François Houle/ Alexander Hawkins/ Harris Eisenstadt
You Have Options | Songlines
The bringing together of clarinetist François Houle, pianist Alexander Hawkins and drummer Harris Eisenstadt came about in 2014. That’s when Ken Pickering, the late co-founder and artistic director of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, suggested Alexander Hawkins as a piano player in a new Houle project.
Eisenstadt, a Brooklyn-based Canadian bandleader/composer, was already on deck in the drummer’s seat, but Oxford-based Hawkins wasn’t known to Houle. He had however played with Eisenstadt before.
Pickering was legendary in his ability to bring players together in successful combinations. Houle trusted him on his selection and so it came to pass that the trio played two freewheeling shows at the 2014 festival. The project remained on the back burner for the busy players for a few more years until the chance to record arrived.
By that point, the members all had compositions to bring to the sessions as well as ideas of who else to add in. Here are five things to know about it:
1 — The title track is awesome: Even if you didn’t like the music, Eisenstadt’s piece that the album is named after has one of the best song titles ever. The complete title is You Have Options, I Have a Lawyer. It’s a beautiful tune that builds slowly for about half the song before it picks up on a somewhat sombre groove that opens up for Hawkins to lay down some really random piano that just hits perfectly.
2 — Run Riot: While the music on You Have Options runs the gamut of open spaces to interwoven grooves, no other song is quite as wide-open and free as track three. This Houle composition showcases the clarinetist’s ability to soar all over and around his rhythm section and howl. There is a point at 2:37 when his instrument sounds like it wants to surrender; awesome.
3 — Prayer: A solemn piece which may well be my favourite on the whole record, this six minute-long song rides in on a simple rhythm pattern all awash in big full piano chording and then Houle just solos his heart out over top of it all. The effect is meditative and lovely.
4 — Steve Lacy, Andrew Hill, Charles Ives: Among the other composers whose material turns up on the session are pieces from jazz greats Lacy and Hill as well as classical modernist Ives, who has …read more
Source:: Vancouver Sun – Entertainment