Dave Holland brings all that jazz to Philadelphia

He has played with Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock and Stan Getz. He has won three Grammy awards, and is now up for a fourth.

He’s renowned bassist Dave Holland — and he’s now teaching students at the High School for Creative and Performing Arts the secrets of jazz.

The teaching goes both ways.

Matti Beresin, 16, could hardly believe one of his musical idols came to his school.

“I’ve listened to ‘Bitches Brew’ and a couple other records that he’s played on,” said the guitarist and stand-up bass player. “I’ve always loved his bass playing, and I’m like, what?…to the Philadelphia school district? What? Doesn’t make any sense.”

During Holland’s three-day residency at CAPA, he dispensed as many philosophical licks as musical ones.

“We’re all human and everyone makes mistakes,” Holland mused to the 17 students gathered in CAPA’s auditorium for the master class. “There’s a great quote from Coleman Hawkins: ‘If you ain’t makin’ mistakes, you’re not really trying.'”

Passing on what he’s learned from 50 years as a professional musician is part and parcel of Holland’s vocation. In return, he says he feeds off the kids’ enthusiasm and energy — if he can get them to loosen up around him.

“You have to remember when you’re a teacher — remember what you went through,” Holland says, brushing off suggestions that the students may be in awe of him. “My thing is to treat them like another musician, to share what I know and have a dialogue. The sooner we can get to that kind of relationship, the better.”

The  students will show off some off what they learned from Holland at a Friday night concert. On Saturday, Holland’s own band will play two shows at the Painted Bride Art Center.

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