6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A Complete Change from the Quintet.,
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This review is from: PRISM (Audio CD)
As a big fan of Dave Holland and his work over the last few decades - especially his regular quintet with Sax,Trombone & Vibes - there was no doubt that I would have to buy this album. But I had no idea what to expect and it is very different to the kind of thing Dave has been involved in recently.
The difference is that most of the quintet and big band were playing material composed and arranged by Dave Holland - but here it is more of a collaboration with two or three tracks from each quartet member. Kevin Eubanks gets three and it is his influence that is the most noticable difference. He brings a fusion style of playing and electric guitar tone which stands out against the all acoustic sound of most of the previous music.
We get riffs that could have come from a King Crimson album and all-out shredding that would not have been out of place on a classic 70s album like Spectrum - maybe the cover and title of this album are a nod to that Billy Cobham fusion masterpiece? So at times, Craig Taborn joins in on Fender Rhodes electric piano and Eric Harland goes mad on "rock" drums.
Although I liked the way some of the tracks "rocked out" - such as on "Evolution", which is nicely funky and has dynamic contrasts; personally I preferred it when the piano and bass were acoustic - I loved Dave's bass solo on "The Empty Chair" - his own composition - a slow and bluesy tune. The start of "Breathe" also has some lovely acoustic piano.
It's maybe not Dave Holland's best album but it is interesting and there are moments when you hear some lovely playing - the small group allows each player to take the focus and come centre stage - you get to hear their personalities and each is exposed to scrutiny in a way that tests their musicianship and compositional resources.
I an glad to have heard this and there is a lot to enjoy, but I will be hoping that Dave comes back to his quintet at some point in the future.