DAVE HOLLAND — Prism (review)

DAVE HOLLAND — Prism album cover Album · 2013 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
js
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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