Ann Arbor Weather:
Saturday October 23, 2021
Follow us: facebook twitter RSS feed
Dave Holland

Dave Holland 2003

Big band

by Piotr Michalowski

From the February, 2003 issue

Bassist Dave Holland is a musician who transcends all categories. Well trained in his native Britain, he came to this country in 1968 when he was hired by Miles Davis, with whom he recorded several classic fusion albums. In the years after leaving Davis he worked with some of the most adventuresome spirits of the times, such as Anthony Braxton and Sam Rivers, as well as with such older musicians as Stan Getz, Thelonious Monk, and singer Betty Carter. In 1972 he recorded his first album as a leader, the magnificent Conference of the Birds, which featured the multiple reed instruments of both Braxton and Rivers. To this day it remains one of my favorite records of the period.

Throughout these years he continued to develop his ringing sound and prodigious finger technique, but although Holland took part in various cooperative groups, it was only in the 1980s that he began to concentrate on leading his own bands. Since then he has led a number of small units, of which his latest quintet is surely the finest. The group currently includes saxophonist Chris Potter, trombonist Robin Eubanks, vibraphone player Steve Nelson, and drummer Billy Kilson. The unique blend of instruments, the original compositions, and the imaginative arrangements designed to exploit the specific sounds of each participant, as well as the intricate and varied rhythmic aspects of the music, have all contributed to the success of this quintet. As good as the four other members of the band are, the leader's powerful bass playing provides the special flavoring. Holland is a swift and precise player with a very personal tone, strong and clear, and an uncluttered sense of melody in his soloing.

Not content with leading a quintet, Holland added eight more top New York players a few years ago to create a big band. In many ways it is an extension of the smaller group, which remains at the core. The distinct utilization of Nelson's vibraphone

...continued below...

in both contexts provides a strong aural connection, as does the reliance on the saxophone-trombone blend, but the larger organization obviously provides the leader with a broader sound palette and new areas to explore.

In addition to his regulars, Holland can now feature additional soloists, such as baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan or trumpeters Earl Gardner and Duane Eubanks. The band has just released its first CD, What Goes Around, and apparently will be playing many of the pieces from this disc on its tour. The quintet has been here before, but not the big band. Holland's Michigan Theater show on Saturday, February 15, provides an opportunity to hear them both side by side.     (end of article)

[Originally published in February, 2003.]


Bookmark and Share
Print Comment E-mail

You might also like:

Today's Events
Argus Takes Arbor Vacuum's Spot
In the Works, September 2021
Micheline Maynard
Groups and Clubs
Restaurants that are Disability Friendly
A clickable zoomable map
David Malcolm
A stranger in his own neighborhood
Tai Tworek
Back to School 2021
The public schools and the U-M are fully reopening. What will that look like-and will it be safe?
James Leonard and Jan Schlain
Remembering Professor Don Cameron, by Jeffrey A. Stacey
Limited Access
A near-collision with a motorist in September was the final straw for Regina Hunter.
Cynthia Furlong Reynolds
Parks And Recreation Areas in Dexter
Bookbound Is Now Booksweet
Shaun Manning and Truly Render fulfill a fifteen-year dream.
Micheline Maynard
a2view the Ann Arbor Observer's weekly email newsletter