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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dave Holland- Mental Images

Being a bass player and a fan of jazz, I have always been a big fan of Dave Holland. He is a British musician who has risen out of the usual backdrop role of jazz bassists and founded a really great big band that has put out a handful of innovative albums. I remember buying "Overtime" in 10th grade and listening to it a few times, and even seeing Dave Holland perform with his band in support of the record, but I guess I never "got it". This week, however, I broke this record out again after 4 years, and I've got to say it's pretty slamming. Most of the tracks are pretty straight forward modern big band stuff, solid composition and great solos from Holland's band of all stars. One track, however, stands out to me as a modern classic. "Mental Images" is Holland at his best, a ripping 9 minute track bursting at its seems with energy and drive. It begins with some classic bass noodling from Dave but breaks into a rock solid groove highlighting the unsung heroes of the big band brass, the trombones. The song is in a really weird time signature which I've never really been able to pinpoint, but the fact that the rhythm section can hold such a tight groove with such weird time just makes the track even better. The brass brings several cool riffs interwoven around Dave's bass and the main horn riff. Anyway, even though the track weighs in heftily at 9 minutes, it definitely never drags or gets boring- a feat which few jazz tracks can accomplish. Not a jazz fan? Give this a listen. Toss your Kenny G discs and hear what a true OG can bring to the table- jazz lives!

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