Holland / Rubalcaba / Potter / Harland The Monterey Quartet: Live at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival

Given the personnel, you know this is going to burn. And right out of the gate it burns with a will. Drummer Eric Harland's "Treachery" ignites with incendiary intensity, stoked by pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba's fiery lines and the positively pyromaniacal tenor of Chris Potter. Potter's "Minotaur" continues in a similar vein and, once again, the tenorist goes stratospheric, but in spots he seems to be fighting the gravity of the earthy bass line. Rubalcaba's "Otra Mirada" is a lyrical ballad; it's nice enough but its performance feels a bit perfunctory, without the emotional depth its composer doubtlessly intended. Bassist Dave Holland's "Step To It" is also nice enough but is notable mostly for Potter's solo, which steps to it with a vengeance, although Harland's solo is consummately musical. The pianist's "50" provides a lesson in how to negotiate a rhythmically tricky piece with inventive grace, without a moment of sounding mechanical. Four jazz monsters playing their asses off. (Monterey Jazz Festival)