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As noted by the All Music Guide, Dave Holland may be the most accomplished pure jazz composer among bassists, after Charles Mingus. His quintet is among the finest jazz ensembles touring today, and by adding eight of New York’s strongest session players to the mix, he’s leading a big band without equal.

“Astonishing!” writes the Village Voice of the big band’s debut What Goes Around recording. “One of the year’s triumphs, led by Holland’s gorgeous sound and sturdily inventive and melodic accompaniment.”

The Dave Holland Big Band will perform 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, at Lafayette’s Williams Center for the Arts. Tickets for the public cost $22 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 610-330-5009. They are free with Lafayette student IDand $4 for faculty and staff.

The Los Angeles Times, while noting that Holland’s quintet is acknowledged as “one of the most polished and creative in acoustic jazz,” states that What Goes Around “proves even more stunning than the quintet’s debut, if only because Holland’s ideas on texture, rhythm and color now are expressed on an immense canvas.”

Jazziz says that the bassist has “one of the most distinguished careers in late-20th-century jazz – one marked by inspired musicianship across a 360-degree range of styles.”

“One of the things that’s happening to me as I get older,” says Holland, “is that I’m thinking more and more about using the totality of my experience as a player. Something Sam Rivers said a long time ago has stayed with me: ‘Don’t leave anything out, use it all.’ That’s become almost a mantra for me over the years as I’ve tried to find a way to build a vehicle which lets me utilize the full spectrum which includes the tradition, which includes playing the blues, which includes improvising freely. I love all that music, and there’s been a desire to reconcile all those areas, to make them relevant, hopefully, in a contemporary context, as one music.”

Holland’s quintet has received Grammy nominations for its albums Points of View and Prime Directive and was voted #1 Acoustic Jazz Group of the Year in the Down Beat Critics’ Poll and Best Combo of the Year in the Bell Atlantic Jazz Awards. The Jazz Journalists Association has given its Live Performance of the Year Award and Best Small Ensemble Award to the Dave Holland Quintet, as well as Album of the Year honors and recognition for Holland as Bass Player of the Year (twice) and Musician of the Year. Holland has also been #1 Bass Player in the Down Beat Critics Poll for three consecutive years and in 2000 received an honorary doctorate from Berklee School of Music. Quintet saxophonist Chris Potter became, at 29, the youngest musician ever to win the Danish Jazzpar prize, Europe’s highest honor for a jazz player.

One of Holland’s early career highlights was performing with Miles Davis’ band, touring for two years and appearing on a number of recordings, including In A Silent Way and the groundbreaking Bitches Brew. In late 1970, he left the band and together with Chick Corea, Anthony Braxton, and Barry Altschul founded the group Circle.

After working together for a year Circle disbanded, and early in 1972 Holland joined Stan Getz’s group. He also worked briefly with Thelonious Monk and began what was to be a long musical relationship with Rivers. Later that year he recorded his first album as a leader, the widely acclaimed Conference of the Birds.

In 1975 Holland took part in the formation of Gateway, a trio with John Abercrombie and Jack DeJohnette, a fellow alumnus of the Miles Davis band. Gateway continues to tour and record today. After working with Betty Carter for a few months in 1976, Holland spent the remainder of the decade working and recording with Rivers. He also recorded an album of solo bass music in 1977 entitled Emerald Tears and began performing solo concerts.

Holland put together his own quintet in the 1980s, recording the groundbreaking albums Jumpin’ In, Seeds of Time, and The Razor’s Edge and touring extensively. In 1988 he recorded the poll-winning album Triplicate with DeJohnette and Steve Coleman. In 1989, his quartet recorded Extensions, which was voted Album of the Year in Downbeat magazine and received worldwide acclaim.

His work in the 1990s included a collaboration with DeJohnette, Herbie Hancock, and Pat Metheny; appearing as a regular member of Herbie Hancock’s trio, going on a world tour with Hancock’s quartet, and performing with Hancock’s New Standard group; American and European tours; and performing on Joe Henderson’s Grammy Award-winning recording So Near, So Far and on several Grammy-nominated recordings.

The nationally recognized Performance Series at Lafayette attracts more than 10,000 people each season. It has been cited for performing excellence by the National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, Chamber Music America, Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Fund, Pennsylvania Arts and Humanities Councils, and Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

The 2004-05 Performance Series at Lafayette is supported in part by gifts from Friends of the Williams Center for the Arts; by the F.M. Kirby Foundation; by provisions of the Alan and Wendy Pesky Artist-in-Residence Program, J. Mahlon and Grace Buck Foundation, and Croasdale Fund; and by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

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