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Prime Directive

28 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 29, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

Bassist Dave Holland has always brought top-shelf bands to the stage, and the quintet on Prime Directive is no exception. Saxophonist Chris Potter is on board, replacing Steve Wilson and linking arms with trombonist Robin Eubanks, vibraphonist Steve Nelson, and drummer Billy Kilson. Together, the quintet performs phenomenally tight on their complex charts, with Kilson playing matchmaker between the complicated orchestrations and the deceptively simple-sounding melodies. Holland has his customary rumble, packed with precision and a peerless sense of forward direction. Five of the tunes are the leader's, all of them highlighted by ECM records' crystalline production aesthetic. Eubanks and Potter take flighty, heady solos and play unison lines with Nelson's vibes, marking a middle ground that's both a center of focus and a curious light shining back on the rest of the band. Aside from Holland's five compositions, each band member also adds one of his own tunes, making the album at once diverse and remarkably coherent. --Andrew Bartlett

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 29, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: February 29, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ECM
  • ASIN: B00002DDZL
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,118 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 10, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you're familiar with the Dave Holland Quintet, you probably aren't reading this. I'm writing this review for those of you who aren't familiar with Holland and who may be into straight-ahead jazz new and old. What I have to say is this: If you're thinking of trying out something fresh that is rooted in tradition but is also very modern and unique (like I was when I bought this), you may enjoy this disc, or even come to love it. I'm not kidding. The music is complex yet accessible, refined yet funky, melodic without being cloying. The group's musicianship is impeccable. Plus, the album never gets old, listen after listen. I've had it 6 months and have easily listened to it all the way through over fifty times. (Gee, maybe it's time I bought more CDs?) Seriously, though, open up and try this one out.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Greg Randolph on December 13, 2000
Format: Audio CD
To put it quite simply, this album is a landmark recording and the quintessential Quintet recording of the past decade. I own every solo recording by Dave Holland and it seems as if he is one of the few artists who strives to elevate his music with each new outing. "Prime Directive" features Holland on double-bass, the brilliant tenor, alto, and soprano saxophone work of Chris Potter, the ever powerful trombone of Robin Eubanks (take that brother Kev), the sweet vibe and marimba sounds of Steve Nelson, and the rock solid drumming of Billy Kilson. Each of the eight cuts off of this nearly 77 minute outing is a masterpiece in and of itself. No artist attempts to out play the others. It's a "true" quintet and team effort. Make this disc a must have and trust me when I say, listening to this disc proves that jazz is alive and healthy and this group just ran a marathon with this one... Greg Randolph
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 9, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I had almost given up hoping that any real players (except maybe Branford Marsalis) were still pushing the envelope. But Holland's band pushes it softly, with the most gorgeous layers of counterpoint and harmony/melody in the arrangements. This band kind of reminds me of a 21st century Birth of the Cool, but frankly I like it better than the nonet. This is the best new jazz I HAVE HEARD FOR YEARS.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "zimri-lim" on September 30, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Currently I am listening to and enjoying this CD enormously and find that it is ever revealing new touches and nuances. Some parts are reflective and beautiful, others are driving and assertive but all of it is finely balanced and extremely well arranged for the complex quintet ensemble.
This is jazz music of the highest order from outstanding musicians with a slightly unusual but highly effective mix of instruments.
It is interesting that this band is Bassist Dave Holland's quintet, leading from the rhythm section has meant that the foreground is not dominated by the leader and this is what gives the music it's greatest strength - the subtlety and harmonic fullness provided by the sax, trombone and vibes all acting democratically. Hearing the sax and trombone blending in together and intertwining is moving and evocative; the vibes contributing subtly but then bursting forward in flurries of notes. Magic!
The arrangements are so good that these guys would sound great even playing "three blind mice" but fortunately they are playing strong original material too. All musicians are individually excellent and show this when they take the floor for solos - in particular the trombone sounds great. However it's when they are working together when the magic really comes.
A further point is that the CD is an excellent recording. I have been playing it on a fairly serious hi-fi and it sounds as if the quintet is in my front room. When the trombone gets blown hard everyting in the room vibrates (including my lungs!).
Congratulations to Dave Holland for putting together and leading this superb group, he has produced a fine work. He should also be proud of his quintet which is, in my view, the most interesting and creative unit operating in this area of jazz.
My advice? Buy this - it is arguably the outstanding jazz CD release of 2000.
Plus - look out for the quintet's newest release "Not for Nothin'".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Scott on March 12, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Dave Holland's groups are among the best in jazz today. He combines simple and complex musical elements to create a unique type of jazz. It is full of hypnotic vamps, and there is always a strong rhythmic drive. Even with all of the strange time-signatures, it is not hard to follow the structure of the music. At the same time, all of the players are extremely advanced melodically, harmonically, and rhythmically. Chris Potter, in particular, takes the harmony to the furthest extremes of complexity. But because of the rhythmic strength and the repetitive underlying harmonies, I think even newbie jazz fans could enjoy this album.

There is not a single loser on this album. Every song is catchy and engaging, and most of the solos (especially those of Chris Potter and Steve Nelson) are, for all their complexity, melodic and memorable.

This is the kind of album that you can listen to endlessly without getting tired of it. Indeed, I've listened to the title track alone in excess of 50 times.

If you haven't heard any Dave Holland, or if you are new to modern jazz, this is a great place to start. If you are an experienced jazz fan, this will be a valuable addition to your collection.
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