The Monterey Quartet: Treachery




The Monterey Quartet


Live at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey Jazz Festival Records (Concord) 31244)

Buy Track


Dave Holland (bass), Chris Potter (tenor sax), Gonzalo Rubalcaba (piano), Eric Harland (drums).

Composed by Eric Harland


Recorded: Monterey Jazz Festival, September 22, 2007


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

Most jazz festivals these days hold few surprisesóa string of working bands play the same music they perform in other venuesóbut the half-century old Monterey event has always been different. Important jazz works, such as Ellington's Suite Thursday or Brubeck's The Real Ambassadors, made their debut here. A musician's career could change on the basis of the right chemistry at the right moment, as happened with John Handy's 1965 performance of "Spanish Lady." And even the casual jams have turned into special events with the appearance of an unannounced guest, some inspired bit of grandstanding, or a simmering rivalry among the horns.

Monterey continues this tradition of courting the unexpected, as demonstrated by this charged performance by an all star band from the 2007 festival. Dave Holland's music has been amply recorded over the years, but how often do fans get to hear him with a piano player? He has proven, in work with Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock, that he matches up admirably with the 88 keys, but he has banished them from most of his leader dates. Cuban-born Gonzalo Rubalcaba handles the ebonies and ivories here, and he brings his fiery brand of pianism to the forefront on this track. Chris Potter is a flexible accompanist, able to handle the exigencies of any situation, but it is refreshing to hear him in this setting after the garage jam band ambiance of his latest release. Eric Harland is both drummer and composer on this track, and plays with a sound that is both big and crisp, qualities that sometimes seem to be mutually exclusive in the work of other percussionists. No one is playing on the home court here, but it's all for the better, as the players strive for a more collective approach than in their own individual projects. All in all, the music lives up to the rich heritage of Monterey music-making that proceeds it, and it serves as a worthy choice for the festival's entry into producing recordings of current day artists.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia


Comments are closed.