Blues, gospel, funk, reggae, calypso, sambas, ethereal ballads and high-decibel, neo-psychedelic fusion -- drummer Jack DeJohnette, guitarist Pat Metheny, keyboardist Herbie Hancock and bassist Dave Holland played it all and then some at Wolf Trap on Monday night.
Like the best all-star efforts, the whole was greater than the sum of the parts, but the parts alone were worth the price of admission. On acoustic, hollow-body electric and synthesizer guitars, Metheny created kaleidoscopic colors, from rock-inspired blues to electric neons. Hancock was no slouch either, fashioning thick, hugely percussive gospel chords and adding splashes of synth-generated horns to the festive "Nine Over Reggae" and the infectious beat of his own "Cantalope Island."
Holland, the one musician on this tour who doesn't appear on DeJohnette's new album, "Parallel Realities," proved every bit as indispensable as his bandmates. Although he added some appealingly slippery lines to the funk tunes on electric bass, it was his big, unerring tone and virtuosic solos on acoustic bass that really stood out. Besides contributing several pieces to the show, along with Metheny, Hancock and Ornette Coleman, DeJohnette acted as both leader and linchpin -- a master of roiling, thunderous rhythms (especially on "Parallel Realities") and feather-light stick, brush and cymbal work.