This exceptional date by Dave Holland Big Band was recorded in 2002 in New York, yet remained unreleased until 2005. As is to be expected, Holland assembled a fine cast of seasoned and young players, some of whom are veterans of Holland's quintets and quartets. These are four saxophones -- two alto, tenor and baritone -- three trumpets and trombones, and vibes as well as bass and drums. They include Chris Potter and Robin and Duane Eubanks, Antonio Hart, Steve Nelson, Josh Roseman, Billy Kilson, Taylor Haskins, Gary Smulyan, Jonathan Arons and Alex Sipiagin. The music centers around the opening four-part "Monterey Suite," a tour de force commissioned by the Monterey Jazz Festival and originally performed there in 2001. Holland's writing for the trombone section is dynamite. Roseman, Arons, and Robin Eubanks offer up solid bottom rung lines and tight timing as anchors for the rest of the brass though they often charge out front. Potter once more displays his talents as not only a fine soloist but as an excellent ensemble player, carrying the chair with authority and verve. The beautiful "Ario" hosts some really knotty and swelling harmonic interludes and the closer, "Last Minute Man," is electrifying, transcending the confines of the studio. This is an essential Holland date, it is exciting, colorful and wildly innovative. Let's hope he composes and records more in this idiom soon.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek
feat: Dave Holland Quintet