harris eisenstadt




feature by nate dorward




"Sam Rivers, now well past his 80th birthday, is a gaunt Giacometti sculpture of a man whose appetite for musicmaking remains almost fearsomely keen. He’s a genial figure at his concerts, likely to end an improvisation with a whoop of delight, but as an improvisor (whether on tenor, soprano, flute, bass clarinet or piano) he’s still a probing and spikily intense player. Vista is a encounter between Rivers and the two-percussionist team of Adam Rudolph and Harris Eisenstadt, and the barebones situation – horn pitched starkly against tumultuous, heavyduty grooves – suits him admirably. He’s an instant composer who works with the simplest of materials: he spits out a self-contained theme, works it through half a dozen variations and curtly dismisses it, all in the blink of an eye. Despite his multi-instrumentalism, Rivers is still best known as a tenor saxophonist, perhaps because of that one-of-a-kind lean-and-hungry tone. But his work on other instruments is equally distinctive: on soprano he’s insistent, not harsh but with a cutting edge – the voice of someone who picks his words carefully and intends them to be heard; while his flute-playing is flavourful but unsweetened. There are a few surprisingly songlike moments on the disc – “Plumaseria” contains some charming pennywhistle melodies – but mostly it’s sterner stuff, the work of a rigorous musical intelligence working in-the-moment rather than building a larger expressive/narrative arc: music that doesn't reach out to you unless you're also willing to reach out to it." - Nate Dorward




"(Eisenstadt's) phenomenal control of the full dynamic range of his kit, from ultra-quiet hiss to full-out cracks is impressive." ." - Michael Rosenstein



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