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B. Clugston

Dave Holland - Uncharted Territories

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Dave Holland has released a new album with Evan Parker, Craig Taborn and Ches Smith called Uncharted Territories. While they still play together from time to time, including last March in London, I think it's been a while since they've been on a record together (I'm thinking Kenny Wheeler's Music for Large and Small Ensembles?). The samples I've heard some great.

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I picked up the album recently, but haven't delved into it yet. I saw Parker, Taborn and Smith at the Big Ears Festival last March, but not Holland who was at SFJAZZ that week. Parker & Taborn played in a couple of different ensembles, and Smith with other groupings.

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It's quite good but not a masterpiece in my opinion ... the best and most notable thing is that Holland gets involved in this kind of music again - and he still has the ear and abilities to so, no doubt about that! Parker is masterful as was to be expected. But the sheer amount of music is a bit too much for regular consumption.

MI0004404635.jpg

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Much better than "quite good" for me.

I agree about the amount of music but the changes of line ups from within the quartet provides a variety. Ches Smith is the voice that really stands out for me, the others are on top of their game (EP just seems to get better and better) but it was a great idea to add him and Taborn to the originally slated duo. The music is really first class throughout.  Well worth spending time with but maybe not approaching all in one sitting.

One of my new releases of the year

Edited by mjazzg

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How old is Evan Parker now?

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Chick Corea is 77, Jack DeJohnette is turned 76 yesterday(!), Barry Altshcul is 75, Anthony Braxton is 73...Steve Grossman is a baby at 67...the Miles/Fillmore band that broke off into Circle and various other scenes....they're old by any measure. And Miles, of course, is dead.

And yet they persist.

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29 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Chick Corea is 77, Jack DeJohnette is turned 76 yesterday(!), Barry Altshcul is 75, Anthony Braxton is 73...Steve Grossman is a baby at 67...the Miles/Fillmore band that broke off into Circle and various other scenes....they're old by any measure. And Miles, of course, is dead.

And yet they persist.

I'm seeing Chick for the first time in September, when he brings his trio to Scullers. It's weird to hear that he's 77. It seems like yesterday that he was still in his 60s.

I haven't seen Dave Holland in quite a while. I used to see him every year at the Regattabar but I haven't seen him on any of the Boston-area clubs' schedules in ages. His quintets were something to see.

Actually, I see that he played at Berklee Performance Center back in May. I'm not surprised that I never heard about it. They are terrible at promotion.

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I remember first hearing about Chick around the time of the first RTF album (the one with Flora), early 70s, and then, ok fusion RTF forward, Circle, Now He Sings, ECM solo records going backwards, seemed normal enough. BUT... a few years later I was  shocked to find him on some Blue Mitchell records and then ever more shocked to find him on a freakin' HERBIE MANN record. It was like the more I found him going backward, the older he got standing in place right there.

Still, this was a good solo, still is.

 

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I think it’s a good recording and Ches is also the one who stands out for me. It certainly needs to be listened to in portions as it’s quite a bit to take in. I’d prefer a live recording of the quartet.

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Ches Smith's The Bell is quite good and very dense, took me several listens to take in when I reviewed it.  Should give it another spin.  Listening to the bandcamp link of Uncharted Territories very interesting.  Was gonna just sample a few tracks but was drawn in.

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Rocket Science w/Craig Taborn, Evan Parker, Peter Evans, Sam Pluta at the Big Ears Festival in March.

-LY3n038e7AnxXy9l0G9LVMbm746TVBztK0ttn97

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45 minutes ago, CJ Shearn said:

Ches Smith's The Bell is quite good and very dense, took me several listens to take in when I reviewed it.  Should give it another spin.  Listening to the bandcamp link of Uncharted Territories very interesting.  Was gonna just sample a few tracks but was drawn in.

I’ve seen that trio live probably 5 times over the past 5 years. As great a group as there is in jazz/improvised music. Not convinced that the ECM effect works for the music. I saw them early this year and they played all new music and it was a spectacular 65 minute set. Only surpassed by an amped up electric set (Craig on keyboards) they played in late 2016. That was the show that my wife told Mat Maneri he reminded her of Jimi Hendrix. Too bad there is none of that type of mind bending improvisation with Ches playing as powerful drums as I can remember on The Bell.

I kind of feel the same way about Uncharted Territories. Nice to hear Holland play ing with Evan again but the band and/or the recording never gets to the burning high intensity that marks the best work/playing of Ches Smith and the tenor playing of Parker (although brilliant) doesn’t get to the level that we hear on the most recent Parker-Guy-Lytton recording in Intakt - that is a live recording from The Vortex.

I also wonder if Holland can be as an effective foil or partner on double bass as the *great* John Edwards or even John Hebert with Evan Parker. Seems to me one needs to be more committed to this music for the energy to show. I don’t hear it but I’ll keep listening.

 

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In contrast, I really enjoy EP's playing on this because it isn't his "energy" style (which I adore). Seeing him a few times in last couple of years I would hazard a suggestion that there's a mature/late style apparent in his playing where there's a slower, considered approach to his soloing. I hear his playing on Uncharted Territories as coming from an almost Giuffre-esque lineage. Obviously with an improvisor of such unique facility his choice of solo approach reflects often who he's playing with/responding to.

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Reading the other impressions here, my "quite good" may be explained by not being that much into Ches Smith ... I'd love to see a big-scale Parker/Holland thing, along the lines of the Intakt double disc that Parker did with Barry Guy - but quite possibly that could not better the Parker/Guy combination, so the idea mightn't be that smart ... Parker is still awesome these days, I've had multiple chances to catch him in the past few years, luckily (with Guy, with the Schlippenbach Trio - both with Lovens and Lytton, guesting with Decoy, with Globe Unity etc.).

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I still need to engage more fully with Evan Parker. I've been totally captivated every time I've heard him, but for whatever reason that has not translated into record buying, which just doesn't make sense to me...yet I continue to let it happen.

I guess it's not to late for him to make a record with Billy Joel?

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45 minutes ago, JSngry said:

I still need to engage more fully with Evan Parker. I've been totally captivated every time I've heard him, but for whatever reason that has not translated into record buying, which just doesn't make sense to me...yet I continue to let it happen.

I guess it's not to late for him to make a record with Billy Joel?

Buy “The Two Seasons” with John Edwards & Mark Sanders

2 CD set recorded during the Summer & Winter of 1999

as great as Parker is here (playing at his absolute peak level), his bass & drum band mates are just as great. The best recording I’ve ever heard of Mark Sanders who is one of my favorite 4-5 drummers on the planet, Edwards is, IMO, the ultimate bassists for this sort of music playing today and almost 20 years ago as presented on this recording, his sound is captured in a close up-front way.

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

I still need to engage more fully with Evan Parker. I've been totally captivated every time I've heard him, but for whatever reason that has not translated into record buying, which just doesn't make sense to me...yet I continue to let it happen.

I don't think any of the records translate experiencing him live (especially when he was a bit younger and more forceful), although a few come close. Conic Sections, The Snake Decides, and the later Schlippenbach Trio titles are great places to start. Agreed about the rhythm section of Edwards and Sanders... beastly!

Seeing the Schlippenbach Trio in Berlin in 2002 was life-changing for me. 

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“At The Vortex” from Parker-Guy-Lytton recorded in 1996 does a great job approximating the power and force of that great trio. Paul Lytton is especially well captured on this recording. The opening 38 minute piece demands full concentration and needs to be experienced at high volume. Life changing recording for me back almost 20 years ago. Seeing Parker live circa 1998 @ The Knitting Factory was also very important to my musical awareness. Seeing Evan in May 2001 with Mark Sanders (and Tim Berne & Drew Gress) solidified my love for Parker’s saxophone playing. He’s still my favorite saxophonist.

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4 hours ago, JSngry said:

I still need to engage more fully with Evan Parker. I've been totally captivated every time I've heard him, but for whatever reason that has not translated into record buying, which just doesn't make sense to me...yet I continue to let it happen.

I guess it's not to late for him to make a record with Billy Joel?

I'd go for Karyobin. You hear that whole Brit free improv style close to its inception.

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1 hour ago, clifford_thornton said:

Karyobin rules. The new Emanem remaster is glorious.

Agreed except in the fact that Parker is heard in his very early form which reveals little about the grand master he would become. For better examples of earlier Parker I would choose something like the 1975 recording “Hunting the Snake” (Schlippenbach Quartet with Peter Kowald added to the classic trio) or the first or second Schlippenbach Trio recordings (“First Recordings” or “Pakistani Pomade” - both from 1972). If you want early classic European Improvisation, go directly to the 1970 seminal free improvisation recording called “Topography of the Lungs”, the hard core trio recording with Parker, Derek Bailey & Han Bennink.

All all of the above 4 albums you get a good mix of tenor & soprano but it is early so it’s before any of his circular breathing on either horn. What you DO get on all them is saxophone playing with a force & intensity that is quite striking. It is also music that could be described as thoroughly angular and even grating to many ears. I was certainly taken aback when I first started listening to this music. I originally never made it through the record with Bailey & Bennink. Today it is go to stone cold classic.

To my ears he always kept some of even most of that fire throughout the years but by the 90’s his technical acumen and facility, especially on the tenor - YMMV as many rightly so are astounded by and love his innovative playing on the soprano - because his tenor playing is closest to classic free jazz type playing and when it’s in a power trio or quartet format, that’s when I hear his brilliance most clearly.

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I picked up that Lungs reissue when it came out, loved it immediately, it sounded lick radical DJ chopping, only, hey, real time playing. Not just anybody can do that, even today.

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And if you don't want to start at the beginning, which as everyone's earlier suggestions attest is possibly the best place, don't overlook the ECM catalogue for the fabulous trio recordings with Paul Bley and Barre Phillips, 'Sankt Gerold Variations' and 'Time Will Tell'. Both are a very good place to hear EP's playing in what I like to think of somewhat fancifully as a Giuffre-esque lineage.

Also, overlooked are the Electro-Acoustic Ensemble albums and more recently some truly astounding releases on his own Psi label - 'Trance Map' and 'As The Wind' are highlights for me

It's such a huge and varied discography there's entry points everywhere.

seeing either the Schlippenbach Trio or the Parker/Guy/Lytto trio live is a musical game changer

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