REVIEW: Dave Holland's Prism at Ronnie Scott's

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Monday July 07, 2014

From London Jazz

REVIEW: Dave Holland’s Prism at Ronnie Scott’s
By Michael Underwood

Dave Holland’s Prism took to the stage at Ronnie Scott’s last night to deliver a breathtakingly audacious performance. The set they performed felt far shorter than the two hours it was.

Dave Holland’s bass harmonic tuning notes led into the first piece of the gig – his composition entitled A New Day. Free improvisation merged into a groove in five featuring rock-inspired guitar, a nifty pentatonic bass solo from Holland and a fascinatingly modest drum solo. The minutiae of their interplay displayed an almost telepathic relationship between the musicians on stage. The amount of playing this group has done together clearly shows – their musical bonds are so strong that anything is possible. The music they create is like a raffle in which everything and anything is constantly up for grabs.

Guitarist Kevin Eubanks was responsible for more of the compositions played on the gig than the other band-members. Evolution consisted of an ethereal, meandering introduction leading into a driving bass groove. Twelvish Breach opened with a musical conversation between Holland and Eubanks which descended into a complex rocky feel building to an arousing cacophony of sound. One of the most amazing things about this band is that they don’t start grooves, they find them.

Eubanks’ third composition The Watcher featured as the encore, encouraged by a transfixed audience. The often simple grooves are extremely engaging and let any listener in. I think the lack of a front line player in this group is one of its biggest advantages. All the players have the potential to solo or to be in the background and this gives their music an incredible amount of unity.

With all the pieces on this gig, the bass groove was the foundation of everything. Always having one element as a constant creates an amazing amount of freedom for the ensemble to explore.Dave Holland displayed his true mastery of his instrument joyously throughout the gig. He cares about every single note he plays.

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