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Album Review

For this tight and enjoyable quartet date, bassist Dave Holland spread the composing opportunities around, his sidemen accounting for four of the six pieces. Arguably, none of these musicians ever sounded better, or more adventurous, than when performing in Holland's bands. While the leader himself retreated a good deal from his more routinely avant-garde recordings of the '70s, he appeared unwilling to allow his younger compadres to simply coast, instead evoking probing and thoughtful playing from them. Altoist Steve Coleman derives particular benefit from Holland's supervision, sounding far more fluid and confident than own his own rather more stilted albums. The pieces follow a general head-solos-head format, though with substantial elasticity and enough variation that no sense of sameness settles in. Holland, of course, is masterful throughout, and one can easily imagine simply listening exclusively to his basslines, the amazing imagination they convey, and being very satisfied. One of his better albums from this period, Extensions should please any Holland fan, and is an agreeable and non-threatening jumping in point for the curious.

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Extensions, Dave Holland Quartet
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