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!


Miroslav Vitous & Dave Holland

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Submitted on behalf of George Harris.

Two bass players separated by mere months of age, both initially influenced by the LaFaro/Peacock school of thought, and both arriving at the burgeoning of a whole new era of jazz are featured on these ECM new releases. Both bassists took diverging paths and Universal Syncopations and Extended Play provide an insightful comparison.

Miroslav Vitous
Universal Syncopations
ECM Records

Miroslav Vitous, at one time the darling of the fusion world, and a member of the original Weather Report, essentially dropped out of the music scene to dedicate his time to musical academia. Judging by his latest recording, his first in many years, the music world has been the worse without him. Universal Syncopations essentially starts where Weather Report’s Live in Tokyo left off. Remember, WR was initially a freer, more acoustic, and in many ways, more adventurous band than it’s later incarnations.

These nine pieces could easily be an extrapolation of the direction WR could have gone had Vitous remained with the band. "Bamboo Forest," "Miro Bop," and "Brazil Waves" have a pastoral quality to them that belie their complexity and intensity. Jan Garbarek (reeds) gives unusually warm, Shorter influenced solos, particularly inventive on "Univoyage." Supplying drive and keeping the pieces cohesive are fusion vets Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette and John McLauglin, augmented by a very tasty brass section for three of the pieces. Vitous, himself, conducts a bass workshop on this session. Alternating between playing lead, melody, or driving the other musicians to higher planes of existence, Vitous is playing like a man with something to prove.

Dave Holland Quintet
Extended Play: Live at Birdland
ECM Records

In contrast, the Dave Holland Quintet has been working together for a number of years. Extended Play is a live document of this talented and unique band. Whereas Vituos’ disc consisted of a one time only recording band, Holland’s working band stretches each piece to the limit (only one song on this two-disc set is under ten minutes). Filled with lengthy, intense and emotional solos by perennially underrateds Chris Potter (saxophones) and Robin Eubanks (trombone), Extended waxes and wanes like a hurricane.

Eubanks gives a lesson in harmonics, alternating between screeches and incredible dexterity on the freer pieces. Keeping the whole evening together is the dark, deep, warm bass of Holland, providing accessible dancing lines for the frontline to take off from. Together with Billy Kilson on drums and Steve Nelson on vibes and marimba, Holland and company provide a rock solid foundation that keeps the listener intrigued with the lengthy solos. The wonderful thing about a live performance such as this is the opportunity to experience a working band in it’s milieu.

Listening to these two recordings is akin to watching an old reunion. It’s a pleasure to hear them compare notes.

Visit ECM Records on the web.

Universal Syncopations

Tracks: Bamboo Forest/ Univoyage/ Tramp Blues/ Faith Run/ Sun Flower/ Miro Bop/ Beethoven/ Medium/ Brazil Waves

Personnel: Universal: Miroslav Vitous- bass; Jan Garbarek- soprano, tenor saxophone; Chick Corea- piano; John McLaughlin- guitar; Jack DeJohnette- drums

Extended Play: Live at Birdland

Tracks: Extended: The Balance/ High Wire/ Jugglers Parade/ Make Believe/ Free for All/ Claressence/ Prime Directive/ Bedouin Trail/ Metamorphos

Personnel: Dave Holland- bass; Robin Eubanks- trombone; Billy Kilson-drums; Steve Nelson- marimba, vibraphone; Chris Potter- alto, soprano, and tenor saxophone


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Ivo Perelman Makes It Rain Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman Makes It Rain
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 12, 2017
Read Jazz from the US Virgin Islands' new breed Multiple Reviews Jazz from the US Virgin Islands' new breed
by Nigel Campbell
Published: November 4, 2017
Read Joe Rosenberg's Ensembles Multiple Reviews Joe Rosenberg's Ensembles
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 2, 2017
Read Abbey Rader in the Spotlight: Ritual and Phenobarbital Sessions Multiple Reviews Abbey Rader in the Spotlight: Ritual and Phenobarbital...
by Kevin Press
Published: October 27, 2017
Read Two Sides of John Wetton Multiple Reviews Two Sides of John Wetton
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 20, 2017
Read "Blues Deluxe 2" Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe 2
by Doug Collette
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Sven-Åke Johansson's Blue For A Moment" Multiple Reviews Sven-Åke Johansson's Blue For A Moment
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 2, 2017
Read "Anat Cohen's Brazilian Bonanza: Outra Coisa and Rosa Dos Ventos" Multiple Reviews Anat Cohen's Brazilian Bonanza: Outra Coisa and Rosa...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 17, 2017
Read "New, Notable and Nearly Missed" Multiple Reviews New, Notable and Nearly Missed
by Phil Barnes
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "David Murray Octets on Black Saint" Multiple Reviews David Murray Octets on Black Saint
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 11, 2017
Read "A Sense of Place" Multiple Reviews A Sense of Place
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 12, 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!

Please support out sponsor