There are jazz groups whose greatness lies in a rapport established after playing together for many decades. But sometimes the magic can come from the opposite formula: musicians drawn in from different corners, bringing their differences to the table. Bassist Dave Holland, saxophonist Chris Potter, guitarist Lionel Loueke, and drummer Eric Harland are all established stars in the jazz world. They recently formed a group and recorded a superb and eclectic self-titled album, “Aziza.”
The disc, as diverse as the musicians who made it, features two tunes by each of them. Loueke’s wonderfully stuttering West African guitar style provides an excellent counterpoint to Potter’s soulful sax playing. If you think of Potter as a traditional player, you will find him occasionally breaking away with electronic enhancements. Holland also seems inspired by his bandmates to expand his bass vocabulary into the realm of funk. And Harland maintains a fresh rhythmic feel no matter what his collaborators toss his way. “Aziza” is a world of discovery from start to finish.