Composer gets constant praise and a Grammy nomination
It's not enough to call Dave Holland by name. Fans, writers and collaborators tack on phrases that praise him.
A Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader writer labeled him "the most celebrated jazz composer-bandleader since Charles Mingus." In the same article, trumpeter Terence Blanchard called him "one of the truly unsung heroes of our time."
Down Beat magazine's critics chose him as Jazz Artist of the Year for 2002.
Ten days from now, Holland may be known for something else -- winning a Grammy.
"What Goes Around" by Dave Holland Big Band is a nominee in the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album category. Winners will be named Feb. 23.
It's the fourth consecutive year that Holland has received a Grammy nomination as a band leader. He hasn't won yet. Has his time arrived?
"I don't think in those terms," Holland says.
"We're in a category with great musicians. It's a pity in a way that someone has to be selected as a winner. It's about individual creativity ... You can't choose between apples and oranges in the end. It's just a subjective call."
Lots of praise
The other nominees are Slide Hampton and SWR Big Band; Sammy Nestico; Vanguard Jazz Orchestra; and Mingus Big Band.
"I'm happy that [the nomination] brings more attention to the music," Holland added.
Holland has played on many other recordings that received notice. The 1990 recording "Question and Answer" with Pat Metheny and Roy Haynes was Grammy nominated; Joe Henderson's "So Near, So Far" won a Grammy in 1992; and in 1996 he appeared on three Grammy-nominated CDs by Michael Brecker, Herbie Hancock and Billy Childs.
Holland's current quintet -- Robin Eubanks on trombone, Steve Nelson on vibes, Chris Potter on saxophone and drummer Billy Kilson -- has netted plenty of critical raves in its six years of existence from Down Beat, Bell Atlantic Jazz Awards and Jazz Journalists Association.