Dave Holland Quintet

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: TDK Jazz
WORKS: Dave Holland Quintet
PERFORMER: Live 1986 (Freiburg Music Festival)
CATALOGUE NO: DV-JDHQ

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Bassist of choice for Miles Davis and Manfred Eicher’s ECM stable, Dave Holland certainly chooses his own playing partners well. Here’s his mid-Eighties quintet — regular collaborator Kenny Wheeler and three young guns: the wonderfully fluent altoist Steve Coleman, who exudes a Coltrane-like unblinking intensity; the more understated trombone of Robin Eubanks; and flashy dresser and smart drummer Marvin ‘Smitty’ Smith, who throws in his accents with as much intelligence as playfulness.

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The three-horn set-up gives a full, fat sound to Doug Hammond’s ‘World Protection Blues’, in which Eubanks’s loping, rough-edged solo fits perfectly. Coleman really lets fly on Holland’s ‘New One’ and it’s great to have close-ups of the leader as he cranks up a burning solo on his own ‘Homecoming’. A ballad and one big Smitty solo would have added more shades to an already strong set, but this is probing, incisive playing, and Coleman is mightily impressive. Peter Somerford