Free Jazz review by Stef

Harris Eistenstadt – September Trio (CF 229)
To review music in July by a band called September Trio may sound a bit premature, yet nature already seems to be in that season now, with cold winds, dark clouds, heavy rains and mushrooms sprouting everywhere, birds hesitating to migrate and thick spiders looking for safer places indoors.

So allow me not to wait till September to review it, if only because it’s a strong album that does not accept a late review.

The trio is Harris Eisenstadt on drums, Ellery Eskelin on sax and Angelica Sanchez on piano. As I mentioned several times before, Eisenstadt is a great artist, re-inventing himself with each album, not shying away from complexity, but actually looking it up, rhythmically, harmonically, and to his credit, always with the objective to create a great listening experience. The music on this album is not comparable to his modern “Canada Day” band, neither with his superb genre-bending “Woodblock Prints” or with his African rhythm fest “Guewel”.

No, September Trio brings you into an incredibly sad, almost moaning atmosphere, slow to mid-tempo, with Eskelin’s tremendous tenor offering the lead voice, with tremor in his voice, deep sorrow welling up from deep inside him. His warm sound is recognizable from far and possibly one of the most beautiful around.

Eisenstadt’s compositions are rooted in blues and traditional jazz, but of a sophisticated structural refinement and complexity that is highly modern, with interweaving melodies and rhythms, subtly handled by the piano, which offers the music’s backbone, depth and contrast to the tenor’s phrases. Eisenstadt himself is an excellent drummer, adding polyrhythmic effects and subtle accents, driving the music forward in its elegant dynamics.

Although the album could be the right atmospheric musical backdrop for a lazy and rainy September evening, it will equally please the attentive listener, with its beautiful playing and creative angle and interesting themes and subtle sensitivity.

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