The great bassist, Dave Holland, has explained that his approach to music is informed by a simple philosophy (inspired by the late Sam Rivers): play all of it. This was certainly on display during Aziza’s motley set at Ronnie Scott’s in London this week. Joining Holland on stage was Chris Potter (Saxophone), Kevin Eubanks (Guitar), and Eric Harland (Drums) – a stellar line-up acting as the fuel for a high-powered show.
The quartet floated seamlessly between musical styles, time signatures, and rhythms. A fast-paced samba blended into a tight syncopated funk, before the group broke-down a theme into a solo from Eubanks reminiscent of prog rock. You had to pause and appreciate that you were still listening to Dave Holland on the upright.
This blend of styles and loose structure, though, is to be expected from Holland, considering that he performed on experimental albums, like Bitches Brew. This is complemented by Eubanks’ unique style on guitar, moving from subtle arpeggiated chords to smoothly-rhythmic riffs. Harland’s explosive drumming holds the group together – even at the most disparate moments. Potter’s creative melodies provide a perfect counter-point to the world-class rhythmic foundations on which Holland had built this group.
Potter’s compositions that bookended the performance were highlights. Good Hope, in particular, has a light and upbeat feel that is broken down through traded solos, before being built back up again. Aziza certainly did play it all.