Newport Jazz 2008: The Monterey Quartet
In a set filled with angular, thoroughly modern originals, the supergroup of bassist Dave Holland, pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, saxophonist Chris Potter and drummer Eric Harland kicked off the Saturday program at the Newport Jazz Festival. In 2007, the four musicians met on the summer festival circuit and hit it off immediately. Though their busy schedules dictated that they were playing only their second gig as a quartet, they played together with the instinct of a long-time working group.
It's no surprise, however, that the four instrumentalists were able to mesh so easily. Dave Holland has performed in every conceivable setting under the jazz umbrella for over 40 years. As a leader, he has led bands large and small in forging a distinctly contemporary sound, merging many aspects of his past experiences. He often calls upon saxophonist Chris Potter in his groups; meanwhile, Potter has grown into a prime mover himself. Not yet 40, Potter is a busy man at this year's Newport Festival: He had another appearance with this supergroup, in addition to sitting in with keyboard/electronics wizard Marco Benevento, holding the saxophone chair in Herbie Hancock's quartet, and leading his own group, Chris Potter Underground.
The U.S. jazz audience discovered virtuosic pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba after bassist Charlie Haden heard him playing in Havana, Cuba. Haden brought him on tour and in contact with Blue Note Records; he has since released many albums as a leader which show off a prodigious jazz technique filtered through traditional Cuban musical ideas. Highly dynamic 28-year-old drummer Eric Harland joins the group as one of the most demanded sidemen today, and frequently gigs with Dave Holland as well.
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