Watkins & The Rapiers

Harris Eisenstadt Golden State

Harris Eisenstadt (drums, compositions)
Michael Moore (clarinet)
Sara Schoenbeck (bassoon)
Mark Dresser (bass)

Harris Eisenstadt has led critically acclaimed ensembles since 2003, and Golden State is his newest and most fully realized project as a composer/bandleader to date. Founded in 2012 in Southern California while Eisenstadt was in residence at the California Institute of the Arts teaching in Wadada Leo Smith's African American Improvisational Music department, Golden State at first brought together Nicole Mitchell and Sara Schoenbeck, two of the world's leading figures on their respective instruments in contemporary composed/improvised music, and the iconoclastic contrabassist Mark Dresser. A fifth member, singular American expatriate, clarinetist Michael Moore, will join Golden State as a sub for Mitchell during Golden State's summer 2014 Canadian and American festivals tour. The ensemble has performed extensively on both coasts of the U.S. despite its recent formation and geographic challenges – Mitchell and Dresser live in California, Eisenstadt and Schoenbeck live in New York, and Moore lives in Amsterdam. Summer 2014 Canadian and American festivals are Golden State's international festival premiere performances.

Golden State's eponymous 2013 debut on the Songlines label garnered universal critical praise in North American and European publications and appeared on numerous best of 2013 lists. Dusty Groove praised its "unique sense of timing and spacing," while Step Tempest called it "irresistible… music that breathes." All About Jazz Italy cited Eisenstadt's "bold structures and sure compositional voice," while the New York City Jazz Record proclaimed "Eisenstadt's sophisticated themes… suggest that his music has the potential to be as transformative as other non-idiomatic composers like Anthony Braxton." Jazzrightnow.com calls Golden State "Eisenstadt's most exploratory work to date," while Emusic.com gave it Jazz Pick of the Week and cited Eisenstadt as "a prolific, distinctive stylist who operates with a consistently high level of quality control." All About Jazz claims "Eisenstadt's compositional prowess continues to yield significant rewards."