Dave Holland Not for Nothin' Review

Album. Released 21 August 2001.  

BBC Review

Brit bassist and his group go from strength to strength with another Grammy award...

Peter Marsh 2002

Dave Holland has worked with such diverse figures as Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Derek Bailey and Anthony Braxton, in the process earning a reputation as one of the finest jazz bassists of his generation, at home equally with standards, post bop grooves and free improvisation. Since the early 80s he's led his own quintet, recording several superb albums for ECM of accessibly melodic yet muscular jazz, and winning possibly every jazz award known to man. Not for Nothin' is the second recording by this version of the quintet and is possibly the best group album of the lot, surpassing even Seeds of Time. Dave had better start clearing some more space on his mantelpiece...

Like Charlie Mingus, Holland can get very big sounds out of a small group. His band is totally in command of its resources, aware of its influences but not imitating them, and at the same time unhindered by any quest for novelty (no turntablists in evidence here). Holland and drummer Billy Kilson negotiate complex time signatures effortlessly and what's more they make them groove; check the oily polyrhythmic funk of 'Global Citizen' for the evidence. They're also highly responsive, never overplaying, but able to turn the heat up under the soloists when required, as on 'Shifting Sands' and the M-Base meets Miles polymetrics of "What Goes Around", where Kilson's torrential snare hits provoke trombonist Robin Eubanks into a fiery solo smeared with multiphonic growls. Eubanks (a long time Holland collaborator) is on astounding form and is ridiculously agile; his long, detailed solos on "Lost and Found" must have left him unable to talk for a few hours.

Critically lauded saxophonist Chris Potter combines the rhythmic ebullience of Sonny Rollins with the weightless lyricism of Wayne Shorter on alto or tenor; though he's more restrained than on earlier solo outings, his solo on "What Goes Around" is an intense, sustained flurry of ideas. Steve Wilson's vibes are deep in the rhythm section's pocket, riffing or firing off spare, hanging chords. His own "Go Fly a Kite" is lovely, reminiscent of some of Carla Bley's writing for Gary Burton and inspiring some beautiful alto playing from Potter. Holland's own playing is predictably great, ranging from bluesy ruminations to freebop scrabble, and his ensemble playing is sensitive, supportive and suggestive as ever. Propulsive, exciting and very satisfying. If I hear a better jazz record this year, I'll be very lucky...

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