Harris Eisenstadt September Trio/ The Destructive Element (Clean Feed)

23 Aug

New York-based drummer Harris Eisenstadt is originally from Canada. As a composer, he has created several outlets for his music. One of them is the September Trio which features two major players on the New York scene, pianist Angelica Sanchez and tenor sax Ellery Eskelin. The Destructive Elements is a departure from their selt-titled debut when the trio was more abstract and contemplative. For good reasons, trumpeter Nate Wooley described it as “a trio for thinkers.”

On this new album, the band sounds more eloquent and emphasizes the melodic content of the tunes. The beautiful melodies do not preclude unusual ideas such as Sanchez and Eskelin comping whenever Eisenstadt takes a solo. Moreover, the musicians do not follow a prescribed path and seem to dance around each other. They know when to be vocal and when to remain subdued or silent; they understand when to jump in and when to take a step aside.

Eisenstadt’s methods elicit the best out of Angelica Sanchez and Ellery Eskelin who put their considerable talents to the service of the music without a single trace of ostentation. The pianist and the saxophonist are alternately bluesy, lyrical, and angular while the drummer models his patterns according to the direction taken. In the process, the trio creates a perfect marriage of the brain and the soul.

Since he broke out on the scene, Eisenstadt has been flirting with greatness showing patches of brilliance but never producing an album entirely convincing. The Destructive Element is a real breakthrough – and a modern classic.

– Alain Drouot

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