Brent Black / @CriticalJazz
To start, anyone marking 40 years doing anything and getting paid for it is rare much less an incredibly distinguished career in music of all vocations! Dave Holland's Prism celebrates just such an auspicious occasion and with a brand new quartet to boot. This all star 4tet is rounded out with Kevin Eubanks on guitar, Craig Taborn on piano and the great Eric Harland on drums. For some that don't go back those forty years to roughly 1973, Prism may seem like a departure but in reality this is Dave Holland going back to the future with a horn-less ensemble that goes well past the typical cerebral spin of previous releases and attacks with a high octane visceral bite while somehow maintaining the more open ended approach that is the Holland musical calling card. Prism is a dynamic contemporary experience, four leaders checking egos at the door to reach a level of harmonious synergy that is pure magic.
Prism opens with "The Watcher" which is a flash fried funk infused nasty from guitarist Eubanks but it is the controlled fury from drummer Eric Harland could light up an average size city. "The Empty Chair" is a Holland original with some deceptively subtle lyrical hints at Jimi Hendrix running just below the surface while the Eric Harland tune "Breathe" is an intimate almost lyrical look at self exploration that goes past the cinematic and into a far more expansive sonic spectrum of light and color one can feel. Hauntingly beautiful is slightly overused terminology by most critics but it fits. The odd metered darker colors from Craig Taborn are meticulously deconstructed by the ensemble in an organic presentation of shifting dynamics within the lyrical time and space provided. Evocative yet evolving.
While Dave Holland is more closely associated with a more avaunt gard acoustic setting, this plugged in collective of all stars allows Holland the room to maneuver, explore and crush a myriad of harmonic possibilities previously left to the imagination when considering, "What if?"
Tracks: The Watcher; The Empty Chair; Spirals; Choir; The Color Of Iris; A New Day; The True Meaning Of Determination; Evolution; Breathe.
Personnel: Dave Holland: Bass; Craig Taborn: Piano; Kevin Eubanks: Guitar; Eric Harland: Drums.