JazzTimes, March 1998
Bruce Eisenbeil Trio
Nine Wings
CIMP 144 (73:45)

When Ornette Coleman introduced the world to free jazz, he opened the door to a world as diverse as the mainstream that produced it. And in the ensuing four decades, listeners have come to appreciate (or sometimes not) the many different degrees of freedom that a musician, a composer, an improviser, may pursue. In the complex of creative tensions that drive jazz, these degrees represent one of the fundamentals: the tension between intellect and intuition. The good news here is that guitarist Bruce Eisenbeil and his mates have both in abundance. The opening number suggests Eisenbeil’s awareness of his roots, with a very Coleman-esqe feel and the title “Oak Tree.” The remaining eight selections range widely, from the traditional balladry – sliding into some lovely time-shifting – of “In Retrospect”, to the high energy probings of “Mercury” and the near static “Soundscape #2.” Eisenbeil gets wonderfully empathic support from Rob Brown on alto sax and flute and Lour Grassi, who seems to be able to maintain several unrelated rhythmic streams at once.

– Bill Bennett