"I can tell whether a person can play just by the way he stands …If they act too hip, you know they can't play shit " Miles Davis

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16 May

Dave Holland

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The sound of a Dave Holland bass line compels attention. A master of tone and rhythm, the bassist, composer, and bandleader is now in his fifth decade as a performer and his music possesses a rich and kaleidoscopic history.  

Over the course of a nearly five-decade career, bassist/composer Dave Holland has exemplified that evolutionary process in musical form, reinventing his concept and approach with each new project while constantly honing his instantly identifiable voice.

Since Holland’s professional debut in the mid-1960s, that voice has been heard in a remarkable number of different contexts. From the electric whirlwind of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew-era band to the elegant flamenco of his collaboration with Spanish guitar legend Pepe Habichuela; accompanying the great vocalist Betty Carter in her last years to forging a new sound with the pioneering avant-garde quartet Circle alongside Chick Corea, Anthony Braxton, and Barry Altschul; standing alongside legends like Stan Getz, Hank Jones, Roy Haynes, and Sam Rivers to providing early opportunities to now-leading players like Chris Potter, Kevin and Robin Eubanks, or Steve Coleman; Dave Holland has been at the forefront of jazz in many of its forms since his earliest days.

In 2013, Holland celebrated 40 years as a leader in trademark fashion, by looking decidedly forward. On the anniversary of his first release, Conference of the Birds, which featured Rivers, Braxton and Altschul, Holland unveiled his latest quartet, Prism, a visceral electric band featuring his longtime collaborator Kevin Eubanks along with keyboardist Craig Taborn and drummer Eric Harland.

In addition to Prism, Holland continues to lead his Grammy-winning big band; his acclaimed quintet with saxophonist Chris Potter, trombonist Robin Eubanks, vibraphonist Steve Nelson, and drummer Nate Smith; and the Overtone quartet, with Potter, Harland, and pianist Jason Moran. In recent years Holland has been performing in a duo context with pianist Kenny Barron and with flamenco legend Pepe Habichuela; a follow-up to Hands, his 2010 recording with Habichuela, is due in the fall of 2013. And he continues to explore his solo voice, as documented on the albums Emerald Tears (1977), Ones All (1993), and Life Cycle (1982), a solo cello recording.

Since 2005, Holland’s output has been released on his own Dare2 Records label, founded so that the bassist could exercise greater control over the recording and release of his music. The move came on the heels of a fruitful relationship with ECM Records that had lasted for more than three decades. Attentive to devising a one-of-the-kind packaging to match the product within, Holland drafted world-famous graphic designer Niklaus Troxler to craft the label’s distinctively bold and colorful look.

Last modified on Monday, 17 October 2016 14:29

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