Release date: August 2006
One of the few British jazzers to make it on the international stage, Wolverhampton born bassist Dave Holland has hardly looked back since being recruited by Miles Davis for the “In A Silent Way” and “Bitches Brew” sessions. Recently he has been riding the crest of the wave of critical acclaim having won the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble for his album ‘Overtime” and having been earlier voted Musician of the Year and Acoustic Bassist of the Year at the 9th Annual Jazz Journalist Awards in 2005.
The quintet featured here - Dave Holland (bass); Chris Potter (tenor and soprano saxophones); Robin Eubanks (trombone); Steve Nelson (vibraphone, marimba); Nate Smith (drums) – has been together for almost ten years – with the exception of Nate Smith, a recent replacement on drums. Notwithstanding the fact that during this time these musicians have also produced much in other collaborations – in particular Dave Holland himself, with his colaborations for ECM and the Big Band work, and Chris Potter, whose burgeoning solo career has been matched by his numerous and successful guest appearances (with Renee Rosnes, Adam Nussbaum, Al Foster, Dave Douglas, Jim Rotondi, John Patitucci and Scott Coley to name just some of the most enjoyable). And the time spent together really shows in the understanding shown in these performances.
The instrumentation is non standard but the intention largely conservative. With no piano, the horns sound more like the horn section of a small band making harmony based joint statements of the main theme of each piece before breaking out into solo territory. Vibraphone excites no comparison with Bobby Hutcherson since the role here is to act more as a background link between the horns and the drums and base of the rhythm section than to solo much and when solos come, these seem more like restrained, mood creating insertions rather than full blooded declamations in their own right. Robin Eubanks is as solid as ever on trombone but his soloing and overall approach could be well described as restrained. This leaves Chris Potter’s saxophone as the main conveyor of intent and purpose.
Of the eight tracks, four are by Dave Holland (“The Eyes Have It”, “Easy Did It”, “Secret Garden”, “Lucky Seven”) with one each from the remaining members of the band - “Amator Silenti,” (Steve Nelson ); “Full Circle” (Robin Eubanks); “Vicissitudes” (Chris Potter) and “The Leak” (Nate Smith).
Overall, an accomplished and enjoyable album that gently introduces its complexities.
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