By JON GARELICK  |  April 16, 2010

In Holland’s groups, you can hear jazz as the constant intra-band conversation that it’s always touted as but doesn’t always live up to. Listen to the way alto-saxophonist Antonio Hart and the rhythm section of Holland, vibist Steve Nelson, and drummer Nate Smith tug at the syncopations on Holland’s “How’s Never?” Or the free-improv counterpoint between Hart and tenor Chris Potter on “Shadow Dance” (one of Holland’s older tunes here). Or what amounts to an eight-way free cadenza on trumpeter Alex Sipiagin’s “Wind Dance.” The octet (which also includes the superb trombonist Robin Eubanks) amounts to a compact version of Holland’s big band, allowing him a broad palette of colors and textures while being more maneuverable and, one assumes, more economical to travel with. At the Regattbar, the band will be smaller still, with Holland, Potter, Eubanks, Nelson, and Smith. Still not a bad way to experience Holland’s particular magic.

DAVE HOLLAND QUINTET | April 16-17 @ 7:30 pm [$28] + 10 pm [$25] | TOMASZ STANKO QUINTET | April 20 @ 7:30 pm [$20] + 10 pm [$18] | Regattabar, Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett St, Cambridge 617.395.7757 or regattabarjazz.com

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