Dave Holland

Dave Holland is a bassist, composer, bandleader whose passion for musical expression of all styles, and dedication to creating consistently innovative music ensembles have propelled a professional career of more than 50 years, and earned him top honors in his field including multiple Grammy awards and the title of NEA Jazz Master in 2017.

Holland stands as a guiding light on acoustic and electric bass, having grown up in an age when musical genres—jazz, rock, funk, avant-garde, folk, electronic music, and others—blended freely together to create new musical pathways. He was a leading member of a generation that helped usher jazz bass playing from its swing and post-bop legacy to the vibrancy and multidiscipline excitement of the modern era, extending the instrument’s melodic, expressive capabilities. Holland’s virtuosic technique and rhythmic feel, informed by an open-eared respect of a formidable spread of styles and sounds, is widely revered and remains much in demand. To date, His playing can be heard on hundreds of recordings, with more than thirty as a leader under his own name.

Holland first rose to prominence in groundbreaking groups led by such legends as Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Sam Rivers, Betty Carter, and Anthony Braxton—as well as collaborations with the likes of Chick Corea, Gary Burton, Jack DeJohnette, and John McLaughlin. Carrying such an enviable history Holland does with little fanfare and extreme humility; to him what matters most is the immediate musical project at hand. Fittingly, he is today more celebrated for the bands that he continues to assemble, record and perform with—ensembles which range from duos and trios to big bands, and often feature musicians like Steve Coleman, Robin and Kevin Eubanks, Jason Moran, Chris Potter, Eric Harland, among many others who were bound for their own headline-status. The consistent priority connecting all of Holland’s projects is an abiding sense of challenge—to himself, his fellow musicians, and his listeners. His comments on this driving force in his career serve as a personal credo:

“My take on the relationship with the audience is that you don’t want to underestimate their ability to hear the music. You want to be as clear as possible in your musical statement and not be obscure in terms of what it is you’re doing. At the same time, you don’t want to compromise on your creative ambitions because that’s the driving force that’s going to develop the music and keep it relevant for me. Outside of the audience, there’s the aspect of me needing to be interested in what I’m doing and be stimulated by it in a challenging situation which is going to continue to allow me to grow as a player and composer.”

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