Tag Archives: Chris Dingman

Time Out Lisboa review by José Carlos Fernandes

Harris Eisenstadt – Canada Day (CF 157) ****
O baterista canadiano Harris Eisenstadt estreou-se na Clean Feed com um álbum de inspiração africana, Guewel, mas aqui muda bruscamente de latitude para render homenagem ao seu país natal. Rodeou-se para tal de quatro jovens jazzmen cheios de talento – Nate Wooley trompete), Matt Bauder (sax), Chris Dingman (vibrafone) e Eivind Opsvik (contrabaixo) – e compôs oito peças bem variadas.
Num disco que sendo assumidamente moderno, é capaz de seduzir “tradicionalistas”, destaquem-se “After an Outdoor Bath”, com ritmos fluidos e deslizantes e solos de impressionante vitalidade e invenção por Wooley e Bauder, e “Halifax”, de pulsação encantatória e em que Eisenstadt mostra, com a discrição que lhe é usual, a sua deslumbrante panóplia de recursos.

Jazz Blog reviews by Peter Hum

Labels we love VI: Clean Feed

A while back, my fellow jazz journalist *** musician *** dayjobber Bernard Stepien professed to me that he was much better schooled in the avant-garde music of the 1960s and 1970s, and much less conversant with today’s shape of jazz to come. My response to him was: “You should check out what’s on Clean Feed.”

That’s the name of a prolific, nine-year-old Lisbon-based record company, recognized as a leading label by the post-free jazz connoisseurs. According to the Clean Feed website, its 150 recordings are “innovative contemporary jazz projects that can make a difference, building a catalogue that will be internationally recognized by its quality and coherence.” Today, I’ll consider three recent Clean Feed discs, which are admittedly a very small sample to take the measure of the label. 

In addition to recordings by many lesser known but accomplished North American and European players, Clean Feed has released several discs by some of the avant-jazz scene’s established players. Among them is Things Have Got to Change, from reedman and composer Marty Ehlrich. He’s a multi-instrumentalist in his mid-50s who writes for and performs in a variety of instrumentations, and his collaborations with such Association for the Advance of Creative Musicians (AACM) stalwarts as  Muhal Richard Abrams, Leo Smith and Leroy Jenkins go back to the late 1970s. Ehrlich’s Clean Feed disc finds him limiting himself to playing alto saxophone and leading his Rites Quartet, which includes trumpeter James Zollar, cellist Erik Friedlander and drummer Pheeroan Aklaff, all established and admired players in the segment of the jazz community where playing on changes and grooving hard meld with departures from harmonic constraints and other colourful flourishes. Things Have Got to Change consists of five Ehrlich compositions and three by his avant-jazz elder, the saxophonist Julius Hemphill. Throughout, the music is filled with simpatico and vivid expression, as the moods change from tranquil to jagged to urgent to funky — it often feels celebratory.

The disc’s first two tracks are engaging, medium-tempo free-boppers — Rite Rhythms is driven by Friedlander’s groovy ostinato and Aklaff’s minimalist percussion, while Dung, an unrecorded Hemphill composition,  swings as Friedlander plucks quarter notes. Ehrlich and Zollar are both riveting players, alternating liquid lines and piercing cries. Some Kind of Prayer is naturally more sombre, with Zollar’s horn muted and Friedlander picking up his bow for Ehrlich’s hymnal theme. After On the One’s austere bowed cello introduction, Ehrlich and Friedlander state the song’s theme and spin bracing, intertwined melodies. Hemphill’s Dogon A.D. blends odd meter and dissonance with gutsy blues and funk.

I’m very much enjoying the hard-rocking, imaginative and evocative disc Voladores  from Tony Malaby’s Apparitions. Malaby’s a saxophonist in his mid-40s whose combination of brawn, tenderness and unfettered creativity has landed him gigs with John Hollenbeck’s Large Ensemble, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra, Paul Motian’s Electric Bebop Band and other impeccablly inside-and-outside-the-box groups. Malaby’s group Apparitions includes three extremely versatile musicians — bassist Drew Gress, drummer Tom Rainey and drummer John Hollenbeck, who plays not just drums but also marimba, glockenspiel, xylophone and vibraphone, melodica — a whooshy mood-maker in his hands — and even “small kitchen appliances.” As you would expect, the music is always richly textured.

Malaby’s disc is continually delightful, with a masterful mix of direct playing and structural surprises, primal melodies and deep, yet intriguing grooves. The musicians are extraordinarily connected — the evocative music feels less like a parade of solos and more like a succession of group passages, even as Malaby and company tinker with our expectations in terms of how the songs evolve (The standard arcs for a song’s flow of intensity don’t apply on Voladores — and that’s a good thing.) Sour Diesel, Old Smokey and Los Voladores  in particular pack an appealing blend of earthy rhythms and mystery and ought to woo discriminating alt-music listeners. I especially like the programmatic pleasures of Dreamy Drunk, with its slow, baleful beginning giving way to an echo-enhanced stretch of drum-n-bass, which in turn yields to a surprising, rocking conclusion.

Equally brash and mysterious  — despite its title — is Canada Day, from drummer Harris Eisenstadt, a New York-based Canadian expat. Eisenstadt’s joined by trumpeter Nate Wooley, tenor saxophonist Matt Bauder, vibraphonist Chris Dingman on vibraphone and bassist Eivind Opsvik for a set of originals. While these players may be lesser known, they’re do-it-all musicians to a man, balancing sophisticated harmonic playing with more timbrally motivated sounds to create some mighty expansive music. Given this lineup of instruments and how the musicians choose to play them, it’s hard not to think of such mid-1960s inside/out classics as Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch and Jackie McLean’s Destination Out as big-time influences. However Eisenstadt’s music has a contemporary cast too, especially on the fractured funk of After an Outdoor Bath. That track features some especially expressive, hyper-vocal tenor work from Bauder that to me brings to mind both Wayne Shorter and Sam Rivers. Not to be out done, Wooley incorporates sputtering, wheezing and screeching into his solo, to fine effect. Kategeeper is a jumpy, angular, broken funk groover that keeps tensions high. More tranquil and spacious, although nonetheless foreboding, is Eisenstadt’s Halifax. 

That’s a live version of Sentinel, a slow and heavy Masson composition that appears on his quartet’s CD Thirty Six Ghosts. Joining Masson are Colin Vallon playing electric piano, acoustic bassist Patrick Moret and drummer Lionel Friedli for a set of tunes that pull ever so naturally from free jazz, rock, pop to create a wonderfully disorienting blend. Like the North American musicians mentioned above, Masson and his countrymen are intrepid sonic explorers. The disc’s opener, Sirius, supplies emotional complexity from the get-go, with Masson spins melancholy and increasingly urgent lines over floating electric piano chords, burbling bass and clattering drums and cymbals. Le Phasme  is a slow, spare, altered-state song with a patient, shimmering solo by Vallon setting up a cresting turn by Masson. Hellboy is dense, messy, funky and chunky, with Vallon uncorking long lines and distorting his machine’s sound before Masson joins him for the angular theme. Bermuda is all about mixed-meter mysteries, with just a hint of blues, thrown in. Closing the disc is Yurel a plaintive rock ballad — its directness and unabashed lyricism leaven one’s listening after the darker preceding tracks.

Finally, I’ll mention Palace Ghosts and Drunken Hymns, from the Will Holshouser Trio, joined by the Portuguese pianist Bernardo Sassetti. Holhouser’s a New York accordionist, who has been working with trio-mates David Phillips on bass and trumpeter Ron Horton for a dozen years. Their collaboration with Sassetti is the most tuneful of the Clean Feed discs I’m considering today, riddled as it is with strains of folk and classical chamber music. But there’s edginess and lots of improvisatory gusto as well, not to mention plenty of timbral awareness. I like the stately tinge of Danca Palaciana and playfulness of Dance of the Dead. Department of Peace is an understated but moving ballad filled with clear, rich harmonies and Horton’s affecting, pure horn — a song in search of a foreign movie.

In a bit of cross-platform collaboration, I’ve handed these discs, as well as others by Clean Feed, to Stepien, who will be playing selected tracks on Rabble Without A Cause, his CKCU radio program, tonight (Jan. 13) at 11 p.m. Click here to catch the show on the Interweb.

Downbeat review by Peter Margasak

As escolhas de Jazz de 2009 – Público – Nuno Catarino, Paulo Barbosa, Rodrigo Amado

1. Wadada  Leo Smith / Jack DeJohnnete
Tzadik, dist. Flur

Wadada Leo Smith
Spiritual Dimensions

Músico que nunca atingiu o reconhecimento devido por se ter dedicado à criação pura e inadulterada, revela absoluta paixão pelo silêncio como matéria primordial da música. Em “America”, o característico som de pratos de DeJohnette e o sopro penetrante, algo austero, de Leo Smith, dá-nos a sensação de que estamos perante algo especial, um dueto que conjura pensamentos e emoções muito para além da simples música. Em  “Spiritual Dimensions”, rodeado de músicos de excepção – no primeiro CD com o Golden Quintet, e no segundo com o noneto Organic – o trompetista revela uma visão única para o jazz do século XXI. R.A.

2. Keith Jarrett
Testament, Paris/London
ECM, dist. Dargil

Magnífico disco triplo que regista dois concertos do pianista em Paris e Londres, em Novembro e Dezembro de 2008, “Testament” é um monumento. Em longas explorações a solo, Jarrett apresenta as marcas de uma música intemporal, desenvolvendo o seu pianismo lírico de rara intensidade, num evidente pico de forma. N.C.

3. Joe Lovano US Five
Folk Art
Blue Note, dist. EMI

Em “Folk Art”, 22º álbum que grava para a Blue Note, Joe Lovano regressa ao som directo que marcou o início da sua carreira. Reunindo uma formação pouco usual, com duas baterias, piano e contrabaixo, surpreende tudo e todos com um som que se afasta das grandes produções dos últimos anos, como “Viva Caruso”, “Streams of Expression” ou “Symphonica”, e evoca registos mais directos como “Landmarks” ou “Universal Language”. R.A.

4. João Paulo
White Works
Universal, dist. Universal

João Paulo agarra numa selecção de composições do contrabaixista Carlos Bica e injecta-lhes vida nova. Os temas mantêm a essência melódica e a música fica a ganhar quando o pianista improvisa como gosta. Apesar da simplicidade da proposta – João Paulo serve-se apenas de um piano clássico – imprime a sua linguagem e, em alguns casos, as suas versões acabam por soar melhor do que as originais. N.C.

5. Harris Eisenstadt
Canada Day

Clean Feed, dist. Trem Azul

O talento de Harris Eisenstadt como compositor e arranjador, informado não só por uma sólida formação jazzística como também por uma curiosidade sem limites, dá origem a um registo que evoca os mais interessantes projectos dos anos de ouro Blue Note, agregando-lhe simultaneamente elementos do jazz contemporâneo e da nova improvisação. Um bop moderno que é livre, senão na forma, absolutamente no espírito. R.A.

6. Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble
The Moments Energy
ECM, dist. Dargil

Quinto álbum, desde 1992, do grupo liderado pelo saxofonista Evan Parker. Com o apoio de alguns dos seus parceiros habituais (Agustí Fernández, Barry Guy, Paul Lytton, Peter Evans), expande uma pequena orquestra, com assumido investimento electrónico. Navegando entre as dualidades da composição e improvisação, e entre acústico e eléctrónico, o grupo vai construindo um música rica, repleta de pormenores, sempre pautada por uma rígida contenção. N.C.

7. Steve Lehman Octet
Travail, Transformation, and Flow
Pi Recordings

Tomando como base as explorações de Eric Dolphy registadas no clássico “Out to Lunch” e o princípio do movimento M-Base que defendia o ritmo como o ingrediente mais importante da música, subordinando a improvisação ao rigor da escrita e à sua leitura pelo “ensemble”, Steve Lehman apresenta um álbum palpitante do princípio ao fim, numa das mais fortes manifestações de originalidade ouvidas nos últimos anos. P.B.
8. Jon Hassell
Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street
ECM, dist. Dargil

Regressado à ECM, 23 anos depois de “Power Spot”, Hassell encontra nos valores de produção da editora o contexto ideal para uma reactualização dos seus princípios sonoros, que aqui surgem mais brilhantes do que nunca, evocando diversos pontos chave da sua discografia. Com sucessivas audições, o admirável mundo do trompetista é-nos revelado numa imensidão de detalhes sónicos. R.A.

9. Lotte Anker / Craig Taborn / Gerald Cleaver
Live at The Loft
Ilk, dist. Multidisc

Lotte Anker é uma aventureira, no melhor sentido do termo. Durante anos ligada ao meio mais conservador do jazz, decidiu um dia arriscar e criar uma linguagem que fosse dela. Fortemente influenciada por artistas como Marilyn Crispell, Peter Brotzmann ou John Tchicai, mergulhou fundo na disciplina da improvisação total, começando a conquistar merecido reconhecimento. Neste registo, a saxofonista desvenda uma luminosa veia impressionista que encontra eco perfeito em  Craig Taborn e Gerald Cleaver. R.A.

10. The Godforgottens
Never Forgotten, Always Remembered

Clean Feed, dist. Trem Azul

The Godforgottens são quatro músicos que conseguem superar a barreira do previsível e do risco calculado. Magnus Broo, Sten Sandell, Johan Berthling e Paal Nilssen-Love juntam esforços numa odisseia de abstracção e liberdade, num jazz que, de tão livre, se liberta do próprio free-jazz. À intensidade sónica do projecto contrapõe-se uma elegância individual única e uma coerência acima de qualquer suspeita. R.A.

Gapplegate review by Grego Edwards

Harris Eisenstadt – Canada Day (CF 157)

Preparation and Spontaneity
With a couple of years of rehearsals and gigs under their belt, drummer Harris Eisenstadt’s Canada Day shows in their new recording that persistence pays off if talent is not lacking. The sort of modern jazz produced on the Clean Feed release has a group cohesion that comes after hard work and time have ripened and matured the initial group idea and concept.

It is no accident or whim that Canada reminds me a little of Albert and Bishop’s group Lucky 7s. Both have horns, vibes and rhythm as the starting components, both have strong compositions and arrangements and equally strong soloists, and both have a free-wheeling loosely propulsive vibes-and-rhythm team. This to me is an indication of a healthy trend in the modern jazz produced today.

The similarities between the two groups are not superficial; however the personalities of the players and the nature of the compositions and arrangements distinguish the two groups as unique entities, not surprisingly.

Canada Day showcases the strong writing of its leader, Harris Eisenstadt. There are composed sections intertwined with the work of players with well developed identities. Nate Wooley has trumpet polish and finesse yet can articulate both as emphatically and as colorfully as the need or the inner urge dictates. This album shows why he has rapidly become a characteristic presence on the New York scene. His tenor mate Matt Bauder may be lesser known, but he turns in some fine performances here, solidly compact, lucid improvisational statements. Then of course the vibes-bass-drums team of Chris Dingman, Eivind Opsvik (who impresses me), and Mr. Eisenstadt, repectively, have much to do with the identity of the group sound. They drive and harmonically construct the foundation for what transpires. And they do it in ways that are creative and loosely flowing. Harris has a terrific sense of what to play and what not to play. He can be busy without in any way disrupting to totality of what’s going on at any moment.

This is a CD that keeps getting better with every listen. There is enough there that you hear some of the more subtle aspects only after long exposure. Now that’s a trait only the very best music has, to my mind.

Jazz and Blues review by Tim

Harris Eisenstadt – Canada Day (CF 157)
A patriotic album that doesn’t resort to brash jingoism… how refreshing! Drummer and composer Harris Eisenstadt has become a mainstay of the growing Brooklyn scene, while performing as a leader and a sideman around the world. Along with Eisenstadt are: Nate Wooley on trumpet, Matt Bauder on tenor saxophone, Chris Dingman on vibraphone and Eivind Opsvik on bass. Opening with “Don’t Gild the Lilly,” they strike a medium tempo with probing vibes and horns blowing across the musical landscape of vibes, bass and drums. Wolley takes a pinched sounding solo over rolling drum accompaniment that is fascinating in its own right. Bass begins “Halifax” with a mellow feel, adding saxophone and drums to the mix. Vibes enter and shimmer along the edges of the open and spacious music. “After an Outdoor Bath” is one of the finest performances on the album, opening with some strong full band playing, Bauder steps up with a deep, visceral tenor saxophone solo followed by sputtering spitfire trumpet. great shifting drum work anchors this exciting and exploratory performance. “And When To Come Back” slows things down a little bit with light percussion and soft vibes laying the groundwork for the tempered horns floating over the proceedings. After a lengthy bass solo, the full group returns to improvise and then close the song. “Kategeeper” and “Ups and Down” have a more rapid pace and plenty of room for the horns to stretch out and improvise impressively. It’s a burden to lay on any group, but the music on this album reminded me of Eric Dolphy’s masterpiece Out To Lunch more than anything else. The angular nature of the Eisenstadt’s compositions, and the sparkling addition by Dingman’s vibes made me think of the great inside/outside music recorded by the likes of Dolphy, Sam River and Bobby Hutcherson for Blue Note in the early to mid 1960’s. It’s heavy company, but well deserved. http://jazzandblues.blogspot.com/2009/11/harris-eisenstadt-canada-day-clean-feed.html

Tomajazz review by Pachi Tapiz

CF 157Harris Eisenstadt – Canada Day (CF 157)
Canada Day del batería y compositor canadiense Harris Eisenstadt es una pequeña joya, además de una broma. Grabada en quinteto, entre sus componentes incluye a figuras que aunque no sean muy conocidas a nivel popular en este momento, tienen ante sí un futuro brillante, como el trompetista Nate Wooley (uno de los más interesantes de la actualidad entre los más jóvenes con permiso de Taylor Ho Bynum), el saxofonista Matt Bauder o el bajista Eivind Opsvik. La música trabaja en ese punto de difícil equilibrio que es compaginar las composiciones y el trabajo del grupo, con el trabajo y las improvisaciones individuales. Otro factor muy importante es su equilibrio en cuanto a su duración: las ocho piezas duran en torno a los 7 minutos, perfectos para dejar trabajar al quintento y para que el oyente quede con ganas de más. http://www.tomajazz.com/bun/2009/11/harris-einsenstadt-canadian-day.html

Eyeweekly review by Dave Morris

CF 157Harris Eisenstadt – Canada Day (CF 157)
Americans don’t think being from Canada is particularly cool — in their minds, we’re basically Upper Montana — so for Brooklyn-based jazz drummer/composer Harris Eisenstadt, naming his album and his ensemble after his home and native land is ballsy. So are the disc’s eight originals, which crackle with intensity despite their knotty, abstract harmonies. The team of Eivind Opsvik’s driving bass and Chris Dingman’s moody vibraphone work echo Dave Holland’s rapport with Steve Nelson, and Eisenstadt supports them with sensitive patterns that keep on pushing the band forward, as well as the occasional funk groove. Trumpeter Nate Wooley and tenor saxist Matt Bauder weave around the rhythm section with ease (especially on “After An Outdoor Bath,” which sounds at times like one of those great freewheeling loft jams from the late ’70s), but Dingman steals the show with his plaintive intro to “Every Day Is Canada Day.” If only.

Village Voice review by Jim Macnie

CF 157Harris Eisenstadt – Canada Day (CF 157)
Ideas can come at any time, and the drummer’s new After An Outdoor Bath was germinated in a post-soak glow. With vibraphone, sax, and trumpet lifting the melody together, it’s a nü-bop nugget, exactly what you’d hope for from this marked experimentalist whose impressive new Canada Day explores the swinging side of things—in an airy, poetic, and nuanced sort of way.

Free Jazz review by Stef

CF 157Harris Eisenstadt – Canada Day (CF 157)
After his magnificent African-inspired album “Guewel”, Canadian drummer Harris Eisenstadt returns to his native soil, celebrating his home country. The band further consists of Nate Wooley on trumpet, Matt Bauder on sax, Chris Dingman on vibes, Eivind Opsvik on bass, in short some of the best young musicians around. In stark contrast to some of his previous albums, the music here is composed, and slightly left of center. I’m sure that many mainstream lovers will also enjoy this one, yet the album has at the same time a kind of unpredictability, a freshness of approach together with an enveloping warmth that is quite unusual. And that sensitivity is to be found in the compositions, the playing and in the interaction. With this band Eisenstadt not only brings a synthesis of many jazz subgenres (from the cool vibe sounds of the sixties to the kind of more modern Dave Douglas approach), but he brings it a step further, showing how modern music can be at the same time clever, rich in texture and emotionally intense. Credits go the whole band, who really play as one.