Music Review Overtone Quartet
By NATE CHINEN
Photo by Hiroyuki Ito, NY Times
The change registers at almost every level. Throughout the first set on Tuesday, Mr. Moran was far more than a different piece of the puzzle: his rumbling cadences and insinuating voicings took their place at the core of the band, inspiring a more elastic interaction from the others, particularly Mr. Harland. The only person who seemed not to yield to any shift was Mr. Holland, holding down a series of syncopated vamps with his usual definitive aplomb.
Every member of the group had at least one composition in play, and their selections were characteristic. Mr. Moran’s was “Blue Blocks,” a tune with a cascading line and flickers of gospel consonance; it brought out Mr. Potter’s soulful, pithy side. “Treachery,” by Mr. Harland, opened the set on a radiant note, with rhythmic jolts and a fanfare-like melody. “The Outsiders,” by Mr. Potter, was a heady contraption, home to enough moving parts and somber harmony to suggest the influence of chamber music.
Because this is the sort of group that can feel overstocked with poise, there was an important place for ballads in the set. “Maiden,” by Mr. Harland, readily fit the bill, sounding at times like a lullaby. “Walking the Walk,” by Mr. Holland, was more of a border case, with a serpentine bass line in 10/8 meter. What brought it into ballad territory was the tone struck by Mr. Moran, on Fender Rhodes electric piano. Apart from some small discursive tangents, his solo revolved around two notes, and he made this feel like a product of deep focus.
After so much new music Mr. Holland placed a chestnut at set’s end: “Interception,” from his landmark 1973 album, “Conference of the Birds.” With its asymmetrical rhythmic pulse it sounded strikingly contemporary — and the musicians, straining brightly against tempo and tonality, managed to strengthen that impression, all together.
The Overtone Quartet performs through Sunday at the Blue Note, 131 West Third Street, West Village; (212) 475-8592, bluenote.net. For more tour dates, daveholland.com.