Dave Holland

Life Cycle

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Dave Holland didn't pull out his cello all that often, especially later in his career and outside of more freely improvised contexts. That's one reason why this album is such a pleasure but another is the sheer sumptuous richness of his tine and the playfulness of his imagination. The rip-roaring opener is a tour de force of the instruments lower registers, all swaggering attack and deeply romantic emotions. It begins a five part suite ("Life Cycle") that wanders through several emotive states, including bittersweet melancholy, before resolving things with a funky number that recalls fellow cellist Abdul Wadud and even includes a brief snippet of Monk's "Straight, No Chaser." Most of the pieces are performed arco and derive more from a romantic classical tradition than jazz (though that latter approach is certainly present), as in the lovely and elegiac "Sonnet" which sounds almost Bach-like. Along with Wadud's recording By Myself, Life Cycle is a very enchanting solo cello recital and, in Holland's case, a strong picture of a side of his musical genius that even many of his fans may well have overlooked. Recommended.

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