I Was Born In Holland You Know…

Never did I think that I would be seeing Dave Holland in a club setting twice in my life, never mind in three months.  I was lucky enough to have the privilege again to see him in a small environment, with none other than the legendary Kenny Wheeler.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the schedule, a one off with Kenny Wheeler and Dave Holland, with the seemingly random backup band of Craig Taborn on piano(the first time I’ve ever seen him live acoustically) swinging drummer and Bill Frisell sideman Rudy Royston, and up and coming altoist Jon Irabagon.  I went to this for a multitude of reasons.  Kenny never plays NYC.  Kenny never plays with super swinging drummers(in the sense and style that Rudy usually swings, anyway).  Kenny’s 81.  Craig on a piano in the wake of his recent solo record which knocks the pants right off me. Etc. etc. etc.

I was lucky to get tickets, I had an in.  I’ve never seen the Standard so packed in my life, I had to sit on the ramp going down to the stage all night.  35 dollars to get in too.  Cheap for Kenny and Dave, but as pricey as it gets for the Standard.

The night flew by.  Honestly, I can hardly remember anything about it, it was so rapturous.  I remember my heartstrings becoming tugged when Dave came out of a solo bass intro into the opening of Kind Folk.  His tone and tuning were as perfect as tone and tuning can be, for my money.  Kenny was playing as idiosyncratically as ever.  The folks I know who like Kenny’s music and playing(mostly Canadian, American folk hardly know Kenny’s name at all, it seems to me) always forget that Kenny  is a firey cat.  At 81 he’s still playing octave leaps and the affected sound(that reminds me of a drunk Ted Curson or something of that nature) are as striking and dynamic as ever.  He’s not the kind melodist that a lot of people would make him out to be.

The sidemen, it seems, were intimidated.  I’d be shocked if any of the three had ever played with Dave.  They kind of played the gig, playing in Kenny’s style all night.  There was one time in Kind Folk where the whole rhythm section did some nasty business for a few choruses over the nine, grouping it and accenting it in ways that I have never heard before, and certainly couldn’t dissect.  Craig and Dave can change time around pretty quick, let me tell you.  Mostly they played very subdued, though.

At the end of the day, he’s a true individualist.  To become that recognizable a dream of every Jazz musician.  I’m truly glad I went.  Now if I could see his actual band with John Taylor and the people that Kenny has cultivated in his idiom, I’d be set, but I’m not holding my breath.

Exciting music coming up.  Frank Wess at Dizzy’s, Steve Kuhn with Buster Williams, and two nights of duo piano, with Marcus Roberts and Herbie Hancock taking turns with Chick Corea.  I already have seats.  It’s going to be something else.   If I have time I’ll keep you posted.

“Skill is the capacity to carry out an activity so as to consistently produce the desired result.”   -Roger Martin



~ by Martin Porter on October 29, 2011.

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