Dave Holland & Prism
Even the staunchest fans of Dave Holland may have wondered what the heck he and Kevin Eubanks, Craig Taborn and Eric Harland were doing on Prism. What was up with the screaming guitar solos, swirling keyboards and exploding drums? The answer, quite simply, was that these revered musicians were having great fun revealing a side of their talent that they haven’t often gotten a chance to show off.
Actually, the album’s fusion-style sound shouldn’t have come as that big a surprise to Holland followers. The great bassist was an integral part of Miles Davis’ electric bands of the late-’60s. Before he took over as music director of The Tonight Show, Eubanks was no stranger to rock-influenced styles. Taborn recently recorded two spellbinding acoustic masterpieces for ECM, but he has contributed to all kinds of progressive projects. And there’s never been any mystery about Harland’s chops.
Officially, Prism is Holland’s band, but in performing compositions by all its members and distributing solos evenly, it’s a collective. That said, pay close attention to the leader. Though it may seem that he’s the one playing a supporting role with his weight-bearing, groove-enhancing notes, his melodic accents and foundational sound are crucial to the band’s success. Voted one of the top releases of 2013, Prism is a dilly. But performed live, the music promises to transport listeners even further, and higher.