Prism All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Tue., Oct. 1, 7 & 9:30 p.m. 2013

It’s great to see a new band from bassist Dave Holland that breaks with the winning formula he’s used for decades in his quintet—its lineup of vibes, saxophone, trombone, bass, and drums has helped define its sound, but so has Holland’s elegant postbop writing. On the self-titled debut of his new quartet, Prism (Dare2), Holland ditches front-line horn players in favor of electric guitarist Kevin Eubanks (leader of the Tonight Show Band from 1995 till 2010 and a member of Holland’s groups in the late 80s) and keyboardist Craig Taborn (who alternates between acoustic and electric piano). Holland sticks with upright bass, pulling the music back from the fusion precipice that Eubanks and Taborn’s unison lines (and the former’s processed, watery tone) sometimes seem to be hurtling toward, but it’s not always enough—“Choir,” written by the group’s drummer, Eric Harland, is haunted by the ghosts of Weather Report. Fortunately the music is generally unfussy, and it offers a rare chance to hear Taborn in a more straight-ahead mode—he’s just as great here as he is in more progressive territory. Considering that Holland worked with Miles Davis when the trumpeter transformed his music with proto-fusion, I was hoping Prism would get a bit more explosive or dissonant, but even in the absence of such fireworks the music is often sublime. Onstage the band should be even better, since hearing Taborn stretch out live is always worth the price of admission. —Peter Margasak

Price: $20-$45

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