Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Harris Eisenstadt, Golden State II

Harris Eisenstadt is a unique voice on the modern jazz scene. He is a composer of sophisticated smarts, a bandleader who knows how to bring out the unique qualities of the players he gathers about him, and a drummer who has his own way.

Golden State II (Songlines 1610-2) is a second volume of small group performances recorded live in 2014 at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. The combination of five quirkily interesting avant compositions and the unique instrumentation of Michael Moore, clarinet, Sara Schoenbeck on bassoon, Mark Dresser on bass and Harris on drums gives the music a timbral openness which with the improvisational personalities of the individuals of the quartet make for a singularity we can appreciate.

There is a jazz heat and a new music explorative bent which combine in ways that define the Eisenstadt style. It is music of an obvious seriousness yet there is also a sort of post-Braxtonian sense of humor one must hear to appreciate.

And all four players give us their personal profiles in ways that evoke Duke Ellington's ability to fashion music well-suited for the individualities of his players.

It all comes together in ways that make you grow into the music steadily as you listen. Make no mistake, Eisenstadt writes some excellent ensemble jazz and the quartet comes through vividly.

Highly recommended.

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