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Critical Mass

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Reseña de álbum

One word that comes to mind when listening to Critical Mass is generosity. Double-bassist Dave Holland, four decades into his career, could certainly be forgiven for taking the word "leader" at its literal meaning, calling all the shots and keeping his musicians at bay. But that's not what he's about, and at any given time Critical Mass could just as easily have been credited to saxist Chris Potter, trombonist Robin Eubanks, vibist/marimbaist Steve Nelson, or drummer Nate Smith. Each player is provided with ample moments in which to take charge, and not fleeting, gratuitous moments but rather significant chunks of solo/lead space. Holland's belief in sharing extends to the area of composition as well. Each bandmember contributes one piece to the album (Holland does claim the other four, however) and, more often than not, uses that opportunity to shapeshift, to push the band — and make no mistake, this is a band, not a random collection of studio players — into unexplored territory. That's not to say that Holland takes a back seat — his presence is always strongly felt — only that he recognizes that the bass is, first and foremost, a support instrument and he's content with using it as such when the piece calls for it. When he does step in to take the leadership role, he is endlessly creative, commanding in his ability to sidestep predictability and further his own legend. The particular mix of instrumentation here allows for numerous rhythmic and tonal variations as well: on the album's longer pieces, in particular — Eubanks' exploratory "Full Circle," Holland's appropriately hypnotic "Easy Did It," Nelson's multi-hued "Amator Silenti" — the quintet's cohesiveness and utmost respect for one another becomes clearer by the minute.

Reseñas de clientes

Adventures in jazz

Dave Holland is not merely a superb bass player, he is an adventurous one. This spirit of adventure leads him to collaborate in an amazingly different number of contexts, recording with musicians as diverse as Gary Burton and Paris-based oud player Anouar Brahim. It is not at all surprising that he should choose an unusual lineup of instruments for his quintet: saxophone, trombone, vibes, bass, drums. The resulting sound is a breath of fresh air, and like little else in your music collection. Of course, it helps that each of the players is skilled and imaginitive, and that Holland is a strong composer. You can check out the selections yourself, but the mood is both mellow and energetic. I might have preferred the a little more energy and a little less relaxation, but I've only listened to it twice and may change my mind over time. The iTunes bonus track is great, and in this case more is more. Four stars for now (which very few albums get from me), but could go to five in the future.


This group is truly phenomenal! There is a great sense of empathetic creativity within the group, each members creativity directly effected and influenced unconciously by the individual talents of the group. My favorite thing about this album is the amount of trust-between the soloists and the "rhythm section", it's always strong, making it easy for things to go way out and just land hard right where it's supposed to...beautiful.

This is not your fathers swing

Very creative writting and solid playing on this recording. Definatley worth cheking out

Critical Mass, Dave Holland Quintet
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Valoraciones de clientes