Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dave Holland Sextet - Pass It On (Emarcy, 2008)

Bassist and composer Dave Holland has been on an amazing run over the past ten years leading one of the finest small groups (and big bands) in jazz through a series of excellent recordings and worldwide performances. There are a few changes afoot with this latest release, but the quality of the music remains very high. Holland has a new band, made up of Alex Sipiagin on trumpet, Antonio Hart on alto saxophone, Mulgrew Miller on piano, and Eric Harland on drums and the only holdover from the previous group, Robin Eubanks on trombone. The music remains intricate and thoughtful, with very strong ensemble playing and soloing. This album has some new compositions and compositions from the breadth of Holland's career. My favorite performances on the album were "Fast Track" with it's rapid pace and nimble interaction between the players. "Rivers Run" is a tribute to Holland's frequent collaborator and one of my favorite musician Sam Rivers. The music here is at it's most abrasive, slipping inside and outside like Rivers at his finest. While the names of the players may have changed, the music here is very much a continuation of the fine albums Holland has been producing for quite a long time. There's nothing flashy about the sound here, just a testament to a true collective group working toward a common goal.

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