Dave Holland's 'Prism' Goes To 11, Elegantly | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Dave Holland's 'Prism' Goes To 11, Elegantly

Play associated audio

The quartet on jazz bassist Dave Holland's new album Prism is more electrified, and usually louder, than bands he's led before. Some reviewers see its music coming out of his early work with the electrified Miles Davis, but the parallel doesn't go far. Holland played bass guitar with Davis, not his usual bass violin. Plus, early electric Davis was gloriously unruly, while Holland loves the elegance of interlocking rhythm cycles, wheels within wheels. "Spirals," by the band's pianist and electric pianist Craig Taborn, takes Holland's higher math into curved space. (Taborn has an eerie knack for playing two unrelated parts with either hand. There's no room for error — his left hand is locked in with the string bass.)

Dave Holland gets top billing on Prism, but the quartet feels like a co-op. The four share the writing more or less equally. The first musician Holland thought of for the band was Kevin Eubanks, a frequent ally before the guitarist's 15 years leading Jay Leno's house band. His tune "Evolution" echoes the wizards of jazz-rock in the Mahavishnu Orchestra, but Eubanks lets in more air.

The guitarist's role here is pivotal; Eubanks makes this an electric band even when he's the only one plugged in. Sometimes when he breaks off, a sterling piano-bass-drums trio emerges, as in the churchy "Choir" by drummer Eric Harland, who can really prod a soloist with economical punctuation.

Everybody on Prism understands that the pleasures of the groove are complex and deep — it's not just about moving feet. Dave Holland has minded such matters for decades, but he's wise to shake up his music even when it's been going fine. Trading information with smart younger colleagues gives you a fresh look at the puzzle. Now, that's an idea he might've gotten from Miles Davis.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

The Creepiest Ghost And Monster Stories From Around The World

Did you know about the bat-demon of Tanzania? Or the Japanese girl who haunts school bathrooms? We've rounded up some spooky stories that come from different cultural contexts. The chills translate.
NPR

Cash For Halloween Candy? Dentists' Buyback Program Is Booming

If you're like many parents, by tomorrow morning you'll be facing a candy glut. One possible solution? Sell it to a dentist participating in a program that sends candy care packages to troops.
NPR

For This Colorado Voter, Oil And Gas Debate Plays Out On His Property

Knocking on doors in Colorado, Steve Inskeep asks Antionio Covello about the election. The successful Denver business owner, a conservative, weighs mineral rights, foreign policy and division at home.
NPR

Selfies With Bears Prompt Warning From Park Rangers

Selfies with bears are showing up on Instagram. Rangers in South Lake Tahoe have been sufficiently worried to issue a warning: Wild bears are unpredictable, and could attack. #bearselfie

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.