Programming Manager Petr Cancura’s reflections on Harris Eisenstadt


It wasn’t until I moved to New York City that I truly came to appreciate the full depth and breadth of Canada’s jazz talent. On several occasions, I’d end up at a session or a gig with a bunch of great musicians and it wasn’t until we began speaking that I learned I wasn’t the only Canadian performing. This also happened with the great inspirational drummer and fellow Canadian Harris Eisenstadt, who as it happened, lived only a few blocks away from me in Brooklyn.

Harris tours the world collaborating on powerful projects often with the icons of today’s improvised jazz world. He’s bringing some of these artists with him to the TD Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival performing Harris’ Old Growth Forest project with his quartet featuring Jeb Bishop, Tony Malaby and Jason Roebke.

The Chicago based Jeb Bishop has a true unique voice on the trombone. He’s a member of Ken Vandermark’s group, Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet, amongst many others. View video.

Tony Malaby is one of the great tenor saxophonists of our time. You can distinguish his inimitable style, within the first note. He has a personal raw approach vital to the honesty of the art form. Tony has performed in several significant bands with distinctive musical voices such as; Paul Motion’s band, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra, and his own trio with William Parker and Nasheet Waits.

Jason Roebke is the bassist musicians want to perform with when the music is heavy on improvisation. He’s not afraid of anything and with his grounded and studied technique is able to make beautiful sense out of music made in the moment. View video.

Harris Eisenstadt, as leader of the group, is a great composer and conceptualizer and an incredible improviser. He has a knack for putting together projects with unique personalities and creating an environment for them to thrive. View video.

Come and share this seminal performance with me on Saturday, Feb. 11, 7pm at La Nouvelle Scène’s (333 King Edward Ave) Studio A! For details visit