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An Experienced Leader Brings out a Collectivist Spirit


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There are few musicians in jazz with a more untroubled sense of leadership than the bassist Dave Holland. Since the first recordings made under his name, in the early 1970s, Mr. Holland has expressed his point of view with gracious clarity, drawing out the best from his partners while keeping a firm hand on the tiller. But he’s after a greater spirit of collectivism with the Overtone Quartet, which made its first public appearance at the Blue Note on Tuesday night before a handful of tour dates this fall.

The group, with the saxophonist Chris Potter, the pianist Jason Moran and the drummer Eric Harland--musicians born in the 1970s --shares most of its DNA with the Monterey Quartet, which was convened in 2007 for that year’s Monterey Jazz Festival. (A sharp live album was released a couple of weeks ago on the festival’s label, licensed to Concord.) The crucial difference is in the piano chair: the Monterey Quartet featured Gonzalo Rubalcaba, a player of drier touch and steelier temperament than Mr. Moran.

The change registers at almost every level. Throughout the first set on Tuesday, Mr. Moran was far more than a different piece of the puzzle: his rumbling cadences and insinuating voicings took their place at the core of the band, inspiring a more elastic interaction from the others, particularly Mr. Harland. The only person who seemed not to yield to any shift was Mr. Holland, holding down a series of syncopated vamps with his usual definitive aplomb.

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