Story and Photos by Brad Walseth, Copyright 2010
Joe and Wayne Segal's Jazz Showcase was the scene for last week's appearance by the Dave Holland Quintet. Perhaps the finest quintet working in jazz today, the Grammy-award-winning Holland has kept this exceptional ensemble together for over a decade (with the exception of drummer Nate Smith - who joined in 2006) - while releasing several highly-acclaimed recordings, and thrilling crowds with the band's live performances. Sunday afternoon's concert was no exception, and the Showcase was packed with jazz fans excited to catch Holland, Smith and the rest of his quintet - vibraphonist Steve Nelson, trombonist Robin Eubanks and saxophonist Chris Potter - in action within the cozy confines of this Printer's Row-area jazz club.
The veteran British-born bassist - perhaps best known for his being chosen by Miles Davis to replace Ron Carter in his band - ultimately performing on the trumpeter's iconic Bitches Brew - has had a stellar career, working with the top names in jazz (Davis, Herbie Hancock, Stan Getz, Joe Henderson, Betty Carter, John Abercrombie, Bill Frisell, Tomasz Stanko, Steve Coleman) - while cementing his reputation as a composer and bandleader across a wide range of configurations - from trios to big bands.
The quintet started off with a bang, lunging powerfully into a number. which featured trombonist Eubanks as primary soloist. On "Ario," from Overtime, saxophonist Potter switched over to soprano for a fiery solo, while vibraphonist Nelson also took an extended solo spot. Meanwhile, Holland's solos reminded everyone why he is considered perhaps the finest straight-ahead bassist of his generation. Now 63, Holland shows no sign of slowing down - he still exhibits his love of playing, while creating bass lines that are solid, yet adventurous rhythmically and melodically.
The set continued with an outstanding version of "Metamorphosos" - from Extended Play - written by Eubanks, who took a brilliant solo, followed by Potter - who exploded with stratospheric runs of notes on tenor on perhaps his best solo of the afternoon. Additionally, drummer Smith pitched in with volcanic drumming on this crowd pleasing number.
Nelson's lovely ballad, "Go Fly a Kite" followed and slowed things down a bit. However, the crowd thoroughly enjoyed this composition, as well as the vibraphonist's sensitive touch on the vibes. The five-song set ended with "Free for All" (also from the big band release Overtime). This incendiary number offered up great ensemble work, as well as wide open blowing and a powerful drum solo. The afternoon matinee sessions offer a great way for young people to see world class musicians in a club setting, and it was a pleasure to see many young people took the opportunity to join their elders in enjoying the Dave Holland Quintet in action.