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Kenny Barron & Dave Holland

Kenny Barron & Dave Holland

Kenny Barron & Dave Holland
@ the Queen Elizabeth Hall
21 November 2014

Click an image to enlarge.

Kenny Barron biography

Honoured by The National Endowment for the Arts as a 2010 Jazz Master, Kenny Barron has an unmatched ability to mesmerise audiences with his elegant playing, sensitive melodies and infectious rhythms. The Los Angeles Times named him “one of the top jazz pianists in the world” and Jazz Weekly calls him “The most lyrical piano player of our time.”

Philadelphia is the birthplace of many great musicians, including one of the undisputed masters of the jazz piano: Kenny Barron. Barron was born in 1943 and while a teenager, started playing professionally with Mel Melvin’s orchestra. This local band also featured Barron’s brother Bill, the late tenor saxophonist.

While still in high school. Barron worked with drummer Philly Joe Jones and at age 19, he moved to New York City and freelanced with Roy Haynes, Lee Morgan and James Moody, after the tenor saxophonist heard him play at the Five Spot. Upon Moody’s recommendation Dizzy Gillespie hired Barron in 1962 without even hearing him play a note. It was in Dizzy’s band where Baroon developed an appreciation for Latin and Caribbean rhythms. After five years with Dizzy, Barron played with Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, Milt Jackson, and Buddy Rich. The early seventies found Barron working with Yusef Lateef who Barron credits as a key influence in his art for improvisation. Encouraged by Lateef, to pursue a college education, Barron balanced touring with studies and earned his B.A. in Music from Empire State College, By 1973, Barron joined the faculty at Rutgers University as professor of music. He held this tenure until 2000, mentoring many of today’s young talents including David Sanchez, Terence Blanchard and Regina Bell. In 1974 Barron recorded his first album as a leader for the Muse label, entitled “Sunset To Dawn.” This was to be the first in over 40 recordings (and still counting!) as a leader.

Following stints with Ron Carter in the late seventies Barron formed a trio with Buster Williams and Ben Riley which also worked alongside of Eddie Lockjaw” Davis, Eddie Harris, Sonny Stitt and Harry “Sweets” Edison. Throughout the 80’s Barron collaborated with the great tenor saxophonist Stan Getz, touring with his quartet and recording several legendary albums including “Anniversary”, “Serenity” and the Grammy nominated “People Time” Also during the 80’s, he co-founded the quartet “Sphere,” along with Buster Williams, Ben Riley and Charlie Rouse. This band focused on the music of Thelonious Monk and original compositions inspired by him. Sphere recorded several outstanding projects for the Polygram label, among them “Four For All” and “Bird Songs.” After the death of Charlie Rouse, the band took a 15-year hiatus and reunited, replacing Rouse with alto saxophonist Gary Bartz. This reunion made its debut recording for Verve Records in 1998.

Kenny Barron’s own recordings for Verve have earned him nine Grammy nominations beginning in 1992 with “People Time” an outstanding duet with Stan Getz followed by the Brazilian influenced “Sambao and most recently for “Freefall” in 2002. Other Grammy nominations went to “Spirit Song”, “Night and the City” (a duet recording with Charlie Haden) and “Wanton Spirit” a trio recording with Roy Haynes and Haden. It is important to note that these three recordings each received double-Grammy nominations (for album and solo performance.) His CD, “Canta Brasil” (Universal France) linked Barron with Trio de Paz in a fest of original Brazilian jazz, and was named Critics Choice Top Ten CDs of 2003 by JazzIz Magazine. His 2004 release, “Images” (Universal France) was inspired by a suite originally commissioned by The Wharton Center at Michigan State University and features multi-Grammy nominated vibraphonist Stefon Harris. The long awaited trio sequel featuring Ray Drummond and Ben Riley, “The Perfect Set, Live At Bradley’s, Part Two” (Universal France/Sunnyside) was released October 2005.

After a successful musical meeting of the minds with bassist Dave Holland, the two masters decided to collaborate on a duet project to be released on Impulse/Universal records in 2014 followed by a tour.

Barron consistently wins the jazz critics and readers’ polls, including Downbeat, Jazz Times and Jazziz magazines. The famed Spanish ceramist Lladro honoured Mr. Barron with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 and he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from his alma mater SUNY Empire State in 2013 and from Berklee College of Music in 2011. In 2009 he received the Living Legacy Award from Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation and was inducted into the American Jazz Hall of Fame and won a MAC Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. He is a six-time recipient of Best Pianist by the Jazz Journalists Association.

Dave Holland biography

Since Holland’s professional debut in the mid 1960s, that voice has been heard in a remarkable number of different contexts. From the electric whirlwind of Miles Davis’ “Bitches Brew” era band to the elegant flamenco of his collaboration with Spanish guitar legend Pepe Habichuela; accompanying the great vocalist Betty Carter in her last years to forging a new sound with the pioneering avant-garde quartet Circle alongside Chick Corea, Anthony Braxton, and Barry Altschul; standing alongside legends like Stan Getz, Hank Jones, Roy Haynes, and Sam Rivers to providing early opportunities to now-leading players like Chris Potter, Kevin and Robin Eubanks, or Steve Coleman; Dave Holland has been at the forefront of jazz in many of its forms since his earliest days.

In 2013, Holland celebrated 40 years as a leader in trademark fashion, by looking decidedly forward. On the anniversary of his first release, “Conference of the Birds,” which featured Rivers, Braxton and Altschul, Holland unveiled his latest quartet, Prism, a visceral electric band featuring his longtime collaborator Kevin Eubanks along with keyboardist Craig Taborn and drummer Eric Harland.

In addition to Prism, Holland continues to lead his Grammy-winning big band; his acclaimed quintet with saxophonist Chris Potter, trombonist Robin Eubanks, vibraphonist Steve Nelson, and drummer Nate Smith; and the Overtone quartet, with Potter, Harland, and pianist Jason Moran. In recent years Holland has been performing in a duo context with pianist Kenny Barron and with flamenco legend Pepe Habichuela; a follow up to “Hands,” his 2010 recording with Habichuela, is due in the fall of 2013. And he continues to explore his solo voice, as documented on the albums “Emerald Tears” (1977), “Ones All” (1993), and “Life Cycle” (1982), a solo cello recording.

Since 2005, Holland’s output has been released on his own Dare2 Records label, founded so that the bassist could exercise greater control over the recording and release of his music. The move came on the heels of a fruitful relationship with ECM Records that had lasted for more than three decades. Attentive to devising a one-of-the-kind packaging to match the product within, Holland drafted world-famous graphic designer Niklaus Troxler to craft the label’s distinctively bold and colourful look.

Born in Wolverhampton, England in 1946, Holland shifted seamlessly between jazz traditions from the beginning. While still in his native country, he collaborated with forward-thinking peers like saxophonists Jon Surman and Evan Parker and pianists Chris McGregor and John Taylor while also playing with more traditional forebears from an earlier generational, such as saxophonists Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Scott. It was while playing at Scott’s storied Soho jazz club in 1968 that Holland was spotted by Miles Davis, who immediately hired the young bassist for his ground-breaking electric ensemble.

Over the next two years, Holland would appear on Davis’ landmark recordings “Filles de Kilimanjaro,” “In a Silent Way” and “Bitches Brew,” and meet many of the artists with whom he would continue to revolutionize modern jazz. They include such renowned names as Chick Corea, with whom he co-founded the short-lived but influential quartet Circle; Jack DeJohnette, a frequent rhythm section partner during Holland’s ECM years and co-leader of the collective Gateway trio with Holland and guitarist John Abercrombie; and Herbie Hancock, with whom Holland would reunite in the mid-90s and record such genre-defying albums as “The New Standard” and 2008 Grammy Album of the Year award winner “River: The Joni Letters.”

After leaving Davis’ group, Holland embarked on his solo career with the release of “Conference of the Birds” in 1973, marking the beginning of several key relationships: with ECM, with Braxton, and with Sam Rivers. At the same time, he was a prolific sideman both in the jazz world and without, where he recorded with rock and folk musicians including Bonnie Raitt, John Hartford, and bluegrass legend Vassar Clements.

The 1980s saw the formation of Holland’s first working quintet, featuring alto saxophonist Steve Coleman, trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, and trombonist Julian Priester, which would gradually transform into the quartet with Coleman, drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith, and Kevin Eubanks that recorded “Extensions” in 1988 – the only one of Holland’s recordings to include future Tonight Show bandleader prior to their reunion in Prism.

The foundations for most of the groups that Holland currently leads were laid in the 1990s, when he founded his current quintet and his much-acclaimed big band. The latter won two Grammy awards in the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album category, for its debut, “What Goes Around,” in 2002 and for its follow-up, 2005’s “Overtime,” both on “Dare2.” A third Grammy came in 1999 in the Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual or Group category, for the all-star quintet record “Like Minds” (Concord), with Gary Burton, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, and Roy Haynes.

A Fellow of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, where he studied from 1965-68, Holland has received honorary doctorates from Birmingham Conservatoire in England and both Boston’s Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory, where he has been a visiting artist in residence since 2005. He served as artistic director for the Banff Centre Jazz Workshop in Alberta, Canada for seven years in the 1980s and is currently an artist in residence at the Royal Academy of Music and the University of Miami.

 

Recommended
Listening

 

The Traveler Stan Getz & Kenny Barron - people time Kenny Barron & Dave Holland - The Art Of Conversation Charlie Haden & Kenny Barron Night and The City

 

Further
Recommended
Viewing

Click Dave Holland's image below to see him @ the Love Supreme Jazz Festival, 2014...

Dave Holland @ the Love Supreme Jazz Festival 2014 (click to go to his page)

Go back to the London Jazz Festival 2014 home page.

 Go back to the jazz gallery.

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