harris eisenstadt




the soul and gone

"last May LA-based drummer Harris Eisenstadt came to Chicago to play with three different lineups of musicians from our strong new-jazz scene. While this kind of ad hoc collaboration is par for the course in improvised music, apparently these one-off engagements left him wanting more. Five months later he returned to record an album with a cross section of the same people--vibist Jason Adasiewicz, trombonist Jeb Bishop, and bassist Jason Roebke--as well as guitarist Jeff Parker and LA reedist Jason Mears. But instead of just leading the group in a free-for-all blowing session, Eisenstadt brought along a variety of complex compositions filled with contrapuntal devices, dense harmonies, and crosscutting lines. On the sextet's forthcoming debut on the 482 Music label, they come together with remarkable precision, delivering wildly energetic performances with unexpected harmonic detail."- Peter Margasak





"Harris Eisenstadt is... fascinated by the horn-and-drum music of Africa. Rather than assign the melody to a lead voice, horn-and-drum ensembles- made up mostly of single-pitched bone, metal, or wood instruments- use a technique called hocketing: several musicians trade notes in rapid succession, so that their total output forms a melodic shape. On Eisenstadt’s recording “Jalolu” (CIMP) the LA-based drummer presents his own audacious take on this technique. In his rigorously contrapuntal arrangements, a few of which incorporate transcriptions he made in Gambia, sometimes Eisenstadt calls for the players to use note-by-note hocketing, but more often than not they make improvised contributions or play hot potato with written parts that overlap like miscut puzzle pieces. Though the deft arrangements prevent the three trumpets from blending into an indistinct blare, the music can get pretty cacophonous: one section of “Seruba” sounds like a brass band committing mutiny."- Peter Margasak



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