harris eisenstadt




ahimsa orchestra


"Just 30, Canadian-born percussionist Harris Eisenstadt has an impressive resume including work with Brits John Butcher, Lol Coxhill, and Simon Fell, and Americans Sam Rivers, ROVA, and Butch Morris. His orchestra makes use of varying instruments – two 12 pc. Ensembles each perform an extended work, allowing Eisenstadt to realize attractive, unpredictable compositions that mix notated and improvised passages. “Non-Violence” sets solo outbursts against heavy combinations of timbres and sections of wry, Stravinskyan reed-writing. “Relief” is darker, sparser, and less conventional. The shape-shifting includes Wagnerian subterranean drones, a mournful processional and a raucous bass clarinet/percussion trio. Both pieces display Eisenstadt’s familiarity with contemporary classical scores as well as territory explored, but not exhausted, by Anthony Braxton and Butch Morris, among others." - Art Lange





"For years, Sam Rivers' date of birth was listed as 1930. He's actually much older, and in these reeds and percussion trios with Rudolph and trap-player Eisenstadt, he sounds as old as the very origins of a music he's graced for five decades. For all his recent activity and a substantial reputation in Europe, Rivers is the forgotten saxophonist of the New Thing. It's ironic that a player who on his day could be as revelatory as John Coltrane and as fierily intense as Albert Ayler should remain less well known and respcted than the now compromised Archie Shepp and the preposterous Pharoah Sanders.

Part of the reason is his dutiful stewardship during the 1970s of Studio RivBea, an important center for contemporary jazz, but one suspects also a drain on Rivers' creative resources. Much of the early stuff has been treated cavalierly by the labels and the earliest thing in the current catalogue is the Impluse trio Live, made with European sideman in 1973, when he was already 50. Fortuantely, Rivers has proved that sometimes just living - not necessarily living well - is the best revenge. The honking tenor tones that head off "Philio" are an old alpha male's warning cry to young challengers. For sheer force and simplicity of tone, there is no one equal to him. Which is why its such a devastatingly effective tactic to start off the set with his floating, almost woody flute sound on 'Sussuration.' He gives his soprano an outing a couple of tracks later, and those who've never heard him before will wonder if its Wayne Shorter in an 'out' moment they're listening to.

Its a ludicrous comparison, only because the two horn men, both outsiders but one of them elastically successful with it, evolve in parallel and at a distance. Wayne learned no more from Sam than Sam has learned from the younger guys who came after him. He doesn't go back to tenor until the very final, title track, which is a pity, except one suspects that these days the lightness and speed of response he gets from the flute are very welcome. It also gives him that primal sound that sits so well with the admirably unfussy percussion of his colleagues."
- Brian Morton



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