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Quick Hits

Reviews of recent CDs from Dave Holland, Stanton Moore, Paul Motian, Mark O'Connor and Jeff Healey

Mark O'Connor

Dave Holland Octet, Pathways (Dare2)

The bassist’s reliable quintet is augmented with Gary Smulyan’s bari, Antonio Hart’s alto and flute, and Alex Sipiagin’s trumpet and flugelhorn for Holland-style compositions – airy but always driving and urgent rhythm-section work, cross-cutting thematic lines, bravado solos – made even chewier by the extra horns. Holland shines on a conversant extended prelude to his 13-minute “How’s Never?” The group successfully bridges the gap between small group and big band, and makes another potent vehicle for its leaders thoughtful, challenging compositions.

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