Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Dave Holland at the abbey of Middelburg

Dave Holland op het abdijplein van Middelburg (Nederlands) Dave Holland at the abbey of Middelburg (English)

Third International Jazz Festival - Middelburg
Hans Koert

On Saturday, the 30th of May, 2009 the Dave Holland Quintet visited Middelburg, in the south west part of the Netherlands, as part of the third International Jazz Festival of that city. Dave Holland was the last one to play a concert at this first festival day in the Middelburg abbey. At this historical inner court several concerts were scheduled during this weekend. At the start of his concert, Dave paid the organisation and the audience a compliment on its city and this venue, which is really a unique place for this kind of concerts. Dave Holland started the one-set concert with his opening tune The Balance.

Robin Eubanks ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

His quintet, featured some great names, which made it almost an all-star quintet, like Robin Eubanks on the trombone, Chris Potter on alto saxophone, Steve Nelson on vibraphone and marimba, Nate Smith on drums. Dave Holland, of course, played his double bass. . Dave Holland ( photo: Hans Koert)

Dave Holland, born in October 1946 in Wolverhampton (England) started his career on ………….. the ukulele. It was his first instrument he found in his hand as a kid, so for all those fanatic I met last month in Sint-Niklaas (Belgium) I’d suggest ………. keep practising. He studied the piano and guitar, before he took the bass, which instrument he studied at the Guindhall School of Music late 1960s. He became a bass player in the London jazz scene. Late 1960s he played with musicians like Kenny Wheeler, Evan Parker, Tubby Hayes and he became a sought after bass player and accompanists. One of the musicians who heard him playing at the famous Ronnie Scott jazz club in London was Miles Davis, who asked him to come to the States. He played in Miles Davis band for two years in the period Davis changed from acoustical jazz to his jazz-rock period and is to be heard on those great albums like Filles de Kilimanjaro, In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew.

Steve Nelson ( photo courtesy Hans Koert)

In 1970 he left Davis together with Chick Corea to found the Circle band. Since the 1980s he has his own groups and played and toured in all-star formations like the Miles Davis Tribute Band with Tony Williams, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Wallace Roney. This quintet, which was founded more then ten years ago, is now one of his bands to tour around the world. Both Steve Nelson as trombone player Robin Eubanks play with Holland since he founded this quintet. Steve Nelson, who played the vibraphone and the marimba, started to study the vibes as a teenager and is to be found in live recordings with great names like Jackie McLean up to George Shearing. During the Middelburg concert he impressed with his composition Go Fly a Kite.

Chris Potter ( photo courtesy Hans Koert)

Robin Eubanks, older brother of guitar player Kevin Eubanks, was one of my favourites during this concert. He learned to play the trombone from Slide Hampton, but he was also influenced by pop musicians like Led Zepperlin and Frank Zappa. He played with Slide Hampton, but also with the Sun Ra Arkestra, one of those bands that has always fascinated me, with Stevie Wonder and Art Blakey.

The Dave Holland Quintet ( foto: Hans Koert)

Chris Potter, who played the alto saxophone, is one of the younger ones in the band. He studied at the Manhattan School of Music in New York and played in bands like the Mingus Big Band. He played with Paul Motian, Steve Swallow and Jim Hall, to name some and is a member of this Dave Holland Quintet for years. One of his compositions, Pass It On was played at the inner court of the abbey during this concert. Drummer Nate Smith was unknown to me, but impressed with some solos. Nate Smith ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

This Dave Holland Quintet showed that they are a very stable group that can bring a great music, but, maybe they were tired ( this concert was one of their last in this tour ) I don’t know, I missed the spirit I had hoped to find during this concert. They rattled their concert without inspiration and, although the public that loved to hear this quintet, got what it wanted, I learned that, during one of the final tunes, Easy Did It, at the end of the concert, several people had left; well, they missed the encore, Dream of the Elders, with a great (solo) opener by Dave Holland on bass.
You can find photos and reviews of the concerts at the festival site or in this blog: Except Dave Holland the festival sceduled great names like Courtney Pine, The New Orpheans with the Dutch master on the trumpet Eric Vloeimans

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