornet (particularly on the opening to “Seruba”). Laster often holds down the bottom end, providing the groove platform while the others dance about within the basic rhythmic form. And the leader’s own role within his music is notable. Even when things get rambunctious and/or funked up (again, “Seruba”), Eisenstadt doesn’t mangle the group with percussive showiness; rather, he gently prods, delicately steers, or drops a heavy beat when necessary (check out the seriously grooving “Ahimsa” for evidence). His focus and restraint is comparable to that displayed by John Hollenbeck in his Claudia Quintet, though the basic materials naturally differ. “Mwindo” is the kind of joyous free-song that recalls the Art Ensemble in their heyday, mixed with early Threadgill (and here the leader finally gives himself some space to let loose—give the drummer some!—and he builds a fascinating solo from a single element of the rhythmic pattern he’d been exploring throughout the piece, the crisp closing of his hi-hat). Fascinating, too, that the most abstract, least rhythm-oriented piece should be devoted to fellow percussionist (and Eisenstadt’s frequent playing partner) Adam Rudolph. Nice touch. The dedication to Dolphy is perhaps most reminiscent of the African sources that inspire Eisenstadt; but I’ll be damned if part of the theme of this very open piece doesn’t recall Ornette’s “Dancing in Your Head.” Whether pursuing their independent muses within the rich compositional contexts or shaking with singular force, this quintet possesses a unique energy and focus. Oh and by the way, this is CIMP’s 200th release. What better way to celebrate than with this excellent release. Congratulations, and here’s to much more music of such adventurousness!" - Jason Bivins



last minute of play in this period


"its clear Eisenstadt hears time in his own way." - larry nai



amh trio


"Eisenstadt is a deft handler of the drums, providing significant firepower when needed or simply using shimmering cymbal crashes and brush strokes to supplement the quieter moments... Eisenstadt shades all of it with well-adapted and responsive patterns."





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