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Performance opens the 2007-08 Jazz Masters series

Bassist Dave Holland and vibraphonist Steve Nelson will open this season’s Jazz Masters series with the “Ed Brunswick Concert” 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, in the Williams Center for the Arts.

Tickets are free for students, $4 for faculty and staff, and $18 for the public. They can be obtained by calling the Williams Center box office at (610) 330-5009.

The theme for this season’s Jazz Masters series is “Intimate Dialogues.” This special concert format will consist of pairs of renowned performers. Future performers in this year’s series are Roy Hargrove and Mulgrew Miller, Nov. 9, $20; Lewis Nash and Steve Wilson, Feb. 1, $18; and Gary Burton and Chick Corea, March 11, $25. A subscription to the Jazz Masters series costs $69, a savings of 15 percent off the single ticket price.

Prior to the Ed Brunswick Concert, Mulgrew Miller will give a lecture 7 p.m. in room 123 of the Williams Center. It is free and open to the public. Miller has performed with Holland on numerous occasions and Nelson is a long-time member of Miller’s band Wingspan.

With more than 30 years of musical history, including tours across Europe and the United States, and a plethora of associations with noteworthy performers like Miles Davis, Sam Rivers, Jack DeJohnette and Anthony Braxton, Dave Holland has generated a remarkable hybrid of jazz.

Born in Wolverhampton, England, Holland taught himself the ukulele, guitar, and bass guitar in the first 13 years of his life.

He was introduced to jazz at age 15, quickly learned the double bass, and worked jobs playing with several bands in an array of clubs and restaurants. He eventually took a job in London where he studied music with James E. Merritt, the principal bassist of the London Philharmonic Orchestra who also taught at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Holland was accepted into a three year program at the school on a full scholarship. He became the principle bassist in the school orchestra, worked with a wide variety of people in the jazz community, and experimented with styles from jazz to swing. He also performed freelance work with chamber orchestras, and a variety of studio work, recording music for television, film, radio, and records.

Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Holland continued traveling with various bands and began formulating his own, including Circle, Gateway, and other quintets and trios. He also began teaching creative workshops and private lessons, performing on both the cello and bass, performing solo concerts, and recording widely acclaimed, ground-breaking albums. These include solo albums Emerald Tears and Life Cycle, and quintet albums Jumpin’ In, Seeds of Time and The Razor’s Edge.

During the 90’s, Holland’s bands extensively toured Europe and the United States and recorded multiple albums. He also participated in Herbie Hancock’s New Standard group, Michael Brecker’s Tales from the Hudson band, Joe Henderson’s Porgy and Bess project, and was featured in a plethora of other artists’ albums.

Holland’s current quintet, the Holland Quintet, has reached a new level of popular and critical acclaim.Grammy nominations followed both of the quintet’s previous albums, Points of View and Prime Directive. They were voted number one 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 Holland Quintet received the Live Performance of the Year Award and Best Small Ensemble Award from the Jazz Journalists Association, who also awarded Holland Bass Player of the Year (twice) and Musician of the Year.

Holland has also been number one Bass Player in the Down Beat Critics Poll for three back-to-back years and in 2000 he received an Honorary Doctorate from the Berklee School of Music. With all of that, at age 29, quintet saxophonist Chris Potter became the youngest musician ever to win the Danish Jazzpar prize, Europe’s highest honor for a jazz player. The group has toured extensively throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia and embarked upon a special tour of China.

Vibraphonist and composer Steve Nelson, was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., and graduated from Rutgers University with both a masters and bachelors in Music. He lives in the New York area where he has performed and recorded with a multitude of great musicians, including Kenny Barron, Bobby Watson, Mulgrew Miller, David Fathead Newman, Johnny Griffin, and Jackie McLean and his teaching activities include a position at Princeton.

As the leader of his own group, Nelson has recorded three albums, Live at Acireale, Full Nelson, and Communications, as well as recorded with other artists. He has appeared at concerts and festivals worldwide.

The 2007-2008 Performance Series at Lafayette College is supported in part by gifts from Friends of the Williams Center for the Arts; by provisions of the Josephine Chidsey Williams Endowment, J. Mahlon and Grace Buck Fund, the Croasdale Fund, the Class of ’73 Fund, the Alan and Wendy Pesky Artist-in-Residence Program, the James Bradley Fund, and the Ed Brunswick Jazz Fund; and by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour; the F.M. Kirby Foundation, the Dexter and Dorothy Baker Foundation, and the New England Foundation for the Arts.

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