In 1990, Holland debuted Extensions—a quartet album featuring Kevin Eubanks, Coleman and Smith—that was voted Album of the Year by Downbeat magazine. A year later, on the same week, he recorded World Trio, featuring Eubanks on acoustic guitar and percussionist Mino Cinelu, and Phase Space, a duo album with Steve Coleman. These were followed in ’93 by Holland’s third solo effort, Ones All (both World Trio and Ones All were originally released on the Intuition label.)
By ’97, the Dave Holland Quintet included a mix of younger and veteran players, with vibraphonist Steve Nelson and trombonist Robin Eubanks (Kevin’s brother) alongside saxophonist Chris Potter and drummer Billy Kilson (and later Nate Smith.) While most of his creative choices as a bandleader are the result of feel and intuition, Holland admits a conscious decision when it comes to combining musicians of varying levels of experience. “I’m an equal opportunity employer. I don’t think about anything to do with gender, race or age. I’m looking for the music. I listen to the music with my ears, but at the same time, I am also conscious of the fact that it’s very important that there is intergenerational contact in the music. Older players should play with younger players and vice-versa so we have a chance to cross-pollinate our influences and backgrounds. This is how the music grows and expands.”
In the 1990s, Holland’s desire to focus on his compositional and arranging skills led to the formation of the Dave Holland Big Band, a group that that led to his notching two Grammy awards for Best Large Jazz Ensemble. Around the same time, he earned a third for an all-star quintet with old colleagues Burton, Corea, Pat Metheny and Roy Haynes. During the ‘90s, Holland also revisited a number of historic collaborations—including the Gateway Trio, and working with Herbie Hancock—and in the 2000s, Holland expanded his focus to new collaborations: the comically named “ScoLoHoFo” quartet featuring Joe Lovano, John Scofield, and Al Foster; as well as a duo with Jim Hall.