This is the 2nd release by Eisenstadt's stable working quintet Canada Day with Nate Wooley, Matt Bauder, Chris Dingman and Eivind Opsvik, named by ex-Torontonian drummer Eisenstadt for playing its first gig on Canada Day 2007.
Canada Day II
Released in: Canada
"This is the second release by Eisenstadt's stable working quintet Canada Day, which was given its name by this ex-Torontonian for playing its first gig on Canada Day 2007. Harris has been based in NY for a number of years, and before that studied for his MFA in African American Improvisational Music at CalArts, where he also studied Ghanaian drumming and dance, following up with drum studies in Gambia and Senegal. His drumset teachers include Barry Altschul and Gerry Hemingway, and if this is a drummer's record perhaps it's the buoyant, dancing quality of the rhythms that really signals it - how the bass and drums interact with each other and with the vibes and front line from tune to tune, the individual voices pulling against each other to cohere all the more.
If the band is known for the way it blends "a mid-60s Blue Note vibe with elastic post-rock grooves and subtle West African influences" (Troy Collins, AAJ), Harris is quick to point out that it also explores areas of improvisation that are outside of jazz, such as Nate Wooley's dense, active non-pitched textures on trumpet. "There's something that the different strains of [new and free] jazz from the 60s share: a sense of adventure. All those musics are being renewed and updated today in endless different ways - amazing really, considering the culture wars of the 80s and 90s. I think Chinen says it well: I do take a fixer's approach to music making. I'm not a breaker. I'm interested in freedom and structure and different ways they can co-exist. As for ungainliness and grace, I find it exciting when an artist negotiates an ungainly task gracefully. I think that definition fits better for me than the opposite (someone who forges gainliness into disgrace, I guess)....I compose for the band members - their personalities come out in the arrangements - but no matter how detailed my scores are, the strength and vibrancy of the music comes from the band finding its collective voice through rehearsals and performances."
Half of the songs were composed around the time of Harris's son Owen's birth: "My wife had just given birth and I was kind of floating along in a tired and sentimental way. I found myself writing simple songs...sketching straightforward harmonies on the piano or singing melodies in my head and then putting changes to them, in stark contrast to the way I'd formulated 'To Eh,' 'To Be' and 'To See/Tootie,' which were written before Owen was born." The range of the material and its melodic and harmonic interest, the way the band rises to the challenges of the arrangements, and Harris's fleet, substantial drumming make for a very satisfying listen.
Canada Day is just one of Harris's currently active projects as a composer and performer - please refer to his bio at harriseisenstadt.com. Canada Day is touring the east coast in early April with a whole new book of compositions, including an octet version of the band in New York with Ray Anderson, Joe Daley and Jason Mears."-SonglinesSee also Canada Day
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NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
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Catalog ID: SGL 1589-2
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Recorded by Marc Urselli, assisted by Matt Modula at East Side Sound, NY, NY on December 4th, 2010.
Harris Eisenstadt-drums, composition
Matt Bauder-tenor saxophone
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1. Cobble Hook 4:42
2. To Seventeen 5:10
3. Song for Owen [for Owen Eisenstadt] 4:56
4. Now Longer 8:14
5. To Eh 5:37
6. To Be 6:45
7. To See / Tootie 8:29
8. Judo with Tokyo Joe [for John Zorn] 4:32