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Dave Holland's Prism at SF Jazz

I've been busy starting new recording projects (including TVP II) and realize I still need to write about the brilliant Bay Area debut of Dave Holland's Prism in February at SF Jazz.  Holland has been at the forefront of new music for over 40 years, and is still fresh, challenging, and inventive.  Originally discovered by Miles playing at Ronnie Scott's in London, he replaced Ron Carter in the Quintet.  With Chick Corea on electric piano, and Jack DeJohnette on drums, within two years the music changed from the still largely acoustic Filles de Killimanjaro, to Silent Way, to Bitches Brew.

A new cd/dvd set live from Europe in 1968 demonstrates just how powerful this "missing" Quintet was.  And Holland was at the very core of the change - even recommending former roommate John McLaughlin to Miles.  After Miles, Holland recorded Conference of the Birds with Sam Rivers, Barry Altschul, and Anthony Braxton for ECM, which marked another major change in improvised music.  On both acoustic and electric bass he has been on countless important records.  Two of my favorites are So Near, So Far - Joe Henderson with John Scofield and Al Foster, and Hands, with the great flamenco guitarist Pepe Habichuela.

Prism features Kevin Eubanks on guitar, Eric Harland on drums, and Craig Taborn on acoustic and electric piano.  Freed from the constraints of his long time gig on the Tonight Show, Eubanks was fiery and inventive; nearly harmelodic in a Blood Ulmer way.  Harland is majestic and wildly creative, and Taborn was a revelation.  Souful, funky, and with a mastery of harmony, Taborn is a perfect foil for the continuously creative Holland.  Always a very generous leader, Prism performs compositions by all the members.  Past, present, and future all are a split second away when Holland plays.  And if it is somewhat reminiscent of the best of 60's fusion, it should be.  Dave helped invent it!