Harris Eisenstadt September Trio – The Destructive Element (CF 276)
Celebrated for his musicality and leadership, drummer Harris Eisenstadt is a modernist who dispels preconceived notions that a drummers’ primary function is to keep time, and prop the frontline along with a bassist. With this 2013 instilment of his September Trio, he ingrains organic textures and a touchy feely loose groove modus operandi when not engaging his band-mates in structured unison choruses. Eisenstadt also imparts his clever call and response mechanisms when jabbing with tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin and pianist Angelica Sanchez. Even without a bsssist, the band manages to project a spacious environment, at times tinged with bluesy and moody afterhours-like treatments.
The trio executes a pulsating and melodic primary theme on “Additives,” prefaced on unity and free-form modalities. Eskelin’s corpulent tone abets his fiery improvisational segments, whether he may be mimicking Ben Webster-style balladry or lashing out with a cavalcade of stormy crescendos. Yet variety is a common denominator throughout, as the trio’s inventions span asymmetrical cadences, and lyrically resplendent three-way dialogues.
“Back and Forth” features Eskelin’s sultry narrative, attractively underscored by Sanchez’ contrapuntal accompaniment, complementing a program synchronously designed with power, eloquence, and fluid mobility. The musicians tackle Schoenberg on two pieces comprised of punctual sax notes, counterpoint, and stringent movements. But they open the forum a tad, by interspersing some improvisation-based joviality into the mix as Eisenstadt generates the underlying momentum via his peppering and prodding. Indeed, September Trio pulls a lot of tricks out of the bag, but it’s a cohesive and largely rewarding set as the musicians infuse a sense of anticipation into the grand schema.