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Dave Holland

Always a versatile and brilliant bassist, Dave Holland has, during the past 20 years, also been a significant bandleader. Born in England in 1946, he began playing bass when he was 10, switching to the electric bass at 13 and the acoustic bass soon afterwards. Holland studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama for three years. He was noticed in 1967 when he worked regularly in the house band at Ronnie Scott’s. Although Holland mostly played straightahead jazz at that club, he was also part of the London avant-garde jazz scene, working with John Stevens and the Spontaneous Music Ensemble. In 1968 he succeeded Ron Carter in the Miles Davis Quintet, playing opposite Herbie Hancock (and then Chick Corea) and Tony Williams (who was replaced by Jack DeJohnette). Holland stayed with Davis for two years, appearing on half of Filles de Kilimanjaro, switching to electric bass and playing on In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew. Holland next joined the avant-garde quartet Circle with Corea, Anthony Braxton and Barry Altschul. Holland then began a longtime association with the ECM label, for which he recorded Conference of the Birds, his first album as a leader, in 1972. Holland continued working as a sideman in a variety of settings, including projects with Sam Rivers, Braxton, Stan Getz, the Gateway Trio (which included John Abercrombie and DeJohnette), Joe Lovano, Gary Burton, Jim Hall and many other all-stars. Since the 1980s, Holland has led a series of quintets that, along the way, have included such players as Kenny Wheeler, Julian Priester, Steve Coleman, Robin Eubanks, Steve Nelson, Chris Potter and others. In addition, during the past decade he has occasionally led the Dave Holland Big Band, essentially his quintet plus eight additional horn players, recording for his own Dare2 label and interpreting his original compositions.