Harris Eisenstadt Canada Day II

First off, any Ontarian's going to gaze deeply at the stylized Muskoka cottagescape in autumn, which is one of the great album covers of the year so far. But, seriously, no matter what moves you in music, how can you hate on a title like Canada Day? That basic truth is the foundation of this optimistic, extroverted group. This isn't threatening, noisy music, by any means; it pulsates even during slow tempos. It is clear that drummer Eisenstadt is the leader, as the kinds of patterns and dynamics he comes up with are refracted throughout the band. This is exciting, particularly with vibes player Chris Dingman adding melody to the percussive effects. This group's second outing reminds of the similarly drummer-led, vibes-rich Claudia Quintet, but Canada Day isn't as relentlessly precise. Slower, bassier and more spacious tracks like "Now Longer" impress most, with Matt Bauder's jigsaw-like sax solo bringing everything together. There's some sample bait scattered throughout the album ― maybe somebody could flip "To See/Tootie"? Although in many ways (i.e., personnel, home base) this album is pure NYC, this is a highlight of export, eh?-jazz this year. (Songlines)