Saturday, January 19, 2013
This week, let's look at some videos featuring bassist Dave Holland, who will be back in St. Louis with his long-running quintet to perform Wednesday, January 30 through Saturday, February 2 at Jazz at the Bistro.
Generally acknowledged as one of the top jazz bassists of the past 50 years, Holland came to the USA from his native England to join Miles Davis' band in the late 1960s. Detailing his busy career since then is beyond the scope of this post, but suffice it to say that in addition to playing collaboratively and as a sideman with many of the greatest musicians of his time, Holland also has earned a place as one of the top bandleaders in jazz.
He's performed in St. Louis several times in recent years, including in 2009 with his quintet at the Sheldon Concert Hall; in 2007 with the quintet at the Bistro; and in 2003 with his big band at the now-defunct St. Louis Jazz Festival. (You can read StLJN's review of the 2007 show here, and the 2009 performance here.)
Although the quintet has been Holland's primary working unit for much the past 20 years, in 2012 he spent much of the year making music with other groups, including the newly formed quartet Prism (with drummer Eric Harland, guitarist Kevin Eubanks, and pianist Craig Taborn) and the Overtone Quartet (with Harland, saxophonist Chris Potter and pianist Jason Moran); doing some one-of collaborations; and teaching at the New England Conservatory of Music.
Holland's gig at the Bistro will include three of the quintet's regular members - trombonist Robin Eubanks, vibraphonist Steve Nelson and drummer Nate Smith - plus saxophonist Mark Turner, who will be filling in for Chris Potter. Potter, who led a trio for a week in December at the Bistro, has been a mainstay of Holland's group for more than a decade, but currently is involved the Monterey Jazz Festival All-Stars tour. That tour began last week and will continue into the spring, eventually stopping in St. Louis on Friday, April 18 as part of the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.
So, given that there's no really no video documentation online of the quintet lineup that St. Louis fans will see, instead today we've got sort of a sampler or "tasting menu" of some of the things Holland's been doing since he last visited St. Louis.
Up top, you can see the regular quintet performing one of their staples, "Lucky Seven," from a gig in 2010. Down below, they're playing "Veil of Tears" at the 2009 Liege Jazz Festival in Belgium.
Below that, there's an excerpt from Prism's performance at the 2012 Gărîna Jazz Festival. The next clip features Holland's Overtone Quartet, playing "Walking the Walk" at the 2010 Bridgestone Music Festival in São Paulo, Brazil.
The fifth video features an example of one of Holland's frequent collaborations with other high-profile jazzmen - specifically, a duo set with piano legend McCoy Tyner recorded in 2010 at the Jazz Baltica festival.
Finally, there's a rather unusual clip of the quintet minus drummer Nate Smith, performing "Conference of the Birds," which was the title song of Holland's first album as a leader. While the album and the song have come to be thought of as moderns classics by many jazz fans and critics, "Conference of the Birds" isn't relayy part of the quintet's regular songbook, which make this performance particularly interesting.
For more about what Holland's been up to recently, check out this interview from AnnArbor.com, which touches on several Holland ensembles; this one from the Ottawa Citizen, in which he talks about the debut Canadian performance of Prism last summer; and this article from AllAboutJazz.com, which covers several aspects of the bassist's recent history.
(Edited after posting to add a link for Mark Turner.)