Steve Nelson and Chris Potter 
of the Dave Holland Quintet

Dave Holland Returns to the Bird

The Dave Holland Quintet confirmed its reputation as one of the best combos in jazz when it returned to the Bird of Paradise in Ann Arbor on April 7. I was able to hear their first set. The quintet played several numbers from its new CD, Prime Directive, such as the opening number, "Looking Up." As during their last performance, I was struck with how cohesive the group was. The excellent solo passages were interspersed with a lot of interesting ensemble work. 

Holland's bass playing was as soulful as ever — for example on "Make Believe," which also featured some nice alto work by Chris Potter. Holland and Billy Kilson on drums were a very effective rhythm section. I was particularly impressed with how Kilson built up tension with his bass and snare drums. In contrast, his cymbal playing was less central. The most unique soloist in the group was Steve Nelson on the vibes. He is a player with his own sense of rhythm and melody. The audience was extremely enthusiastic and it was great to see the new expanded Bird filled to the brim for music of this very fine caliber.  photograph by Lars Björn