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Quick Hits

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

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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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