AAJ-NY: Joe Morris Quartet + Eri Yamamoto Trio

December 29, 2009

In addition to the results of the annual Best of 2009 feature, the January issue of AllAboutJazz-New York also includes new reviews of AUM Fidelity‘s latest releases, the Joe Morris Quartet’s Today On Earth and the Eri Yamamoto Trio’s In Each Day, Something Good (coming January 12th).

“Longtime Morris collaborators Jim Hobbs (saxophone), Timo Shanko (bass) and Luther Gray (drums) all shine throughout this record,” writes reviewer Wilbur MacKenzie of the former. “Hobbs’ solo on ‘Animal’ is nothing short of astounding in its abstract lyricism, replete with throaty vocalizations, dramatic use of negative space and a gradually expanding phrase structure. Morris’ compositions linger in the ear, as the ensemble dynamics in the improvisations always develop and enrich the evocative themes.”

“Yamamoto’s playing, unhurried and unforced, nevertheless demonstrates an active imagination and gift for melody,” declares Robert Iannapollo, “her improvisations avoid sweeping theatrical gestures in favor of focused introspection, in the spirit of someone who stops along the way to pore over the small details of everyday life that often elude those who hurry on. Displaying an intuitive rapport based on umpteen hours of on-the-job repartee, the trio recalls the close commerce and intimate atmosphere of Bill Evans’ classic group, the musical equivalent of an isosceles triangle.”


Michael Musillami’s From Seeds Released Today

May 19, 2009


Playscape Recordings is proud to announce today’s release of the Michael Musillami Trio + 3’s From Seeds, the first title released in the label’s 10th anniversary year.

The follow-up to 2007’s The Treatment, his trio’s critically acclaimed collaboration with renowned violinist Mark Feldman, this release finds guitarist/composer Michael Musillami augmenting his seven year-old trio, featuring bassist Joe Fonda and drummer George Schuller, with trumpeter Ralph Alessi, multi-instrumentalist Marty Ehrlich and vibraphonist Matt Moran.

The group will celebrate the new disc this week with performances at New Haven’s Firehouse 12 (May 22), Teaneck’s The Puffin Foundation (May 23) and New York’s Cornelia Street Cafe (May 24).

What the critics are saying:

“Building on the jazz tradition with graceful strides, From Seeds is one of Musillami’s finest efforts, and a high water mark for a label whose longstanding dedication to quality is documented in each release.”
Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com

“[Musillami] continues to assert himself not only as a very competent performer, but especially as one of the most innovative composers on the scene. This sextet is potent, equally as able to turn on a dime, ride with the wind, or hop aboard a freight train of steaming power and perseverance…a marvelous new music recording of great depth and vision that retains its vibrancy upon repeated plays…highly recommended.”
Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide

“As much as any of their trio dates, From Seeds shows Musillami, Fonda and Schuller to be one of the finest working units in jazz today, with or without the ‘+3’.”
 —Robert Iannapollo, AllAboutJazz-New York

“If you have been impressed with the guitarist’s mature and intelligent compositions, here are six more. If you have listened over the years, you already know that Musillami is an intrepid arranger and when given the opportunity to score his music, he does so with wit and polish. From Seeds is an aural delight, one more stellar recording from Michael Musillami.”
Richard Kamins, Hartford Courant


Harris Eisenstadt At Brooklyn’s Ibeam In March

February 3, 2009

 Drummer/composer Harris Eisenstadt will be in residence at Brooklyn’s Ibeam Music Studio every Saturday night in March. 

This series of four concerts will feature the first-ever performances of his new nonet, Harris Eisenstadt’s Woodblock Prints, featuring Mike McGinnis (clarinet), Jason Mears (alto saxophone), Sara Schoenbeck (bassoon), Mark Taylor (French horn), Brian Drye (trombone), Jose Davila (tuba), Jonathan Goldberger (electric guitar) and Garth Stevenson (bass). 

The group’s music is inspired by depictions of nature found in Japanese woodblock prints, an ancient form of relief printing created from intricately carved wood.

“Eisenstadt is strong proof that jazz is still young and growing,” declared L.A. Weekly‘s Greg Burk.  Critics have called him “a rising presence as a composer of note” (Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com), “vital and increasingly influential” (Glenn Astarita, jazzreview.com) and “one of the most creative and skilled musician/composers incorporating traditional material to create new and vital improvised music” (Robert Iannapollo, AllAboutJazz-New York). 

The Village Voice‘s Jim Macnie adds, “He’s perpetually building new ensembles to suit the variety of music he hears in his head—that’s what composers do.”

One of only a handful of drummers equally well-known for his work as a composer, Eisenstadt is among the most versatile and prolific musicians of his generation.  His eclectic resume includes studies with some of the most respected names in both improvised music and West African drumming, and performances in genres ranging from film and theater to poetry and dance to contemporary classical and opera. 

Most active in jazz and improvised music, as both an in-demand sideman and a bandleader, he has performed all over the globe, earned commissions from organizations such as Meet The Composer and the American Composers Forum, and appeared on more than 35 recordings over the past decade.  His latest, Guewel (Clean Feed, 2008), was named one of the year’s best in publications such as AllAboutJazz.com, Time Out New York and the Village Voice.