Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dave Holland - Archive Series Vol. 1 (Dare2, 2010)

Bassist and composer Dave Holland has been leading one of the most exciting bands in jazz over the past decade. This year his website was completely revamped, and as part of this project he began to offer for download a series of archival concerts, starting with this one. Recorded live during their 2007 tour, this version of the band consists of Robin Eubanks on trombone, Steve Nelson on vibes, Chris Potter on saxophones and Nate Smith on drums. The four lengthy tracks on this collection begin with "Looking Up" which slowly builds from a medium tempo to a deep tenor saxophone solo, supported ably by strong thick bass. Potter steps out for a lengthy, potent tenor solo framed by nice vibes. Nelson takes his own pointillist solo over elastic bass and drums before the full band returns to the melody. Slow bass making way for gentle saxophone and trombone open "Easy Did It," then Eubanks takes center stage for a supple trombone solo over increasingly strong drumming. Shimmering vibes probe further before the bands drifts back to the lazy melody. "Secret Garden" has the band probing at the mysterious melody, Potter's tenor saxophone sounding strong and slinky, and Holland stepping out himself for a slow and probing solo. The band returns to a medium tempo swing to open "Claressence" with Nelson taking a lengthy and percussive vibes solo. He makes way for Chris Potter who spools out an excellent lengthy tenor saxophone solo that is exciting and potent. There is also some nice interplay between vibraphone, saxophone and drums that is quite compelling before the full band regroups for a collective ending. This was a very nice collection of live material, hopefully the first in what will become a many series of many volumes.