AZIZA: A Band of Equals

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Wednesday May 03, 2017

From The Boston Globe

Jazz master Holland settles in with a band of equals
By: Bill Beuttler

The band is an equal partnership, though Holland acknowledges filling a few extra roles: making the calls to Loueke and Harland, using his booking agents to line up the initial tour in the summer of 2015, and releasing their eponymous album on his own Dare2 record label, which he launched in 2004 after many years with ECM.

But Aziza is a band of equals. Holland makes sure the fact that he recorded on several landmark Miles Davis albums before the others were born doesn’t alter that.

‘You do tend to just defer to him,’ admits Harland, ‘but he’s really about that level of independence and being yourself. He’s constantly giving and making sure that our voice is heard. He’s always, ‘What tunes do you have? Let’s try that, let’s work on that.’ It’s really beautiful, a very modest way of being.’

That’s as things should be in a jazz band, according to Holland.

‘It’s a very democratic moment,’ he explains. ‘I think I might have even referred to it in the speech, about how it represented this sort of wonderful social symbology of people working together, coming from diverse streams and just coming to agreements and trusting each other and supporting each other. That’s what happens on the bandstand at the best of times.’

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