There are similarities between these two recent releases from TDK. Both DVDs offer three soundtracks: LPCM stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, and DTS 5.1. Both give us concerts from the '80s -- Holland from 1986 and Cobham from 1981. Each also gives us mediocre video and a chance to chuckle at bad fashion choices. Finally, they both give us a good period look at talented musicians, though in very different musical settings.
The Dave Holland Quintet is an acoustic-jazz group, and the DVD gives us a five-track concert, including two compositions from Holland and two from Steve Coleman, who plays saxophone here. I cant get enough of Hollands bass playing. On this disc, he is ever fantastic and his quintet matches his intensity throughout the set. The two closing numbers, "Homecoming" and "Wight Waits for Weights," show off everyones skills. Casual fans may enjoy Hollands recent big-band releases more, but this disc offers a good concert of a highly talented quintet.
The Billy Cobham disc offers a funkier concert than the Holland and relies on electric instruments like Michael Urbaniaks lyricon (an instrument like a saxophone that has been connected to a synthesizer), Mike Sterns guitar and Tim Landers bass. Some of the tracks venture close to smooth jazz, but with a slightly edgier sound. Cobhams playing steals the show anytime he solos, like the beginning of "A.L.D.L." and "Mendocino." I dont know what it sounded like in 1981, but in 2005 the lyricon sounds like a musical misstep. If Urbaniak had played a regular saxophone, I cant help but think the music would have been improved, but those who like their jazz electric and funky may enjoy this DVD.
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