Release date: August 25th 2009
Recorded live at the Monterey Jazz Festival on September 22nd, 2007
Availability: CD, MP3 Download
The planning for the fine performance captured here dates back to 1996 when producer Jason Olaine had the idea of pairing Cuban-born pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba with British-born bassist Dave Holland. That meeting could not take place back then but the idea of the project continued and, when Jason Olaine was working with Chris Potter at Verve records, it expanded to include the saxophonist. Eric Harland on drums was a natural candidate to complete the 'dream' quartet that was finally brought together as the 'Monterey Quartet' at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival. Both Chris Potter and Eric Harland had worked in bands led by Dave Holland over a number of years.
Each musician contributes two compositions that were developed in four full days of rehearsals ahead of the Festival. The recording was made by Chuck Harris and Ron Davis on a second performance of the material in Dizzy's Den, a small hall on the Festival site. Much like the many great recordings made three thousand miles away at the Village Vanguard, the result is near studio quality sound with the life and presence that comes from performing before a small and supportive audience.
What is delivered is an album of straight ahead jazz of rhythmic complexity that is inspiring, open and accessible, driven by the sure pulse of Dave Holland's bass and Eric Harland's rock-inspired drumming. Chris Potter's performance is one of his best yet recorded and Gonzalo Rubalcaba fully justifies the impulse of hearing him in this context that fired the whole project.
In a performance of high achievement there are many stand-outs – on 'Maiden', Dave Holland's unaccompanied bass solo at the start and the steady build up of intensity in Chris Potter's closing solo; on 'Step To It' and '50', Eric Harland's powerful asymmetric drumming; on 'Otra Mirada (Another Look)', Gonzalo Rubalcaba's crystal piano playing.
The concert was organized to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Monterey Jazz Festival and this disc is a more than adequate tribute to the great work that has been done over those years in the interests of jazz. Supported by Concord records, the net proceeds of the sale of the disc will go to the work of Festival programs that include the Next Generation Festival and National High School Jazz Competition, in-class training for young musicians, an artist in residence program and a two-week summer jazz camp, amongst much else.
But forget such important outcomes for awhile.
This is one of the jazz highlights of the year that needs no other justification.
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