The New York City Jazz Record review by John Sharpe

CF 276Harris Eisenstadt September Trio – The Destructive Element (CF 276)
Drummer Harris Eisenstadt garners as much recognition for his composing as for his instrumental performances, but on The Destructive Element, the second outing by his September Trio, he manages to combine both in an expansive expressive delight. Tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin and pianist Angelica Sanchez move around, through and out of Eisenstadt’s artful constructs with such command that they make them flexible breathing frameworks, rather than something prescriptive or straitjacketing. And that’s just as well when you have as much to say as this pair. Eskelin takes plaudits as MVP. He’s everywhere, integrating the spirits of Ben Webster and Gene Ammons into a thoroughly modern sensibility. Rugged and bluesy, he instills the program with a gritty late-night ardor both impassioned and opinionated. Sanchez proves the perfect foil, moving seamlessly between tumbling chords, earthy comping and sparkling repartée. Eisenstadt covers the bases, from delivering a master class in maintaining momentum without settling into a steady tempo to savvy tonal shading and probing commentary, all with an easygrace. His one feature, a languidly pulsing intro to the opening “Swimming, then Rained Out” is over before you know it, as the other two take over for a deep indigo ballad while a brace of flinty duets with Eskelin’s tenor emerge organically from the staccato interplay of “From Schoenberg, Part One” and “From Schoenberg, Part Two”. Nothing can be gainsaid about the charts as Eisenstadt keeps everyone guessing. On the flag-waving “Additives”, hard-driving sections continually morph into open form improv while the portentous closer “Here Are the Samurai” sees three separate lines converging and diverging until one final knotty dash. One of the strong suits of this band is a way with a ballad and they don’t disappoint. Eskelin’s slow burning lyricism illuminates “Back and Forth” while his tender lament percolates up through the lilting solemnity of the lovely “Cascadia”. Here and throughout, they keep you coming back only to discover more on each listen.

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