|Dave Holland — Prism (2013)|
Dave Holland — Prism
Dave Holland: British jazz bassist famed for his work with Miles Davis, and subsequently the leader of an acclaimed big band. Born October 1, 1946.
Kevin Eubanks: Best known for leading the Tonight Show Band, Eubanks is a virtuoso jazz, rock, and pop guitarist.
Craig Taborn: Jazz pianist and keyboard player Craig Taborn began working professionally in the 1990s in a variety of musical contexts, ranging from more straight-ahead jazz to more outside music, with young jazz musicians.
Eric Harland: The story of jazz drummer extraordinaire Eric Du'sean Harland, a first-call player of the decade from 2000 onward, is one filled with courage, persistence, and fortitude. Born in Houston, Texas, in 1978.
Born: October 1, 1946 in Wolverhampton, England
Location: Wolverhampton, Staffordshire England, UK ~ New York
Album release: September 3rd, 2013
Record Label: Dare2 Records
01 The Watcher (Kevin Eubanks) 6:59
02 The Empty Chair (For Clare) (Dave Holland) 8:36
03 Spirals (Craig Taborn) 8:47
04 Choir (Eric Harland) 4:50
05 The Color of Iris (Kevin Eubanks) 7:29
06 A New Day (Dave Holland) 7:54
07 The True Meaning of Determination (Craig Taborn) 9:23
08 Evolution (Kevin Eubanks) 10:27
09 Breathe (Eric Harland) 5:42
→ Chris Allen Assistant Engineer
→ Susan Archie Design
→ Kevin Byrd Artwork
→ Greg Calbi Mastering
→ Kevin Eubanks Composer, Featured Artist, Guitar
→ James Farber Engineer
→ Ulli Gruber Photography
→ Eric Harland Composer, Drums, Featured Artist
→ Dave Holland Bass, Composer, Producer
→ Louise Holland Executive Producer
→ Craig Taborn Composer, Featured Artist, Fender Rhodes, Piano
→ Ted Tuthill Assistant Engineer
Review by Matt Collar; Score: ****
→ Bassist Dave Holland has been at the forefront of experimental, forward-thinking jazz ever since his formative years playing in Miles Davis’ fusion ensemble. His 2013 album, Prism, finds Holland returning to his crossover funk roots with an able- bodied quartet. Featured here are former Tonight Show guitarist Kevin Eubanks, pianist/Rhodes keyboardist Craig Taborn, and drummer Eric Harland. All of these musicians have reputations for playing adventurous, genre-bending styles of jazz, making them perfectly suited for the project at hand. Holland’s fourth outing on his own Dare2 Records, Prism follows his 2008 sextet date Pass It On, his 2010 octet album Pathways, and his 2010 flamenco-inspired Hands. All of those records were equally engaging and progressive in their own ways, but none showcased Holland’s interest in the angular, knotty funk and fusion he explores here. Tracks like the expansive “The Watcher” and the roiling “Spirals” feature explosive, frenetic soloing from the band as well as moments of layered group interplay. Elsewhere, cuts like “The Empty Chair” and “Evolution” explore a more minimalist, modal sense of atmosphere that allow for extended and far-reaching improvisational moments. For fans of Davis’ Bitches Brew period, during which Holland was a member of the band, there is plenty of expansive, abstract soloing, Rhodes keyboard squelch, and fuzz-laden guitar. We also get several introspective songs on Prism, with the poignant, midtempo Eubanks feature “The Color of Iris,” and the gorgeous Harland-penned “Breathe.” Of course, Holland’s bass is the grounding force for the ensemble, and thankfully, he gets plenty of room to stretch out from beginning to end. (Website: http://daveholland.com/)
Artist Biography by Chris Kelsey
→ Dave Holland is of a generation of bassists who, in the '60s and '70s, built upon the innovations of slightly older players like Scott LaFaro, Gary Peacock, and Barre Phillips, carrying the instrument to yet another new level of creativity. Along with contemporaries like Eddie Gómez, Miroslav Vitous, and Barry Guy, Holland helped refine and extend the melodic possibilities of the cumbersome double bass. In Holland's case, those refinements never lost touch with the core verities of straight-ahead jazz; Holland's sense of swing is unexcelled. Additionally, Holland is possibly the most accomplished pure jazz composer among bassists, after Charles Mingus. Holland's small groups in the '80s and '90s, while working firmly within the jazz idiom, presented a fresh alternative to the fusty re-creations of the neo-boppers.
→ Holland started playing ukulele at the age of four, switching to guitar at ten and bass guitar at 13. He took some piano lessons as a child, but was at first mostly self-taught, learning from pop music songbooks and by listening to the radio. He played in dance bands with friends. As a teenager he decided to try to make a living as a musician. Under the influence of such jazz bassists as Leroy Vinnegar and Ray Brown, Holland took up the double bass, learning primarily by playing along with records. He began playing professionally shortly thereafter. One of his first gigs was in a big band that toured behind the singer Johnny Ray. Holland studied with James E. Merritt, the principal bassist with the London Philharmonic, who recommended him to the degree program at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
→ At Guildhall, Holland gained experience in a variety of styles, from orchestral music to New Orleans jazz to bebop and beyond. In 1966, he began playing with many of the musicians with whom he would collaborate over the next two decades — musicians like trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, saxophonist John Surman, and pianist John Taylor who were well in tune with jazz innovations of the time. Holland acknowledges being influenced by Mingus, LaFaro, Jimmy Garrison, and Gary Peacock at this point in his career. Holland also became interested in many 20th century classical composers, especially Béla Bartók. Holland played London clubs with England's top jazz musicians, as well as visiting dignitaries like Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, and Joe Henderson. In July of 1968, Miles Davis heard him at Ronnie Scott's and asked him to join his band.
→ In a Silent WayHolland promptly relocated to New York and participated in the making of several classic Davis recordings, including In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew. In 1970, he co-founded (with Anthony Braxton, Chick Corea, and Barry Altschul) the group Circle, which embraced free jazz concepts. In the early '70s, he played with Stan Getz, Thelonious Monk, and Sam Rivers. In 1975, he formed the Gateway Trio — with Jack DeJohnette (drums) and John Abercrombie (guitar) — a group that would continue to record and tour intermittently for the next 25 years. In the early '80s, Holland worked extensively with Sam Rivers and organized his own band, a quintet with Wheeler, Julian Priester (trombone), Steve Coleman (alto sax), and Steve Ellington (drums). Thereafter, Holland-led small groups would continue to tour and record through the end of the century. Later members would include Marvin "Smitty" Smith (drums) and Robin Eubanks (trombone). Although the personnel would vary, the band would ultimately draw their identity from Holland's compositions.
→ Not for Nothin' In the '80s and '90s, Holland worked as an educator, heading the summer jazz workshop at the Banff School in Banff, Alberta, Canada, from 1983 until 1990. From 1987 until 1990 he was a faculty member at the New England Conservatory of Music. Aside from leading his own group, Holland's musical activities in the '90s included projects with DeJohnette, Gateway, and Herbie Hancock. He also recorded with Joe Lovano, Gary Burton, and Jim Hall. Holland's late-'90s quartet included Robin Eubanks, Steve Nelson (vibes), Chris Potter (saxophone), and Billy Kilson (drums). The dawn of the 21st century brought more releases, including Not for Nothin' in 2001, What Goes Around in 2002, and Extended Play: Live at Birdland in 2003, all on ECM. Overtime came out in 2005, followed by Critical Mass in 2006, both on Sunnyside. The soul-jazz-inflected Pass It On appeared next in 2008. In 2010, Holland released the octet album Pathways. In 2013, Holland returned with the album Prism, featuring his quartet with guitarist Kevin Eubanks, pianist Craig Taborn, and drummer Eric Harland. © Photo credit: Mark Higishino
|Dave Holland — Prism (2013)|