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DAVE HOLLAND - Prism cover
3.54 | 7 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2013

Filed under Fusion


1 The Watcher 6:56
2 The Empty Chair (For Clare) 8:31
3 Spirals 8:46
4 Choir 4:49
5 The Color Of Iris 7:27
6 A New Day 7:51
7 The True Meaning Of Determination 9:19
8 Evolution 10:24
9 Breathe 5:40

US double vinyl edition(Redeye ‎– 6 34457 60481 0) bonus track:
D2 The Winding Way


Dave Holland: bass
Craig Taborn: piano, Fender Rhodes
Kevin Eubanks: guitar
Eric Harland: drums

About this release

Okeh / Dare2 Records – 88883721802 (Europe)

Recorded at Sear Sound / August 9-10-2012

Thanks to snobb for the addition and js for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Steve Wyzard

When I first reviewed Prism for another site 10 years ago, I will admit I kind of pooh-poohed it. It's not really a fusion album, I insisted. There are no organs, exotic substances, inner enlightenment, or sci-fi crossovers. I'd like to now walk this view back and own up, after listening to it for the last 10 years, to the fact that yes, it is a real fusion album. It should also be noted that unlike many Dave Holland albums, there are also no brass/horns, and it's not a big band album. So allow me to make myself clear: Prism is not only an honest-to-goodness fusion album, but it's also one of the very best jazz records of the 2010s decade.

Holland's cohorts on this album are Craig Taborn, piano and Fender Rhodes, Kevin Eubanks, guitars, and Eric Harland on drums. Do you enjoy frantically driven, intense soloing? You've come to the right place, for Prism provides bushels and bushels of it over its 70:07 runtime. I say this as someone who believes that very few studio albums merit a runtime of longer than 60-65 minutes, but in this case it's absolutely justified.

Wait until you hear Eubanks's twisted, distorted lines on "The Watcher", the Leslie-cabinet effect on "Choir", the Gibson hollow-body tone on the spooky "The Color of Iris", and the Wah-Wah pedal on "Breathe". His solo at the end of "A New Day" brings Wes Montgomery into the 21st century. More than just a non-stop soloist, he often doubles the melody lines with Taborn. Eric Harland is quite simply amazing, especially in a rimshot showpiece at the end of "Evolution". Taborn is the "most free" of this incomparable quartet: the quirky stops and starts of "Spirals" and the stunning piano solo on "The True Meaning of Determination" are beyond awe-inspiring.

And what of Holland himself? As always, he's the bedrock beneath the terra firma. His all-too-rare solos sound so effortless that they almost defer attention. In spite of throwing jabs like a heavyweight champ, the listener can almost take his lines for granted, so cohesively do they mesh into the musical fabric. And while no one would compare Prism to 1978's all-solo Emerald Tears, his dexterity, innovation, and virtuosity have not suffered after almost 50 years of recorded performances.

So yes, this is a fusion album, and if you haven't heard this yet, I strongly urge you to rectify that situation. Even at this late date, Prism deserves to be mentioned among the all-time greats of the genre.
Dave Holland started out his career performing on some of the most vital early fusion albums created, but since then has not returned to that style often, until now. “Prism” marks a return to fusion for Holland, but in styles different from what he helped create with Miles and others back in the late 60s. The first two cuts on here feature guitarist Kevin Eubanks and sound like something from the late 70s when heavily distorted guitar shredders ruled the day, but on “Spirals”, the band moves into more of a free session with the avant-garde leaning pianist Craig Taborn leading the way. “Choir” is a sort of calypso with a constantly modulating melody sounding a bit like Ornette Coleman's Prime Time, and “The Color of Iris” presents a more introspective side of the band.

The playing on this CD is excellent, with the more modern sensibilities of Taborn and drummer Eric Harland keeping “Prism” from sounding like a relic from the 70s, although Eubank’s skills on guitar will not disappoint the fusion fan looking for some fretboard fireworks. Continuing with the tracks, “A New Day” gets jazzy with a free flowing post bop swing and acoustic piano solos from Taborn. Of the remaining cuts, the most interesting moment on this CD happens in the middle of “The True Meaning of Determination” when the rhythm breaks down and Taborn and Harland exchange broken sounding rhythmic figures sounding like a drum machine beat being quantified. It’s a striking effect and probably difficult to pull off. “Breathe” closes the CD with more quiet stillness and some nice piano work.

As mentioned earlier, the playing on here is outstanding with a nice abstract modern influence, but not all of the songs on here are all that memorable. As is often the case with fusion albums, the songs seem merely too exist so the musicians can cut to the solos.

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