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Dave Holland Trio Live At Yoshi's


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Dave Holland Trio
Oakland, CA
February 20, 2023

The David Holland trio swung into Yoshi's in Oakland after kicking off the initial week of its present tour at NYC's Village Vanguard. His trio during this stint consisted of the notable musicians Kevin Eubanks on guitar and Eric Harland on Drums (Obed Calvaire handled the drums in NY).

Holland began the set by introducing the musicians, stating that he would not talk between tunes, and then launched into the first piece without further words. It was a funk groove à la Miles Davis' eclectic-funk-fusion period of the seventies. Jazzy only in that while the music's sections were mapped out, once established in the vonce, they freely improvised, displaying perfect interplay and communication among the players. Think In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew—Holland played bass on both albums.

On this piece, Eubanks' solo displayed long stretchy lines dotted by short quick clusters of notes, summoning a John McLaughlinesque association. Soupçons of Jimi Hendrix's style fluttered in and about during much of the set, yet Eubanks used no pedals or tremolo bar, just the knobs on his guitar, to produce wah-wah and pitch effects. As he has said, his tone comes from his hands. The tune rocked. Heads were nodding and bobbing vigorously the whole way through.

While Harland could hit hard and heavy on the funk grooves of the various sections, his mastery in coloring the music was also nothing short of a painter's. His flavorings and spicings are those of a master chef. His playing was melodic and dynamic, making it very pleasing.

Noteworthy was Holland's characteristic acoustic bass (his long-time companion), light brown and almost golden-hued in color, with a short, "compressed" stubby body and long elegant neck.

Funny to see that Holland was only slightly shorter than his instrument. With its futuristic no-headstock design, his six-string electric bass seemed almost out of place, like a headless horseman, but man, could he ever wail on it!

Characterization of the tunes was difficult, given that they were all nameless and split into distinctly different modules with varying grooves, much like movements in a symphony. They were all richly woven and moved seamlessly through the sections.

Only the third "tune" could rightly be called a ballad. It was slow and perhaps even too spacious—a sort of moonscape—almost disjointed but still maintaining a gossamer thread of connection.

Overall, it was an engaging evening of music, as evidenced by the audience's enthusiastic reception.

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