Sunday, September 06, 2009

Monterey Quartet - Live at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival (MJFP, 2009)

When the legendary Monterey Jazz Festival wants to put together an all star band, it doesn't mess around. Leaning heavily on Dave Holland's working group (arguably the best in jazz over the past decade) the group has Holland on bass, Chris Potter on tenor saxophone, Gonzalo Rubalcaba on piano and Eric Harland on drums. This live recording is very exciting, filled with passionate soloing and consistently interesting teamwork and compositions. The first track on this live album is "Treachery," and explosive performance that sets the tone right from the start. Potter lays out at first, while the strong deep piano trio plays, and then he enters with a masculine and potent tenor sax solo which adventurous, powerful and filled with dedication. "Minotaur" has a medium tempo starting with a deeply rhythmic drum solo soon joined by pulsing bass and strong saxophone, building to fast paced impressive sax feature. "Outra Mirada" is a nice ballad feature for piano, bass and drums, while "Step To It" increases the tempo to medium and Rubalcaba adding a flavor from the piano chair. Strong tenor sax and bass solos make way for a nice feature for Harland at the end with the full band in support. "Maiden" takes the music back down to ballad tempo, opening with an unaccompanied bass solo and then building to a majestic tenor sax feature. Rubalcaba gets a nice solo feature on his composition "50" which is uptempo and colorful. "Ask Me Why" takes things out in a torrid fashion, with the whole group swinging frantically at a very high tempo. This was an excellent album, consistently exciting and interesting throughout. The state of the art for modern jazz at the moment, the festival chose quite wisely when putting this group together. This will figure strongly in many best of lists at the end of the year.
Live at the 2007 Jazz Festival - amazon.com

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