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Album Review

In the jazz world, there are regular working groups and pickup groups. For example, Miles Davis' 1955-1957 quintet with John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones was an honest-to-God working group while it lasted — if Davis hired local Boston musicians for a one-night gig at the Hi-Hat, it was a pickup group. Because of economics and the need to do a lot of freelance projects, working groups have a hard time staying together. But drummer Rick Hollander managed to keep a working quartet together in the '90s, and that was a good thing because he enjoyed a strong rapport with sidemen Tim Armacost (tenor sax), Walter Lang (piano), and Will Woodard (bass). One of the enjoyable documents of the Rick Hollander Quartet was Out Here, a post-bop session that he recorded for Holland's Timeless label in 1991. The CD isn't groundbreaking, but it's solid — and Hollander's combo is quite cohesive on original material as well as performances of Johnny Mercer's "Autumn Leaves" and Hoagy Carmichael's "Skylark" (which the group revisited on 1994's Once Upon a Time). Both of those standards fall into the warhorse category; they're great songs, but even so, they're overdone. Thankfully, Hollander and his colleagues don't devote all of their time to warhorses. Original tunes dominate the album, and all four members of the quartet contribute at least one composition. Those noteworthy originals range from Hollander's impressionistic "The Healer" to Armacost's optimistic "Bearable Lightness" and the Lang ballad "Something Else." Woodard, meanwhile, contributes the pensive "Ring Round Rosie." Not superb but certainly respectable, Out Here is a good example of the sort of camaraderie that four jazz improvisers can enjoy when they have strong chops and strong ears.


Genre: Jazz

b. 16 November 1956, Detroit, Michigan, USA. Hollander began playing drums at the age of nine, later studying privately with Gene Stewart and Roy Brooks. He also attended Oakland Community College where he studied piano, music theory and composition. When he was 23, he relocated to New York City and eight years later moved to Europe for a spell. He is especially well-known in Belgium and Germany. For several years he resided in Munich from which base he toured extensively. Among numerous artists...
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