Dave Holland is a bassist, composer, bandleader whose passion for musical expression of all styles, and dedication to creating consistently innovative musical ensembles has propelled a professional career of over 50 years, and earned him the highest honors in his field including several Grammy awards and NEA Jazz Master in 2017.
He was born in Wolverhampton, England on October 1, 1946 (and is 76 years old at the time of this writing).
Holland became the guiding light of acoustic and electric bass, growing up in an age when genres of music—jazz, rock, funk, avant-garde, folk, electronic music, and others—were freely blended to create new musical lines.
He was a leading member of a generation that helped usher in jazz bass playing from its swing and post-bop heritage to the multidisciplinary vibrancy and excitement of the modern era, expanding the instrument’s melodic and expressive abilities.
To date, his playing can be heard on hundreds of recordings, with more than thirty at the helm under his own name.
As a leader and collaborator, Holland continues to travel the world and it is not surprising that he has been and still serves music in an educational role, having worked during the 1980s as artistic director of the Banff Center (Canada) jazz summer program, and as a faculty member for two years. at the New England Conservatory of Music in the ’90s, where he still serves as an artist residency (as he did at the Royal Academy of Music.)
He has also been elected a Fellow of the School’s Guildhall—his alma mater—and has received honorary doctorates from the Birmingham Conservatoire (UK), Berklee College of Music, and the New England Conservatory.
Recently, Holland was made an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music (UK)—a rare honor as membership is limited to 300 living musicians—and he was named Master of Jazz 2017 by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Over the years and through countless musical experiences, Holland has defined his goals as a musician—and he articulates them well.
I try to make music that is on many levels, like simpler elements along with more complex elements. To me, many great works of art, whether visual, musical or written, have the ability to do those things—to offer some fundamental truths that resonate with people, but at the same time, introduce them to new perspectives. the basics which gives them a slightly different perspective.