Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Red Holloway Was a Hard Swinging Saxophonist
Go Red Go! finds him blowing with vitality backed by organist Chris Foreman and his trio (guitarist Henry Johnson and drummer Greg Rockingham). Its a swinging buoyant date opening with a lively Love Walked In. Legendary guitarist George Freeman takes over the chair for Holloway's late night blues, I Like It Funky. The title track is a retitled rendition of an Arnett Cobb sax sender as he takes off at rugburning tempo, followed by the more romantic feeling of the standard Deep Purple, a prime vehicle to display his sensuous ballad playing with his vibrato evoking Webster with a fair amount of vibrato in his sound.
Holloway also provides his own take on Stardust, one of ballads Webster was most associated with. Sonny Rollins classic calypso St. Thomas, is an unusual choice perhaps but Foreman’s solid unison playing and chording underneath his dancing solo adds to its charm and Johnson takes a nice solo here as well. There are strong interpretations of Bags Groove, and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s bossa nova classic,“Wave. Guitarist Freeman rejoins him for the delightful reworking of blues legend’s Roosevelt Sykes’ Keep Your Hands Off Yourself, that closes this album as he enthusiastically delivers the vocal with Foreman anchoring the performance and getting greasy during his solo that precedes the solos by Holloway and Freeman. Holloway may not be a great singer, but the entire performance is simply too much fun and ends a finger snapping, toe tapping recording of first rate jazz for lovers of tenor sax and organ jazz. he ain’t getting older, he’s just aging marvelously.
Red Holloway passed away on February 25, 2012. He would have been 85 in May and he had a career that spanned several decades. This review originally appeared in the July 2009 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 318) and I received a review copy from Delmark. Here is some Red Holloway in performance.