A free concert at University of Miami‘s Gusman Hall with bassist Dave Holland! Holland, English jazz double bassist, was born in Staffordshire, England, yet has lived the in the United States the last 40 years. He plays avant-garde jazz, but he is not just a musician, he is a world-class composer, and bandleader. He also has his own independent record label. Holland was invited to the University of Miami to prepare a class of student musicians for their September 29 concert. Miami’s own Chuck Bergeron, who teaches jazz bass at the U of M’s Frost School of Music, was instrumental in luring the maestro here. Holland teaches at workshops and master classes at universities around the world. University of Miami School of Music was very fortunate to have had this visit.
Holland’s career began at fifteen when he quit school to play in a top-forty band. He was inspired to switch to jazz after he came across a couple of LPs by pianist Oscar Peterson and sideman Ray Brown. Brown, at that time, was a Downbeat Critics Choice. Dave was also drawn to other bassists like Leroy Vinneger, Charlie Mingus, and Jimmy Garrison. He practiced his bass playing these records.
When he moved back to London, England in 1964, he became house bassist at this city’s premium ‘Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.’ Here he was able to play with top touring musicians. These included guitarist John McLaughlin, Saxophonist Evan Parker, reedsman John Surman, South African born Chris McGregor and drummer John Stevens. In 1968, Miles Davis came by the club and heard Holland play, then recruited him to go to New York to play in his band.
After leaving Davis in the 70s, he played sideman with Chick Corea, Stan Getz, John Abercrombie, Jack DeJohnette and many other jazz artists. With his first working quintet in 1980, he released four albums. Then he formed his first big band in 2002. They recorded ‘What Goes Around,” which won him his first Grammy. The second big band recording, “Overtime” in 2005, won him his second Grammy. From then on, he continued to pile up awards and worldwide recognition.
I saw him at the 2006 Montreal Jazz Festival where he was the recipient of the prestigious Miles Davis Award and again at the 2011 Montreal Jazz Festival. Tickets to see his quintet at the Place des Arts concert hall quickly sold out. No wonder. If you see him, notice how he incorporates elements of free jazz and world music while maintaining the deep grooves of jazz. “Don’t leave anything out. Play it all,” is his mantra.
At the Gusman, the students were technically perfect. But let’s face it; I came to see Dave Holland.
Click link below for Dave Holland video: