Portrait of a Band
Fans of Naxos’ Jazz Icons DVD series should enjoy this live performance of the Dave Holland Quintet, presented by ArtHaus Musik. The renowned bassist and his group are captured at the 1986 Zelt-Music Festival in Freiburg, Germany. Holland was by this time a legendary figure thanks to his contributions to Miles Davis’ late-sixties fusion period, as well as celebrated excursions into the avant-garde. In this concert, he focused on more straightforward yet still challenging hard bop, leading a band of front rank jazz musicians—trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, saxophonist Steve Coleman, trombonist Robin Eubanks and drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith—through a program of engaging and angular compositions. The music is distinguished by tight ensemble playing and long, meaty solos that explore new ground rather than recycled cliches. The visual presentation is clean and simple, with unobtrusive camerawork and fluid editing that effectively showcase the group’s individual players and collective rapport. There are no extras or special features, just good, solid jazz that sounds as compelling today as it did in 1986. That’s really all you need.
Was this review helpful to you?YESNO