|© Mark Higashino|
by Piotr Michalowski
Bassist Dave Holland began his musical life in his native England, but when he was just in his early twenties, Miles Davis asked him to join his quintet. He played with Davis on some of the pioneering recordings of the movement that attempted to fuse modern jazz with the electronic sound textures and hard rhythms of rock, something Holland would revisit when he worked briefly with Jimi Hendrix.
After leaving Davis he collaborated with another Davis alumnus, pianist Chick Corea, in a cooperative group named Circle, which also included multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton. To this day Braxton continues his experimental musical quests, always looking for new modes of expression. As a member of Braxton's quartet, Holland has toured all over the globe.
Braxton played on Holland's first recording under his own name, The Conference of the Birds, in the early 1970s. One of the best swinging documents of the new jazz music, it is one of my favorite recordings of the period and one that I go back to again and again. Eventually, Holland became a freelancer, working and recording with a wide range of musicians from all styles of music.
Holland formed his first quintet in 1983, and since then he has been busy leading his own groups as well as collaborating with others, constantly searching for new vistas, including most recently a recording of flamenco music. His current quintet has stayed together, with only one personnel change, since the 1990s. At times Holland would expand it to an octet, and twelve years ago he further magnified it to create his thirteen-piece big band. In view of his musical trajectory, this was a perfectly logical move, but it was somewhat unusual because few bass players have ever led jazz big bands. Charles Mingus brought together large groups for concerts and recordings, but the only bass-playing leaders that come to mind are Chubby Jackson and Oscar Pettiford, and their bands lasted no more than two years. Holland's thirteen-piece group has
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