Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

137

Dave Holland & Pepe Habichuela: Hands

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Sometimes the best indicator of an artist's versatility is in the side projects they accept. Bassist Dave Holland's career could hardly be described as monolithic, with his discography as a leader—ranging from his quintet (Critical Mass (Dare2, 2006)) to his big band (Overtime (Dare2, 2005)) —nothing short of but exemplary. Still, some of the most unexpected revelations have come on peripheral dates, such as Mid-Eastern-informed Thimar (ECM, 1998), with Tunisian oudist Anouar Brahem and British reed man John Surman, or the aptly named World Trio (Intuition, 1995), featuring guitarist Kevin Eubanks and percussionist Mino Cinelu. When Holland shares the marquee, it seems, the only sure thing is the surprise in store.

Which makes the stylistic departure of Hands yet another revelation, and another career highpoint for an artist who has created more influential touchstones throughout his career than can be easily counted. By this point, over a half century on, it cannot be any surprise to hear Holland in virtually any context—not just acquitting himself credibly, but with absolute authenticity. Here, the bassist shares the bill with José Antonio Carmona Carmona, aka Pepe Habichuela—a flamenco guitarist and composer whose purist tendencies have remained open to extracurricular exploration in the jazz world, with past collaborators including trumpeter Don Cherry and bassist Jaco Pastorius.

As much as Hands' emphasis is on the flamenco side of the flamenco-jazz equation—with Habichuela writing or co-writing eight of its ten tracks, and a three guitar/twin percussionist line-up heavy on the cajón—Holland's two compositional contributions manage to add a touch of swing to a date redolent in the multiplicity of flamenco rhythms, ranging from the brighter buleria of "Puente Quabrao" to the darker taranta of "Camaron." Still, it's no particular surprise that, on the bassist's "The Whirling Dervish," the group delivers a knotty head so syncopated that, when it finally does settles into a gentle rhythm, there's a palpable sense of release, while on the more Cuban-centric "Joyride," Habichuela's lyrical delivery of Holland's melody is over the kind of propulsive groove that's been a defining characteristic of the bassist's purer jazz projects.

Truly successful cross-cultural collaboration can only occur when all parties come together with a shared understanding of the broader perspectives imbuing their multifarious reference points. That Habichuela, in Hands' extensive liner notes, suggests that "he [Holland] is now a Gypsy and I, am almost an Englishman," speaks to a project years in the making, with two artists intent on finding new, common ground. Nowhere is this more apparent than on "El Ritmo Me Lleva," where Holland's effortless sense of swing transforms Habichuela's rumba into a transcendent centerpiece that simply couldn't sound this way were anyone but Holland in the engine room. Any music, it turns out, can swing; and with Hands, Holland and Habichuela have created a living tribute to the limitless potential of mutual respect and admiration.

Track Listing: Hands; Subi La Cuesta; Camaron; The Whirling Dervish; Yesqueros; El Ritmo Me Lleva; Bailaor; Joyride; Puente Quebrao; My Friend Dave.

Personnel: Pepe Habichuela: guitar; Dave Holland: bass; Josemi Carmona: guitar; Carlos Carmona: guitar; Israel "Pirana" Porrina: cajón, palmas, percussion; Juan Carmona: cajón, palmas, percussion.

Title: Hands | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Dare2 Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Baby It's Cold Outside CD/LP/Track Review Baby It's Cold Outside
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Wrong Turns And Dead Ends CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Lavaman CD/LP/Track Review Lavaman
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 21 CD/LP/Track Review Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 21
by Don Phipps
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Bad Hombre CD/LP/Track Review Bad Hombre
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Aladdin's Dream CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "Just Friends" CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 11, 2017
Read "The Best of Big Star" CD/LP/Track Review The Best of Big Star
by Doug Collette
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "3Divas" CD/LP/Track Review 3Divas
by Jerome Wilson
Published: August 2, 2017
Read "Uncharted Waters" CD/LP/Track Review Uncharted Waters
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 11, 2017
Read "Undertaker Please Drive Slow" CD/LP/Track Review Undertaker Please Drive Slow
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 15, 2017
Read "Town And Country" CD/LP/Track Review Town And Country
by Jerome Wilson
Published: June 21, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!