By Bill Meyer | Published May 2017
This latest development in composer/drummer Harris Eisenstadt’s work crosses two lines of inquiry. The rich, differentiated string and woodwind textures extend the chamber-like instrumentation of his Golden State Quartet, but the size of the ensemble and the episodic, album-length progress of the music place this disc in the lineage of projects such as his Fight Or Flight and Canada Day Octet.
For every action Eisenstadt takes as a writer and arranger, he provides an equally considered response. Brandon Seabrook’s flinty banjo and the leader’s own swinging drums balance the liberally deployed bassoon, flute and bowed strings. And while the officially named parts of the suite constitute a very detailed piece unto itself, each is bracketed by shorter, looser segments that ease the music’s tension.
This attention to pacing, detail and contrast is one of the best things about Recent Developments. Each stylistic variation is fully explored and each solo fully integrated into a larger framework that is elaborate but never unnecessarily so.
Recent Developments: Introduction; Prologue; Part 1; Interlude (group 1); Part 2; Interlude (quartet); Part 3; Interlude (duo); Part 4; Interlude (group 2); Part 5; Interlude (duo); Part 6; Epilogue. (41:07)
Personnel: Harris Eisenstadt, drums; Anna Weber, flute; Sara Shoenbeck, bassoon; Nate Wooley, trumpet; Jeb Bishop, trombone; Dan Peck, tuba; Brandon Seabrook, banjo; Hank Roberts, cello; Eivind Opsvik, bass.