Friday, October 23, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hosting WKCR Musicians Show Tonight October 21 2009 6-9pm

Hosting Columbia University's WKCR Musicians Show tonight to promote Canada Day. Tune in from 6pm-9pm est at 89.9 if you're in NYC or online.

Canada Day on BBC Jazz on 3 until next Monday October 26

Excited to report that the song "Kategeeper" from my new record Canada Day aired on BBC Jazz on 3 with Jez Nelson. You can listen to the podcast here until next Monday October 26.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Long interview just posted at All About Jazz

Clifford Allen did a nice long interview with me recently and just posted it .

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

October Gigs in New York and Canada Day East Coast Tour

october 5 new york, ny, 7pm trio with jonathan goldberger and trevor dunn local 269

october 6 new york, ny, 10am mini canada day with nate wooley Time Out New York The Volume

october 6 new york, ny, 9pm trio with kyoko kitamura and yayoi ikawa local 269

october 9 new york, ny, 9pm quartet with dave ballou, ben gerstein, james ilgenfritz ibeam

october 10 new york, ny, 9pm steve morley/ursel slicht quintet with brian drye, adam lane ibeam

october 12 new york, ny, 8:30pm adam rudolph's organic orchestra roulette

october 19 new york, ny, 8:30pm adam rudolph's organic orchestra roulette

october 21 new york, ny, 6-9pm wkcr musicians show

october 22 new york, ny, 7pm saris brooklyn conservatory

harris eisenstadt and canada day cd release tour (nate wooley, matt bauder, chris dingman, eivind opsvik

october 24-25 new york, ny cornelia street cafe

october 27 toronto, on, 12:30pm york university

october 27 toronto, on, 10pm, double bill with nick fraser quartet tranzac

october 28 buffalo, ny hallwalls

october 29 rochester, ny the bop shop

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sugar - a sweet little movie

Sweet little movie. Meta reviews here.
September is always a month for extended re-visiting of Coltrane's work, it being his birthday and all. Been enjoying Lewis Porter's thoroughly researched and chock-full-of-musical-analysis tome John Coltrane, His Life and Music. Recommended reading for any month.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tyson - incredible and spooky

Saw James Toback's Tyson last night. Strong, deserving reviews at Meta. That guy was a mofo in the 80s/early 90s. Was it really that long ago? So incredible, everything he achieved as a teenager and very-early 20s marauder. Kind of like Tony Wiliams but I guess Tony wasn't such a loose cannon.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Thomas Perry - more Pelecanos than Price

Burned through Thomas Perry's expertly-assembled thriller Silence recently and meant to post about it. NY Times review here. Perry writes concisely, moving through scenes briskly - not without attention to detail - but on the Hemingway side of things rather than Proust....or, to put it another way, more Pelecanos than Price.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

True Blood Season 1... top of the second tier

Good stuff, this show. Not 1st tier HBO, but sad to say those shows - The Wire, Deadwood, The Sopranos - just don't seem to be getting made anymore. Not enough sex, maybe? True Blood, on the other hand... vampies + southern gothic + sex = greenlit second season, third, and beyond no doubt...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

RIP Rashied Ali

Harvie Krumpet... wow!

Well, Wallace and Gromit it ain't, but dare I say Harvie Krumpit is equally original. Dark but uplifting, peculiar and unlike anything else.

Monday, August 10, 2009

link to facebook fan page

Harris Eisenstadt on Facebook

Richard Price, why'd ya let it happen?

Another in a series of fantastic books

that turned into a (I don't even have the nerve to see it to confirm that it's a) terrible movie.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

Thick as Thieves... pretty hilarious

Thick as Thieves, some classic midseventies British humor. Bob Hoskins plays a petty criminal who comes back from three years "in the nick" to find his wife Annie shacked up with his former conman partner and best mate Stan (Inspector Morse John Thaw). A sadly-only 8-episode threesome ensues. Worth searching out...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Frank Langella as Nixon... wow!

"Generally favorable" reviews for Frost/Nixon at Metacritic. For me the film was basically carried by the incredible Frank Langella. If there is such a phrase as ronhowarding a film, that is definitely what happened here. Somehow a semi-faithful adaptation of a play became a fast-paced, slick but entertaining view. All I can say is... smart move hiring Langella to reprise his role from the original play. He lent it some serious weight.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Waltz with Bashir

Great film. Incredible (mostly) real stories dramatized and made all the more powerful through some of the most original animation I've seen since Triplets of Belleville.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Rising Star, Composer, 2009 Downbeat Critics Poll

Very honored to be included in the category of Rising Star, Composer, in the August issue of Downbeat's 2009 Critics Poll.

Friday, July 3, 2009

the good crack

Not that I have much time since the birth of our son Owen Eric Eisenstadt, but once he's down for the night (well, at least for a couple hours) I have been cracking out on The Shield season 7. Halfway through and I just accidently read the season synopsis on wiki in trying to figure out whether there would be a season 8 or not. Oops. Oh well... with crack like this, it's better to know how much you've got left, run through it as quick as possible, and be done with it! Great, engrossing TV. Perfect for a blissfully exhausted dad.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Announcing the arrival into the world of


Born June 13 330 am in Brooklyn, weighing 7 lbs 3 oz measuring 21 inches.

Sara and Owen are happy and healthy and we are all in a deep state of bliss!!!!

Much thanks to the incredible midwives at the brooklyn birthing center: Kathryn, Asya, Andrea and Yulia!

Much thanks to our wonderful doula Lucy!

Much thanks to the poised and gentle attending physician Dr Sol Neuhoff and helpful, considerate nurses at Maimonides hospital.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Momma's Man

Strong reviews here for Momma's Man, Azazel Jacobs' touching film about a thirtysomething who comes to New York for a business trip, stays with his parents, then extends his stay indefinitely rather than returning home to his wife, young daughter and dreary office job. He finally goes home at the end, but it's not the narrative that I found so beautiful. It was the cinematography - the light coming through the windows of the filmmaker's real-life parents Flo and Ken Jacobs' Tribeca loft, the slow moving shots of the thirtysomething stuck on the A train making his way to JFK, the silent, troubled, understated expressions on the parents' faces as they watch their son struggle with his life.

Strange timing watching this movie just as we're expecting our first child. I have absolutely no feelings of running away from the situation we're about to get ourselves into. I cannot wait for the challenges that are coming. In fact that was the one thing about the film that didn't quite work for me. Jacobs' "protagonist" is paralyzed by responsibility, and fumbles around his parents' loft nostalgically reading old comic books and playing homemade punk tunes on a broken jr-sized guitar. But this gets old quickly. I found myself thinking "get your act together and go home to your young family" even as I was mesmerized by the the camera following him around as he lingered in the apartment. Worth a look.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Up -a sweet little movie

Well, there I was in the movie theater last night around the corner while Sara was at pre-natal yoga. There was a couple with their 3 year-old daughter, an adult with a pile of 7 or 8 year-olds, and me. That's right, I went to see Up. Maybe it's because Sara is 41 weeks tomorrow and we're expecting our son any day. Maybe I've got a a little soft spot for (fairly) intelligent Pixar animated films. Whatever it is, there I was laughing and (yep) crying a little... It's not as good as The Incredibles, but it's pretty witty.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dull Flame of Desire

Bjork and Antony, killin it.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Still somewhat engrossing

100 pages in and not as happening as Conde's earlier saga which I blogged about enthusiastically before, but I am a sucker for West African historical fiction, so I'll keep on.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Harold and Kumar... pretty hilarious as it turns out

Rotten Tomatoes reviews for Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. Had resisted seeing this for some reason - not consciously, just didn't think it'd be particularly funny.... but Sara and I definitely thought it was hilarious and pretty out i.e. the whole animated hamburger sequence....?!?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Monday, May 4, 2009

Nominated for Up and Coming Artist of the Year by the JJA!

I'm very honored to be nominated in the category of Up and Coming Artist of the year by the Jazz Journalists Association. The awards ceremony takes place in New York june 19. More info here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Early Austerities

Nice NY Times feature from 1999 on Paul Auster here. Found it on this amazingly comprehensive Auster site. Been making my way through The New York Trilogy, a collection of three early Auster novellas. Don't know if I enjoyed the first story, City of Glass, as much as another early Auster story it reminded me of, and actually haven't read the middle story, Ghosts, yet. I am most enthralled by the third story, The Locked Room, which reminds me of Leviathan, an Auster book that came soon after this trilogy was published, and placed very high on my top ten books read in 2008. As the Times feature alludes to, Auster became such a hit in Europe early on because of his allegiance to European existentialists, something European readers aren't used to in American authors. At the same time, his books are full of references to Poe, Hawthorne, baseball and Brooklyn. He manages to cover both sides of the pond.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Greenbelt Conservancy... Who knew?

Our friend Jonathan Goldberger recommended Staten Island as a destination for a day hike. So Sara and I spent a few hours today at High Point Park today, on of the many areas part of the 2800 acre Greenbelt Conservancy. I gotta say, it exceeded expectations. New Yorkers... if anyone is looking for beautiful (almost) pristine nature a few steps wilder than Central Park or Prospect Park and an hour less travel than the beautiful options upstate (at least if you're living in Brooklyn or lower Manhattan), the Greenbelt Conservacy is the place for you. Staten Island. Who knew?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Mad Men

A nice long article from last summer in The New York Times Margazine about the TV show Mad Men. Sara and I have been cracking out on it pretty hard.

I love this description of actors on the set:

"They’re all expert practitioners of the current flavor of show-biz persona: the down-to-earth, up-with-people next-door neighbor who soft-sells his or her obsession with stardust and self-interest with chitchat about, say, the kids, the brilliantine smile buttressed by the unspoken prayer, 'Don’t write me out!'"

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April Goings On

From Improvised Communications:

"After a four-week residency in March at IBeam with his nonet, Woodblock Prints, drummer/composer Harris Eisenstandt is taking a break from leading his own bands in April, but you can still catch him performing in New York with others throughout the month.

04/03: Saris, The Stone
04/05: Korea 21: Music Here and Now, Symphony Space
04/10: Jeremiah Cymerman Ensemble, Roulette
04/11: Aram Shelton Quartet, Chocolate Factory
04/18: Macroquarktet, The Stone
04/20: City of the World: Korean Traditional Music & Change, CUNY Graduate Center

April will also find Eisenstadt hosting The Musician’s Show on WKCR on April 8th and embarking on an extended UK tour with The Convergence Quartet."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"How About that Guy!"

My bro Jeremiah just told me our friend Chris Hoffman was on Letterman last night playing with Marianne Faithful. Killin' tune, killin' band - Greg Cohen, Joey Baron, Marc Ribot, Chris a.o. At the end Letterman points to Joey Baron and exclaims "How about that guy!" Check it out.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


On the topic of small good things, Mike Leigh's slightly disturbing/mostly endearing comedrama Happy-Go-Lucky is a sweet little film as well. Took me a while to get into it, though Sara loved it from the start.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Azur and Asmar

Visual splendor abounds in Azur and Asmar; The Prince's Quest.

Pretty acerbic review here.

The final sentences of of the review are illuminating:

"Only a special sort of parent would take their kid to see Azur and Asmar: the type that taught them how to read before their first day of kindergarten. They should have let it play the States as a “foreign” film."

I think this is true. Lack of story and cheesy dialogue notwithstanding, this is seriously wonderful eye candy, worth a look.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Woodblock Prints tonight Saturday March 14 at Ibeam

Second of a four Saturday residency for Woodblock Prints tonight at Ibeam in Brooklyn. Come on down if you're free.


"Mr. Eisenstadt, a restlessly creative drummer, is presiding over a promising new nonet, Woodblock Prints, every Saturday this month."
- NY Times

"Harris Eisenstadt produced one of 2008’s most memorable avant-jazz releases, the African-inspired Guewel. Tonight the highly imaginative drummer-composer performs with a new nonet inspired by Japanese woodblock prints."
- Time Out New York

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Cocktail Chatter: Check out Slate's Political Gabfest

Fourth short plug for a podcast I've been enjoyably consuming.'s Political Gabfest is pretty great. John Dickerson, David Plotz and Emily Bazelon are all very intelligent and manage to get to a lively level of barely moderated banter each week. The format here is three people talking about three main topicsfor half an hour and each throwing in a last-couple-minutes segment of cocktail chatter i.e. something interesting to talk about while you're sipping a drink at a party on the weekend. Nice for a change instead of the usual and unusual suspects of pundits making the rounds through the various other programs I tune into. Worth listening to.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Woodblock Prints starting this Saturday March 7 at Ibeam

Wooblock Prints Residency starting up this Saturday, March 7. Ibeam website here.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Something Else!

Just spent the evening with Ornette at his loft yesterday. What a treat! He is such a generous spirit! We had some fantastic soul food, talked about creativity and all kinds of other stuff. WOW!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I Served the King of England

I Served the King of England, a movie carried on the diminutive shoulders of its Baryshnikov junior-looking star Ivan Barnev through beautiful 20-40s Prague and environs. Sweet, absurdist little movie from 60s new wave Czech director Jiri Winzel. Bordered on offensive later in the film, but whimsy and naivete carried it through. Rotten Tomatoes reviews here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Segu Rules

NY Time review of the incredible book Segu by Maryse Conde here. Just started it yesterday and am totally engrossed. My friend Adam hipped me to it. Danny Dawson, a professor at Columbia and an incredible resource of all things African and diaspora-related, hipped him to it. Glad to have it passed down the chain! I've never come across this kind of historical fiction that deals with 18th/19th century West Africa so thoroughly and so poetically. The best news of all; there's a sequel after I get through these five hundred pages. Best reading of the year so far.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Lush Life; Price, not Strayhorn

Been making my way through Richard Price's engrossing "Lush Life" of late. Interesting sort of non-book review here. "I’ve always been interested in when the hyphen disappears — you know, actor-waiter, cabdriver-writer — and you have to settle for who you are,” Price says. His protagonist Eric Cash is not so much a hero or anti-hero; he lives the 20something-30something hyphenated, floundering existence Price alludes to above. Price evokes in loving and disenchanted detail the vastly changed Lower East Side of New York with investigative obsession. The linked review above asks if any other middle-aged white man can convincingly write in the dialect spoken in the projects - the PJ's as they're referred to here. Price's Wire screenwriting colleague George Pelecanos is the only other one I've come across. If anyone knows of someone else who can, please let me know. In the meantime, check both of these writers out.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bill Moyers, doing it to you in your earhole

Third in a series of quick posts about informative podcasts. Bill Moyers has been doing it to us in our ear holes, as it were, for a very long time. His gentle southern lilt is endearing, his humanism is for real, and his pointed questions are definitely in the same echelon as Warren Alney, who I blogged about recently.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Harris Eisenstadt's Woodblock Prints Saturdays in March at Ibeam in Brooklyn

Press release here:

Harris Eisenstadt At Brooklyn’s Ibeam In March

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,, “vital and increasingly influential” (Glenn Astarita, 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, Time Out New York and the Village Voice.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Moving Forward with Improvised Communications

The short press release here:

Improvised Communications is pleased to announce it has been retained by drummer/composer Harris Eisenstadt as his media contact and to promote various upcoming projects in 2009, including the March debut of his newest ensemble, Woodblock Prints, at Brooklyn’s Ibeam Music Studio.

Eisenstadt, a Toronto native currently based in Brooklyn, is known as “one of the most creative and skilled musician/composers incorporating traditional material to create new and vital improvised music” (Robert Iannapollo, AllAboutJazz-New York).

He has performed around the world, earned numerous accolades and commissions for work in a wide variety of musical genres, and appeared on more than 35 recordings. His latest release as a leader, Guewel (Clean Feed, 2008), was named one of the year’s best in publications such as, Time Out New York and the Village Voice.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Recording of WFMU interview

Here is a link to a recording of my interview with Scott MDowell on his show "The Longest Rally" last night on WFMU. Playlist was:

1. Harris Eisenstadt Kaolak/N'Wolof Guewel Clean Feed
2. Orchestre Baobab N'Wolof live mini disc recording
3. Sing Sing Juniors Barambiye live minidisc recording 2007
4. Harris Eisenstadt Dayourabine/Thiolena Guewel Clean Feed
5. Youssou N'Dour Li Ma Wessu Bercy 2004 Live DVD
6. Canada Day Don't Gild the Lilly Canada Day

Check out my lo-fi but more-than-audible minidisc recordings of Orchestra Baobab and more! Also, here's a link to a vid I made of Baobob the same night as the MD recording.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tune into WFMU Wed Jan28 11pm-2am

Tune into the singular WFMU Wednesday, January 28th from 11pm - 2am EST if you're in the New York/New Jersey area or on-line. I'll be joining Scott McDowell on his excellent show "The Long Rally."

Scott's preview of the evening here:

"Harris Eisenstadt is a drummer/composer known for his exquisite melding of West African music and free jazz, as heard on his amazing 2008 Clean Feed release, Guewel, He'll be bringing along a clutch of records from his travels. In addition to some of his own music, expect mbalax, sabar and other West African sounds to float from your speakers, interspersed with personal stories and chat."

It's been gratifying to get lots of positive response to Guewel. I hope its brought Senegambian music to the attention of some listeners who hadn't checked it out much. There's an amazing tapestry of musical history even just in the last 30 years in Senegal and Gambia - where Guewel draws its inspiration from - and sorting out the history can be a labyrinthian task since its so under-documented.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Oh ya, its a Boy!

Fascinating doc about birthing here. Go Ricki Lake! Ok, in the interest of full disclosure, Sara and I are having a boy!!!!!!!! She's due May 30!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Every day is Obama Day

Link to a 1964 BBC interview with Martin Luther King predicting a black president in less than 40 years. Pretty close... here we are!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Left, Right, and Center

KCRW has another excellent program available as a podcast that I highly recommend. Left, Right, and Center is a great listen, especially since the much more coherent Tony Blankley took over on the right from David Frum (yep, not a typo) a few years back. Bob Scheer sounds a little over-offended at times way over on the left (but do check out his excellent blog, and Blankley's Washingtonian via brit public school (?) accent is a tad distracting at times, but props to the show's excellent host Matt Miller for keeping everyone pretty much on task and mad props to the darling of intellectual independents Arianna Huffington. Check it out.

Friday, January 9, 2009

To the Point is it

Been getting into podcasts alot of late, and the LA-based NPR station KCRW's program To the Point with Warren Olney is one radio program that I'm happy to download and listen to as much as time allows. Its even on the AM NPR station in New York but I guess I'm just digging on podcasts in general. More on these I have a feeling in future posts. I used to listen to Warren Olney a bunch during the 6 or so years and thousands of miles driven while I lived in LA 1999-2006. It was on at a very convenient 1pm time and I somehow often caught it. But tuning into podcasts when I want rather than when they're broadcast is the way.

ps For what its worth, I will say that To the Point is so strong precisely because of Warren Olney, and when he takes a (deserved!) break from time to time the show is the weaker for it. His interviewing style, demeanor and improvisational proficiency is deep.