CANYON (Mike Holober)

Mike Holober Quintet

Imaginative, unique, acoustic jazz from one of New York City’s most respected pianists and composers.

For his debut as a leader, Mike Holober fronts an all-star quintet that features some of the finest players in contemporary jazz.

Merging influences such as Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock, and Bill Evans, Holober adds his fresh sensibility to a recording inspired by the strength and open space of the outdoors.
Read more… close

Released September 2, 2003 
Sons of Sound

All compositions by Mike Holober except You and the Night and the Music (Arthur Schwartz) and Stardust (Hoagy Carmichael) 

Mike Holober, piano 
Wolfgang Muthspiel, guitar 
Brian Blade, drums 
Scott Colley, bass 
Tim Ries, saxophones 
Fred Hersch, producer


"Pianist/composer Mike Holober's songs brim with shifting textures and moods . . . . The band's sound is sharp and clean, intricately arranged, mostly bright and optimistic . . . . Holober's piano style can be compared to a handful of Miles Davis alumni, perhaps: Bill Evans or Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock; but it's his tunes and the ensemble interplay rather than his instrumental prowess that hold sway on Canyon  . . . . The arrangements here don't call attention to themselves but are absolutely first-rate, begging for repeated listens . . . . Marvelous!” 
Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz, October 2003 

“What strikes one most immediately about Canyon is Holober's writing and arranging, which, together with a superb band, make this a notable debut . . . . Highly melodic, Holober's tunes fall easily on the ears, but the collective execution is full of substance . . . . Holober, as both pianist and arranger, seems to draw on the mid-1960's Herbie Hancock for inspiration, and his playing extends the influence with a fresh approach to dynamics, articulation, and rhythm . . . . both  relaxing and simulating, and grows in detail with  each hearing." 
Larry Nal, Cadence, February 2004 

"Holober's  seven originals all have strong melodic qualities and are well handled by his quintet . . . . Their  playing evokes images of majestic precipices and  wide open spaces." 
Ed Enright, DownBeat, January 2004 

“[An] all-star ensemble ready for any kind of musical  adventure. Fittingly, Holober's seven original compositions and sparkling arrangements . . . . provide a landscape worthy enough for this cast of musicians, and the album stands as a perfect example of what cohesive jazz artistry should be:  a set of performances that continue to intrigue and reward listeners  over the course of time, where different facets  of musicianship and creativity are discovered with each new visit." 
Thomas Staudter, The Gazette, October 2003 

"Canyon is one of those rare collections of jazz that come along once in a blue moon, and when discovered, sticks around for a very long and enjoyable time! . . . . Canyon is incredibly good in its solo performances, and the sound is exceptional as this group performs together.  A first rate group led by Mike Holober makes Canyon a memorable jazz listening entertainment.  Excellent debut." 
Lee Prosner, Jazz Review,  September 2003 

"This disc is pianist Mike Holober's debut as a leader,  but he is already a well-regarded figure on the New York scene, as the testimonials . . . from Fred Hersch (who produced the sessions), Jim  McNeely and John Patitucci attest. Their confidence in Holober's ability to deliver high quality jazz as both performer and composer is fully justified by the music. The players dig deep into his seven original compositions on the disc,  which . . . have a clean, airy spaciousness even in their busiest sections. His intricate but attractive melody lines unfold over imaginative and carefully textured ensemble voicings and structures." 
Kenny Mathleson, Jazzwise, October  2003 

“With a strong supporting cast, New York pianist Mike Holober's Canyon delivers a fine first effort of modern post-bop material . . . . Holober is a lyrical pianist coming from the Evans/ Jarrett/Jamal tradition, but while his playing on Canyon is strong and confident, his compositions are the real highlight of the release . . . . Holober writes memorably melodies that stay in the mind long after the disk is over. With a program that emphasizes strong compositional ability, tasteful playing and capable leadership skills, Canyon is an auspicious début from a pianist who will, no doubt, be heard from more in the future.” 
John Kelman, Indiejazz