Dave Holland (born October 1, 1946) is a British jazz bassist and composer who is a significant representative of avant-garde jazz.
Born in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England, Holland learned to play bass as a child, and spent three years studying the instrument at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.He was discovered by Trevor Oerton,one of the midlands top musicians of the day and became a member of his band. By 1967 he was a regular player at Ronnie Scott's, the premier jazz club in London, backing visiting musicians. He was also involved in the London free improvisation scene around the drummer John Stevens, and performed on the Spontaneous Music Ensemble's classic 1968 album Karyobin. That same year, Miles Davis and Philly Joe Jones heard him playing at Ronnie Scott's, and Jones told Holland that Davis wanted him to join his band (replacing Ron Carter). Davis left the UK before Holland could contact him directly, and two weeks later Holland was given three days' notice to fly to New York for an engagement at Count Basie's nightclub. He arrived the night before, staying with Jack DeJohnette, a previous acquaintance. The following day Herbie Hancock took him to the club, and his two years with Davis began. This was also Hancock's last gig as Davis's pianist, as he left afterwards for a honeymoon in Brazil and was replaced by Chick Corea when he couldn't return for an engagement due to illness. Holland's first recordings with Davis were in September 1968, for half of the album Filles de Kilimanjaro (with Davis, Corea, Wayne Shorter and Tony Williams).
Holland was a member of Davis's rhythm section through the summer of 1970; he appears on the albums In a Silent Way and Bitches' Brew. All three of his studio recordings with Davis were instrumental in the evolution of jazz fusion. In the first year of his tenure with Davis, Holland played primarily acoustic bass. By the end of 1969, he played electric bass guitar (often treated with wah-wah and other electronic effects) with increasing frequency as Davis's music became increasingly electronic, vamp-based and funky. Holland was also a member of Davis's working group during this time, unlike many of the musicians who would appear on the trumpeter's studio recordings. The so-called "lost quintet" of Davis, Shorter, Corea, Holland and Jack DeJohnette was active in 1969 but never made any studio recordings as a quintet. A 1970 live recording of this group plus percussionist Airto Moreira, It's About That Time, was issued in 2001. (Steve Grossman replaced Shorter in early 1970; Keith Jarrett joined the group as a second keyboardist thereafter, and Gary Bartz replaced Grossman during the summer of 1970.)