Has Dave Holland ever made a bad recording? If so, I haven’t found it. I could pass 52 weeks choosing tracks featuring his work. (Maybe next year). But this one will serve for the second item on my list.
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It is more or less a short version of the solo recital Holland occasionally delivers live (you can find a few on YouTube). A London date at Wigmore Hall a few years back was a single set that lasted twice as long as this CD, but featured many of the same, long-cherished tunes. So what we have is a selection of the pieces Holland is closest to, and what he can tell us he feels about them, unaided.
I choose Cashel for its lovely, lilting tune. It’s the one I’ll be humming when I get to the end, usually. It’s typical of the set, too, in the elaboration and decoration, which never move too far from the basic line. At 5 minutes it’s roughly the same length as the others – time for a statement, some variation, and a reprise. The business here, on each track, is to explore the deep mood of the song, not to put it through the wringer of virtuosity.