Avant-garde jazz guitarist Bruce Eisenbeil has either performed or recorded with a sizeable amount of renowned modern-day jazz figures, in addition to launching his own solo recording career in the late '90s. Born in Chicago but raised in Plainfield, NJ, Eisenbeil originally picked up the guitar at the ripe old age of four, and early on, was mostly self-taught. By the time Eisenbeil had turned 15, he was already playing professionally, and studied the instrument with such notables as Joe Pass, Howard Roberts, Joe Diorio, and Dennis Sandole (the latter of whom taught both John Coltrane and Pat Martino). Drawing from a large list of musical influences (John Coltrane, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Charlie Parker, Ornette Coleman, Ravi Shankar, Wes Montgomery, etc.), Eisenbeil worked with R&B artist Johnny Stewert during the mid-'80s, before immersing himself in the burgeoning acid jazz movement. By the early '90s, Eisenbeil began receiving considerable attention in Brazil, which led to a three week tour in 1992; and subsequent work with Cecil Taylor, Milford Graves, Andrew Cyrille, David Murray, William Parker, Ellery Eskelin, Gregg Bendian, Joe Rigby, and Blaise Siwula, to name but a few.
By 1997, Eisenbeil was ready to head out on his own, resulting in his solo debut, Nine Wings. Joining Eisenbeil on the disc was alto saxophonist/flutist Rob Brown and drummer Lou Grassi, as the trio also supported the release with a ten-city tour. A year later, Eisenbeil had assembled a new outfit, Eisenbeil's Crosscurrent Trio, which featured bassist J. Brunca and drummer Ryan Sawyer. It was this lineup that was featured on the 1999 release Mural, an album which received positive reviews in such esteemed jazz publications as Downbeat, Jazziz, and The Wire. The same year, Eisenbeil performed several concerts in the Bay Area, where he was joined by a revolving door of accompanying musicians; culminating in a two-hour radio show on KAZU that included interviews and live on-air performances. Although Eisenbeil failed to issue any new recordings in 2000, he offered instructional guitar tips for the online music information site Net4Music.com; and also played a New York City show alongside guitarists Ernesto Diaz-Infante and Chris Forsyth, which was showcased as an hour-long show on WKCR.
Eisenbeil's third solo release overall, 2001's Opium, saw the guitarist expand his usual trio format, as Michael Attias (alto and bass saxophone), Dave Taylor (bass), and Jay Rosen (drums) contributed. The same year, Eisenbeil received a grant to develop and perform at New York's Turtle Bay Music School, performed at the 2001 Vision Festival at the Knitting Factory Main Stage (alongside drum legend Milford Graves), and was the sole guitarist in Cecil Taylor's Ensemble. Eisenbeil's fourth release, Ashes was released in 2002; an album which was originally recorded back in 2000 with 12 different musicians.