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Dave Holland & Conference of the Birds

From Holland’s album of the same name (1972).

Dave Holland (bass), Sam Rivers (reeds, flute), Anthony Braxton (reeds, flute), Barry Altschul (percussion, marimba). The meter is 5/4.

In this same decade, I was made to read Chaucer’s Parliament of Fowls at some point. (Or was it Parlyemeyente offe Fyowlles?) Boring as s**t. But I still connect this album with that in my mind because of the similar titles, and this song evokes much more tender associations.

There was this brief period in the 70s when a kind of ethno-folk jazz appeared, reaching its apotheosis with the group Oregon. I always associated the lineup on this album with Oregon’s, but no, all different people (though I’m sure they recorded together on other albums). Ethno-folk jazz became New Age music, which I don’t much like. Dave Holland became arguably the best, certainly among the handful of best, jazz session bassists. He was already well on the way there back then, and I don’t quite know how to fit this strange, haunting, idiosyncratic album into his body of work.


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