Dave Holland - The big picture

Fêted at home and abroad, Dave Holland, is one of the most celebrated UK jazz musicians working on the upper reaches of the international touring circuit today. Having just turned 60 recently the bassist who famously joined Miles Davis after the trumpeter heard him playing in Ronnie Scott’s club, he went on to make a name for himself in an avant garde settings with cult group Circle and then on to a substantial recording presence on ECM. Duncan Heining looks back with Dave on his career, back to the fondly remembered London days at the Little Theatre Club, through the early days and recording highlights with his long running quintet and up to the present day with his new label highlighting the talents of his own big band. Colleagues John Surman, Jack DeJohnette and John Surman also give their views on just why Dave Holland is such as important presence on the scene today.

Ornette Coleman - Oceans Of Sound

One of the most surprising releases of the year has just slipped out on the run up to Christmas. A live album by Ornette Coleman, Sound Grammar, marks the first album by the great saxophonist and composer in 10 years. Featuring a two bass player line-up it signals a return to form for Ornette, and a chance once again to marvel at the innovative range of ideas pouring out of the Texan, now in his late seventies. In a rare interview, Kevin Le Gendre finds out from Ornette the background to the album and touches on his wider philosophical ideas and inspirations.

Acoustic Ladyland - Brave New World

It seems hardly five minutes since Acoustic Ladyland were the newest kids on the block, fresh faced and determined to inject a welcome verve and creativity into a dozing jazz scene. With two successful albums under its belt for the Babel label the band led by Pete Wareham has now been signed by a leading rock indie label V2 and is crossing over more and more into the alternative rock scene. Andy Robson catches up with the outspoken band as its new record for the new label, Skinny Grin, is about to come out...

Stan Tracey - Standard Time

Stan Tracey, after a period of some neglect, is now justifiably regarded as one of the UK’s greatest jazz musicians past or present. As he turns 80 this month Duncan Heining looks back on Tracey’s career with the man himself and talks to some of his musical colleagues over the years including Michael Garrick, Guy Barker and Keith Tippett. Michael Horovitz , who has collaborated with Stan ever since New Departures in the 1960s, has written a new poem to mark Stan’s birthday

EST - Polyphonic spree

EST return this month with their tenth album, their first since the live version of Viaticum was issued as a special package last year along with the original studio album. Such a remarkable record company response was indicative of the initial album’s popularity, with strong demand in the UK and many other parts of Europe. So much for the album’s title tease that the group was performing its last rites. The group over more than a decade has achieved extraordinary levels of success for a jazz trio on the international jazz circuit, especially in the last five years.

Even the notoriously insular American jazz community has responded warmly, if tardily, to pianist Esbjörn Svensson, bassist Dan Berglund and drummer Magnus Öström. With their hi-tech light show, cranked up concert hall sound, and positive overtures to young rock fans – crucially without the lovingly honed but ubiquitous Radiohead covers – plus a finely honed post-Jarrett European group mentality, EST make perfect sense. It’s with a sense of the baroque that EST turns to as the backdrop to their new album, as Esbjörn Svensson tells Stuart Nicholson

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