528

Dave Holland Sextet: Pass It On

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Dave Holland Sextet: Pass It On

Sometimes it's necessary to shake up even a good thing. Dave Holland's decade-old Quintet with vibraphonist Steve Nelson, trombonist Robin Eubanks and saxophonist Chris Potter has garnered multiple awards and significant attention. But while the group has evolved as a standalone unit on albums including Critical Mass (Dare2, 2006), and as the core of Holland's Big Band on Overtime (Dare2, 2005), the overall sonority has become, perhaps, a little too familiar.



The debut of Holland's sextet on Pass It On may include members from his Quintet and Big Band—saxophonist Antonio Hart, trombonist Robin Eubanks and trumpeter Alex Sipiagin—but pianist Mulgrew Miller and drummer Eric Harland make this group unlike any Holland's had before. Still, despite a new complexion and fresh blood, it possesses the various threads that have defined Holland since he began leading groups in the mid-'80s.



Pass It On largely revisits material from earlier Holland albums: the evocative ballad "Equality" and dark groove of "Lazy Snake" from Dream of the Elders (ECM, 1996); the rubato freedom that turns into a visceral modal groove in "Rivers Run" from Triplicate (ECM, 1988); the 5/4 ballad "Processional" from Extensions (ECM, 1990); and fiercely swinging "Double Vision" from Seeds of Time (ECM, 1985). There's also a Latin-esque reading of "Modern Times" from Homecoming (ECM, 1995), by Holland's collaborative Gateway trio with guitarist John Abercrombie and drummer Jack DeJohnette.



Most tunes will be familiar to Holland fans—and even the sax/trumpet/trombone frontline won't be new to followers of his mid'-80s quintet with Eubanks, altoist Steve Coleman and trumpeter Kenny Wheeler. But this is the first time the bassist has used piano in a group—a perhaps more conventional complexion that he's intentionally avoided in the past by using vibraphone or guitar as chordal instruments. But with the vibrant Miller, it fits in comfortably with Holland's evolving concept; the sextet clearly dovetails with his other work of the past 25 years.



There's a different kind of energy here, with Holland combining the more liberated approach of "Rivers Run," which harkens back to his '80s quintet, with Eubanks' polyrhythmic "The Sum of All Parts." The latter opens the disc with the musicians entering one at a time, ultimately coalescing into the kind of visceral, irregular-metered groove that's been so definitive of Holland's Quintet and Big Band. Everyone's a star here, but Harland and Miller push the group in new and different ways; Miller's distinctive out-of-Tyner harmonic approach and Harland's empathic, elastic playing open the group up to greater freedom and interpretation.



Dipping into his past repertoire is a device Holland also used for his Big Band's debut, What Goes Around (ECM, 2002); however, this smaller and more intimate ensemble with a big sound revisits his material with greater flexibility and power. Pass It On is the welcome and long overdue debut from a sextet that's been performing for a couple of years, and possesses the same deep chemistry that has made Holland's other groups and releases such winners.


Track Listing: The Sum Of All Parts; Fast Track; Lazy Snake; Double Vision; Equality; Modern Times; Rivers Run; Processional; Pass It On.

Personnel: Dave Holland: bass; Eric Harland: drums; Antonio Hart: alto saxophone; Robin Eubanks: trombone; Mulgrew Miler: piano; Alex Sipiagin: trumpet.

Title: Pass It On | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Dare2 Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Screen Sounds CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 20, 2017
Read The Bug CD/LP/Track Review The Bug
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Sing Me Some Cry CD/LP/Track Review Sing Me Some Cry
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Masters In Bordeaux CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read On Parade In Parede CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "Music From Our Soul" CD/LP/Track Review Music From Our Soul
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 20, 2017
Read "Two Calls" CD/LP/Track Review Two Calls
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 5, 2017
Read "Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960" CD/LP/Track Review Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 4, 2017
Read "Time/Life:Songs For The Whales And Other Beings" CD/LP/Track Review Time/Life:Songs For The Whales And Other Beings
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 17, 2017
Read "From the Nocturnal Chironian" CD/LP/Track Review From the Nocturnal Chironian
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 14, 2017
Read "What Doesn’t Kill You" CD/LP/Track Review What Doesn’t Kill You
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 16, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.