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  • Prism
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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 19 January 2014
This came in my Xmas stocking after I first read a review in The Guardian and I put it on my wishlist. I'm not greatly familiar with Dave Holland's output but the Not For Nothin' CD has been on my shelves for a while and enjoyed. However, the idea of something with a more electric, jazz-rock feel appealed.

I think you can generally reckon that you're doing well when the first couple of tracks on a album just really pull you in, and that's what you get here. "The Watcher" is a medium tempo piece with plenty of drive and "The Empty Chair" a slower bluesy number. In contrast to another reviewer here, one of the big revelations for me on this album is the guitar playing of Kevin Eubanks. I knew the name, but I'd never heard him play on anything. Wel,, I guess I shall be looking for more. He doesn't overdo the effects here, mostly just a modest amount of fuzz, but he can certainly do the rapid stuff along with the best of them. Somehow this all seems in keeping with the album - music that could have been played mostly acoustic but just happens to be a bit more electric.

The other two musicians on the album are Craig Taborn on piano and Rhodes with Eric Harland on drums. Again, both new to me but both fitting into the ensemble perfectly. Harland has pleasing loose but rocky-when-it-needs-to-be style that reminds me a bit of Vinnie Colaiuta playing with John McLaughlin and Chick Corea in the Five Peace Band.

This is a fine album that is immediate;y accessible. Enjoyable at the first listening and just getting more so at each listening, which at the present count is already - lots!
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on 22 October 2013
Unlike some others, I think Eubanks guitar and Taborn's electric piano a wonderful change from the acoustic vibes or piano featured in his quintet for many years - which I found unattractive and so I did not buy any of Dave's recent releases. This release changes it all for me and is a welcome return to his stuff with Miles or the 1990-91 Quartet (again with Eubanks) - a welcome return to form and I will buy again.
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on 24 March 2014
You know when you go for a walk in the countryside, and when you return home there's that lovely satisfied feeling? You're charged with natural energy and satiated at the same time. That's what this album does for me. It's full of paradoxes and in this way gives you a full spectrum of feelings and musical energies, leaving you with that complete sense of contentment. It's a whole work, there seems to be nothing missing. You're taken on a journey from hard-as-nails funk, 'metal' jazz through to delicate, introspective melancholy reveries. It feels like a pinnacle of contemporary jazz that simultaneously harks back to the best of the 70s-90s eras yet pushes the frontiers into new territory. Musicianship is awesome, and the relationship that each has with the others is awesome. I'm currently being blasted off my feet by the drumming, however each new listen draws the ear to the merits of all the players: too much to talk about, and no doubt bore any reader to death! Got to be a landmark album. Just buy it.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 August 2015
‘Prism’ is a powerhouse fusion record from 2013. It veers from rocking thickly textured ensemble work like the Mahavishnu Orchestra used to pump out in their prime, to delicate little keyboard filigrees that enchant with their wispy melodiousness. It’s a highly varied menu, but the accent is on rock with jazz and other influences attached, rather than jazz with a hint of something more direct and primeval. The writing, production and performance as other observers have noted is pretty ace. Particularly pleasing is the ‘tightness’ of the whole thing: this approach manifests itself in the way that the tunes are structured and melodic, and solos seldom if ever, outstay their welcome. I rather like the loping blues of ‘The Empty Chair’ (Dave Holland’s acoustic bass is beautiful here), the ominous ‘The Color of Iris’ and the reflective ‘Breathe’. Other listeners will have different preferences I’m sure, but they will agree no doubt about the great musical experience that this album has to offer.

My only slight criticism is that guitarist Kevin Eubanks, great player though he is, does tend to dominate on occasion and his tone is somewhat drenched in fuzz effects ( and Lord knows what else!), obscuring what are no doubt worthwhile contributions.

Overall, mild carping aside, this is a great album.
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on 13 August 2014
This is Jazz rock at its very best. Harland and Holland are really puttung it down. Kevin Eubanks is on top form. I for one love the electric guitar sound. Maybe a few old-time "leave it alone" guys will not get it, but just give it a try.
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on 24 September 2013
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.
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on 1 August 2014
Dave Holland - excellent - makes everything around him work and yet sounds effortless. Heard this band at Love Supreme Festival this year.
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on 15 August 2014
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 4 November 2013
So, let's just check.

Did you think this was a review of Katy Perry's Prism?

If so, try again. You got the right title, but wrong artiste.

That cleared up, you may also be forgiven for thinking, on hearing the first track on Dave Holland's latest, that Bob Fripp had some input into the opening track, it's so rock-oriented, although King Crimson's spectrum was largely focused on Red.

Yes, almost inevitably the cover shows not a prism but the colours of the rainbow emanating from such an object, making it look like one of the rejected designs for Dark Side Of The Moon (Pink Floyd's, not Medicine Head's; another case of two albums released in close proximity sharing a title).

Thereafter, Kevin Eubanks's The Watcher gives way to the other colours of the rainbow, closing with the violet of Breathe (again, echoes of Floyd's Dark Side!), a peaceful composition courtesy, surprisingly, of Eric Harland, the drummer, a species usually associated with more volume.

The tracks in between are, however, more nuanced, sometimes featuring several colours of the spectrum at once (Any Colour You Like? Enough Pink Floyd!), and the writing credits are distributed more or less evenly, with Eubanks, guitar, penning three, and Holland, Craig Taborn (keyboards) and Harland two each.

Eubanks's second composition, The Color Of Iris (yep, American spelling), is a gentle affair throughout, but whilst his third, Evolution, running at over ten minutes, starts slow and smooth, by its end it has picked up some almost Mahavishnu-level pyrotechnics.

Holland's The Empty Chair is bluesy and moderate-paced, whilst A New Day begins soft and slow, but gathers pace toward the end without quite achieving the intensity of Evolution.

Spirals, by Taborn, does exactly that, in a manner similar to many Steve Coleman tunes. His other, The True Meaning Of Determination, carries a similar theme to Spirals, but the band goes off at more tangents on this one.

And Harlan's other piece, Choir, has a calypso-like feel, fast and, dare I say, danceable.

So, no covers of I Kissed A Girl, and very different from Holland's flamenco collaboration with Pepe Habichuela, Hands, but another serious contender for my favourite release of the year.
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on 18 June 2015
ok in a perfect condition!
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