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Extended Play: Live At Birdland

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Album Review

Shockingly, Extended Play is Dave Holland's first live album for ECM, a label he has been associated with for 30 years! Holland's standing quintet — featuring trombonist Robin Eubanks, saxophonist Chris Potter, drummer Billy Kilson, and vibes and marimba virtuoso Steve Nelson — are, according to today's jazz standards, a veteran ensemble. On this Birdland date from 2001, they offer ample evidence as to why they are one of the most highly regarded ensembles in the music today. The material on this double-disc collection is, predictably enough, mostly taken from the band's studio releases. But that's where predictability ends. Virtually everything here is in wonderfully extended form, with only one tune clocking in under ten minutes. Eubanks' laid-back, low-register agility and rhythmic intervention are combined with the wonderfully varied melodic sensibilities of Potter, whose melodic and dynamic palette is equally rich, offering a line that is nearly fathomless in its melodic possibilities and providing the necessary off-the-ground sensibility required to front one of the most compelling, intricately threaded, and texturally diverse rhythm sections in jazz. As evidenced by the sprawling opener, "The Balance," a Holland composition, the band is a seemingly inseparable amalgam of soloists, all gathered around shifting tempos, striated harmonics, and a chromatic prism that offers no edges, but a variety of hues and shades that is startling. While the entire performance is stunning in its diversity and consistency of inspiration, discipline, and sheer vision, other standouts do include the polyrhythmic and lyrical brilliance of "Claressence" and the breathtaking set closer, "Metamorphos." If ever there were a contender for jazz record of the year, for 2003, Extended Play is it.

Customer Reviews

True Virtuosity

I cannot recommend this album enough to any person who enjoys jazz. More time is given to develop solos into epic works. Listen and marvel at the art the soloists weave throughout the infectious rhythms. Robin Eubanks is the best jazz trombonist alive, and he proves it in this album. One cannot help but to stare in utter shock and amazement at their stereo. My personal favorite: the nearly 4 minute long a capella duet between Eubanks and Chris Potter in "Prime Directive". Enjoy.

One of the best live albums of the decade

It's almost inconveivable that this group would release another studio album after seeing how well a live date lends itself to showcasing their sensibilities as composers and soloists. Although the group's earlier album Prime Directive is not to be overlooked, this date offers a number of those tunes the way they were truly meant to be heard: stretched out, deconstructed, and charged with the kind of energy that can only be generated before a live audience. Chris Potter and Robin Eubanks are so intuitively linked and possess such massive sound that they sound less like a two-horn front line than a full big band horn section--and their solos throughout the album are some of their all-time best. Dave Holland's bass can be booming and driving or tender and introspective, but in either case, his musical vision anchors the ensemble always. Steve Nelson's contributions are perhaps the most important and most underrated in the group. His solos on vibes and marimba are incomparably masterful and tasteful, but perhaps more significant are the deft, spirited voicings he provides during section playing and during other members' solos. Nelson is not merely a stand-in for a pianist--he's what makes this group's sound truly unique. The interplay between Nelson, Holland, and drummer Billy Kilson is another stunning facet of this recording, but it is from Kilson's polyrhythms, driving swing, and swaggering funk patterns that the rhythm section takes so many of its cues; all energy radiates outward from his kit.

A must-have for any music lover.

Great album

This album is fantastic. This is high quality music unlike most popular music. My most favorite part about this album is the harmonized soloing between Chris Potter (saxaphone) and Robin Eubanks (trombone). I recommend this album to all big-time Jazz music fans

Extended Play: Live At Birdland, Dave Holland Quintet
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  • $17.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Contemporary Jazz
  • Released: Sep 01, 2003

Customer Ratings