Dave Holland is a deceptively unassuming man. His deliberate manner of speaking belies a passion laced with a mystical undercurrent that may in fact explain the unusual combination of talent that has him compared to great bassists in jazz like Scott LaFaro as well as the genre's outstanding composers like Duke Ellington.
The greatest virtue of bassist Dave Holland's recordings, whatever the size of the ensemble he leads, lies in how directly the compositions evolve from the improvisation(s) of the players. The key may be that Holland writes with his players in mind. As exhibited on the title song to this live recording from Birdland in 2009, that's clearly a consummate talent in itself. But the band's still got to execute and it's only a matter of moments before the Octet is in full flight for close to eleven minutes on "Pathways."