Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Harris Eisenstadt, Canada Day Quartet Live

To my mind Harris Eisenstadt and his Canada Day Quartet are doing some of the most interesting and original Modern Jazz today. That is born out by their latest Canada Day Quartet Live (Clean Feed 535 CD).

Harris provides the compositions and plays the rather subtly yet definitively plied drums as always. He is joined by a formidable lineup of contemporary improvisers--Nate Wooley on trumpet, Alexander Hawkins on piano, Pascal Niggenkemper on acoustic bass. The band is freeze-framed for a live set at AJMI in Avignon at the end of a nine-gig European tour.

They tackle eight interrelated compositions in their patented loose-tight fashion. Angular yet directional, the set deals with themes, motifs and rather brilliant soloing with a swingingly loose rhythm base. as is their wont.  Harris notes in the liners that the compositions were conceived during a three-week stay at Poschiavo, Switzerland in 2017 as part of the Uncool Artist Residency, and consists of both unison lines and multi-voiced lines.

It is with the combination of compositional foundations and freely articulated group and individual improvs that the music takes on its distinctive qualities and hey, it is much more than just head-solos-head in layout--everything permeates everything else and all the better for it.

This is the Canada Day outfit's seventh album and surely one of their best. Eisenstadt is essential listening for any serious student of the improvised arts today. Hear this!

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