Raised in Toronto, this outing by young stalwart, drummer/composer Harris Eisenstadt signify the last recordings made during his residence on California's West Coast. Now, a vital and increasingly influential New York-based artiste, he looms as one of those rare birds, namely as a drummer who projects an expansive and rather wide-open sense of musicality.
An ambitious effort indeed, Eisentadt renders a personalized spin on four tracks by sax legend Wayne Shorter, where complex charts, featuring chamber-like horns, swing vamps are augmented by notions of realism that is defined by musical wit. Along with a few cosmic meltdowns, intermittently executed within avant-garde and progressive jazz-like improvisation, the drummer throttles the rhythms with massive press rolls and buoyant grooves. On Shorter’s "Chaos," the hornists’ parallel the song moniker via frisky lower register exchanges amid a sinuous string of events and interlacing choruses. And on many of these works, the drummer steers the aggregation with variable flows and keenly implemented dynamics.
Wayne’s brother and free-jazz trumpeter Alan Shorter’s piece titled "Mephistopheles," is led by Daniel Rosenboom’s scorching trumpet solo, topped-off by the ensemble’s climactically-designed crescendos. In addition, the band pursues colorific themes that elicit mystical attributes. But the second part of this album is executed by a horns-based octet and rhythm section. With "What We Were Told," the ensemble’s knotty twists and turns are firmed-up by a multi-layered arrangement. Eisenstadt is at the top of his game here. In effect, his vision and fortitude shines glowingly.