ARTIST ROSTER TOUR DATES NEWS HOME talks to jazz legend Dave Holland

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Friday October 04, 2013

From talks to jazz legend Dave Holland
By Dave Pehling

SAN FRANCISCO — Arguably the most respected bassist in the world of jazz, timekeeper Dave Holland has been at the cutting edge of some of the great ensembles in the business ever since anchoring the bottom during Miles Davis’ shift to his groundbreaking electric fusion sound in the late ’60s. Though Holland’s first big splash may have come with a plugged-in Fender jazz bass, most of his work has centered around the impeccable swing and melodic artistry he shows off playing acoustic bass.

His resume includes stints with the free jazz supergroup Circle (which he co-founded with pianist Chick Corea, saxophonist Anthony Braxton and drummer Barry Atschul), the Gateway Trio (with fellow Davis alumnus Jack DeJohnette on drums and John Abercrombie on guitar) as well as Stan Getz, Thelonious Monk and Sam Rivers. Still, Holland is best known for the small groups he has led and his creative compositions that have pushed the envelope of acoustic jazz without simply rehashing the post-bop sounds of the past.

For his latest band project Prism, Holland has reunited with late ’80 collaborator and guitarist Kevin Eubanks (perhaps best known for leading the Tonight Show band for a 15-year tenure that ended in 2010) alongside keyboard player Craig Taborn and drummer Eric Harland to return the bassist to a high-energy electric jazz sound for the first time since he played with Miles Davis. The quartet’s eponymous album Prism on Holland’s own Dare2 record label kicks off with the blistering opener “The Watcher” powered by Eubank’s heavily distorted guitar figure and Taborn’s pulsing Fender Rhodes piano before veering into the more subdued but still groove-oriented lope of “The Empty Chair” that hearkens back to the simmering heat heard on “Sivad” from the landmark Davis album Live Evil. The album also shows a softer side on the lilting ballads “The Color of Iris” and the stately album closing Taborn composition “Breathe.” Holland recently spoke with by phone from his home in upstate New York to discuss the new band’s working and recording process before the group plays the SFJAZZ Center’s Miner Auditorium on Sunday, Oct. 6 (show is at 7 p.m. Tickets $25-$65)

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