Holland left Davis’s employ in 1970 and immediately co-founded Circle—the influential if short-lived free-jazz quartet, with Corea, Anthony Braxton and Barry Altschul. After the breakup of Circle in late ’71, Holland found himself working in bands led by the likes of Stan Getz, Thelonious Monk, Braxton, and initiating an enduring relationship with saxophonist/bandleader Sam Rivers.
By 1972, Holland relocated to upstate New York, and began recording under his own name, beginning a long-standing association with the Munich-based ECM label. It was during this period of re-establishment that he began participating with vibraphonist Karl Berger’s Creative Music Studio, and co-founded the Gateway Trio with John Abercrombie and Jack DeJohnette. Holland later joined Betty Carter’s group for a year, and served as a sideman on a wide range of recording projects that featured blues singer/guitarist Bonnie Raitt, vocalist Maria Muldaur, and bluegrass heavyweights John Hartford, Norman Blake, and Vassar Clements. In ‘77, Holland began performing solo bass concerts, which led to the studio album Emerald Tears, which he later followed with the solo cello recording Life Cycle in ’83.