Jump to content

Dave Holland Quintet: Boring?


Recommended Posts

  • Replies 86
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

The recent DHQ albums are not ECM-ish in any way that I have come to understand the term at least. A far cry from the plantive "Nordic" studio sound that some people either love or hate. I think Prime Directive is maybe the best place to start with this group, but if you think guys like Chris Potter and Billy Kilson are boring, then maybe it's simply not for you, which is ok, everyone's got their thing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my opinion, the DH Qt. hasn't made an exciting album since 'Jumpin' In' in 83'. That band was a motherfucker! Julian Preister, Kenny Wheeler, Steve Coleman, and Steve Ellington...WOW! :excited:

The group has put out very well executed and technically impressive rcords since then, but to my ears somehow something is missing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Saw the big band last year and it bored me to death. Charts, solos, etc. I do not get it.

I've loved all of the Holland groups with Steve Coleman, and nearly all of them with Chris Potter.

But I'm with Chuck... I absolutely do not get the Dave Holland big-band, at all. I haven't heard the big-band live, but I've got the disc. And I though it was "B-" material, in terms of arrangements, and even excecution.

And I've heard the same thing from quite a few others too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What do people think of the mid-90s Gateway reunion albums? Homecoming is really good (in spite of Abercrombie's awful guitar sound -- too digital!) but most of In the Moment sounds like noodly rambling.

The original Gateway album is one of my favorite 70s jazz albums. Fusion in the best sense of the word.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another piling on for the "quintet live in person" is better.

I saw them with Potter & Kilson and they blew all the cobwebs outta my brain. The top of my skull was still tingly the next day. It was thrilling to watch Eubanks & Potter; how they'd hover on the edge listening, waiting for the right moment to come back in (let alone how they played.) Kilson (no longer the drummer) seemed like the drummer from the Muppets - he played the underside of the cymbols! Maybe that's not what some people want out of a jazz drummer, but it worked for me that night.

"Prime Directive" was a pulsating thrill ride that night. It was just one of those electrifying experiences that makes you feel good to be alive. And I don't automatically feel that after seeing a show by the way, but it is great when it happens.

Although I do like the studio albums (and the live one), I do sorta understand your not being overly enthused about the discs. I've passed over playing them for months now, and for whatever reason I'm not eager to grab one and put it in the player. I really should, but...

But if you can see them live, do so. At least the quintet.

I have no experience with the big band as I just have a feeling it's not my thing and have too many other areas to explore. Oh do I ever. :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the ECM albums and 'Extensions' is probably the fave. I was lucky enough to be helping out backstage at a club when the band toured N America with this album. Great memories of Kevin Eubanks opening up that first number of the album with the power chords and some very fine interaction with Steve Coleman. 'Smitty' Smith was pretty impressive too. Definitely a good band to see live, shame I haven't been able to see them since.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a huge gap in my Holland collection between CONFERENCE OF THE BIRDS (anyone calls that one boring needs to have their head examined - Sam Rivers, Anthony Braxton, Barry Altshul, and Holland for God's sake!) and POINTS OF VIEW, the first of what I consider the "current" Holland sound (save for the big band, which I haven't heard but supsect sounds like the smaller group but just scaled up) - although arguably DREAM OF THE ELDERS was in the same vein.

The difference between these two recordings is instructive. Holland is simply not the overtly renegade type of player he used to be. CONFERENCE is a stone classic, one of the best recordings in my collection, but much of that is down to the other players. Not to take anything away from Holland as a bassist and even as a composer (I think he's great in both categories), but he was in some VERY heavy company at that point.

The company is still excellent but inevitably a little lighter on POINTS OF VIEW. Still, I absolutely LOVE that album. Everyone sounds razor sharp and I think anyone who feels there's no passion or fire on this record is listening too much on the surface. To me it gives the lie to the idea that all ECM productions sound cold and dull. The passion is definitely there, simmering below the cool-ish vibes (which I think work tremendously well in this group) and spacious, slightly detached studio sound. Robin Eubanks stakes a major claim to being king of the young trombonists on this recording, absolutely on the job with a huge sound and ideas to spare. I could kick myself for never seeing this configuration live.

Thing is, I totally agree with people dissing Holland's current work when we come to the more recent follow-ups on ECM. PRIME DIRECTIVE was a MAJOR disappointment, I bought it but have seldom listened to it, and have NOT sprung for NOT FOR NUTHIN' or the big band date, so stung was I by this comedown.

I have to attribute this drop-off largely to Chris Potter, whose playing does very little for me in any context, whereas I am a big fan of Steve Wilson who was on POINTS OF VIEW and takes second honors there to Eubanks. Also, it seems to me that Holland has mined this seam thoroughly already, as the compositions are all starting to sound basically like variations on two or three themes.

So time to shake things up again, perhaps, Mr. Holland?

BTW, I am looking forward to going back to some of the ECM's in the gap between CONFERENCE and POINTS OF VIEW...I like Steve Coleman and Smitty Smith a lot.

Edited by DrJ
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For the second time in recent months, I've bought a very well-reviewed Dave Holland Quintet CD only to find it very, very boring.  Am I the only one who feels this way about this group?

The first time, I tried "Extended Play".  This time it was "Points of View". 

I have to admit that my preference is for the fuddy duddy stuff of the 1930s-early 1960s.  But some fantastic experience with recent releases by Roy Haynes and Wayne Shorter motivated me to try some new stuff.  Holland's group got such good reviews that I thought I should try his recordings.  I find his sax players and drummer uninspiring, and the marimba/vibes player a bit annoying.  (I do like Holland, and really like Robin Eubanks on trombone.)  And the ECM sound I've never really liked; it seems to make jazz verge on the new age music.  (I think the following group would be ideal:  Eubanks tb, Mark Turner ts, Danilo Perez p, Holland b, Roy Haynes ds; and recorded by Y. Itoh for "88".)

I must be really missing something.  The reviews are so positive.  But let me know if you agree with me, even partially.  I'd hate to think that I'm the only one who feels this way about this music.

I bought this disc pretty much on the reviews (and faith) when it first came out and had a similiar initial reaction. I've really warmed to this one upon repeated listenings. Especially disc #2, which to these ears flows like one big suite with applause thrown in every 12-15 minutes for good measure. Far from boring!

Now if I could only warm up to Ask The Ages. That's my current project.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

re: Ask the Ages, do you like rock music? I'm not saying it is rock music, just that it would help to consider it, along with jazz when listening. I had just discovered Tisziji Munoz when I heard this for the first time, so the sound was familiar.

Brain Fart. I was confusing one of the Marsalis brothers' trumpet playing at another concert around the same time. Of course it was Robin Eubanks' trombone playing, which will explain further why I associated the Dave Holland Quintet that night with Maceo Parker... Fred Wesley. Antonio Hart and Robin Eubanks were doing that thing, Nate Smith was playing backbeat, and Dave Holland was vamping with Steve Nelson's vibraphone comping. It was fun.

Thanks for pointing out the error Lazaro.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...