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Dave Holland: Business Is Good

With complete control of his record label, an innovative new Web site, and a dynamic octet capable of combo intimacy and big-band grandeur, veteran bassist Dave Holland owns his career

Dave Holland Octet
Dave Holland Octet (photo: Richard Conde)

Somewhere in New York State’s Hudson Valley, about 3,300 miles away from his birthplace in the English industrial city of Wolverhampton, wondrous sounds are issuing forth from the home of bassist, composer and bandleader Dave Holland. The most prominent Wulfrunian on the planet as well as England’s most famous jazz export, Holland takes a break from composing and arranging new material to chat with JazzTimes via phone. His workroom, which overlooks his wife Clare’s backyard garden, has been Holland’s fortress of solitude since the mid-’80s.

It’s where he meticulously inputs data into a Mac computer, playing trial-and-error with different horn voicings while shifting around intricate counterpoint lines with the click of a mouse. Eventually these experiments will emerge into fully realized compositions for one of his many ongoing projects. The seeds of his Grammy-winning big-band recordings, 2002’s What Goes Around and 2005’s Overtime, took root here. It’s also where his new octet project, Pathways (Dare2), had its beginnings.

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