Not content with leading a quintet, Holland added eight more top New York players a few years ago to create a big band. In many ways it is an extension of the smaller group, which remains at the core. The distinct utilization of Nelson's vibraphone in both contexts provides a strong aural connection, as does the reliance on the saxophone-trombone blend, but the larger organization obviously provides the leader with a broader sound palette and new areas to explore.
In addition to his regulars, Holland can now feature additional soloists, such as baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan or trumpeters Earl Gardner and Duane Eubanks. The band has just released its first CD, What Goes Around, and apparently will be playing many of the pieces from this disc on its tour. The quintet has been here before, but not the big band. Holland's Michigan Theater show on Saturday, February 15, provides an opportunity to hear them both side by side.
[Originally published in February, 2003.]