Dave Holland Big Band: Philadelphia, December 11, 2010
Contributor since 2010Professional writer and musician/songwriter
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The band then launched into "Bring It On (The Monterey Suite, Part 1)," off the Overtime (Dare2, 2005), a powerful ensemble piece with a strong bebop feel. The horns weaved harmonically complex lines, while the rhythm section seamlessly shifted between what seemed to be an endless variety of grooves and feels. Altoist Mark Gross took the first solo, delivering a blistering array of runs and arpeggios over an increasingly complex backdrop from the band before returning to the main theme. The second soloist was from trombonist Jonathan Arons, skillfully building to the song's climax.
Next up was "Ario," which Holland described as a "musical portrait of the great city of Rio De Janeiro." Using the musical colors available to him, the bassist drew a picture of a town that lives over the constant pulse of the ocean, while beautiful ocean breezes blow through the sensual cityscape. It was possible to picture the curtains of an open window blowing apart to reveal a magnificent view of the ocean when the muted trumpets entered, hearing the waves of alto and baritone sax breaking casually on the beach below. The song featured solos by tenor saxophonist Chris Potter and trombonist Josh Roseman.
The last song of the set, "Free For All (The Monterey Suite, Part 2)," opened with an extended solo from Holland, who reached out into more melodic territory, building soaring lines and sweeping arpeggios over open strings, before launching into the song's syncopated groove. The masterful Gross took another solo, as well as Taborn, who played a largely subdued role throughout the night. Taborn's solo was magnificent and he took on the quickly changing progression with ease. The band then dropped out and there was silence, as Smith began to build his drum solo. Starting with a light shuffle on the snare, he gradually brought in cymbals and bass drum, with lightning fast rolls and fills culminating in a huge crescendo as the band entered for its final statement. The audience leapt to its feet at the conclusion, and the band departed the stage.
Unlike some musicians who are willing to rest on the accomplishments of the past, Holland has proven that he is constantly learning and evolving, and seeking to take his jazz to new heights. As the enthusiasm over his Big Band performances proved, there is still an audience that's ready to go in whatever direction Holland's muse will take him.