The George Benson Quartet - Cookbook

The George Benson Quartet Cookbook (Columbia 1966)

There are two, maybe three or four George Bensons. However, for straightforward jazz fans, there’s only one: the cat that made gritty, in-your-face soul jazz albums like 1966’s Cookbook.

The George Benson Quartet - Cookbook

Personnel

George Benson (guitar), Ronnie Cuber (baritone saxophone), Lonnie Smith (organ), Jimmy Lovelace (drums), Marion Booker (drums)

Recorded

From August 1 – October 19, 1966 at Columbia Studio, NYC

Released

as CS 9413 in 1967

Track listing

Side A:
The Cooker
Benny’s Back
Bossa Rocka
All Of Me
Big Fat Lady
Side B:
Benson’s Rider
Ready And Able
The Borgia Stick
Return Of The Prodigal Son
Jumpin’ With Symphony Sid


For those fans, listening to George Benson after 1966 is like the obligatory New Years Drink from your employer. Damn, is guessing who’s been under the sheets with whom the only game around here?. Ok, one might answer the demure jazz buff, next time bring your turntable, light things up a bit, you crank. And the fifty-something who grew up on a diet of Average White Band and Santana might add, hey pal, George Benson did record some awesome stuff after ’66.

Sure he did. Except most of it is drowned in an overstuffed sound soup of strings, harp, flute, synth and, yuk, strings from the synth. A&M and CTI albums like The Other Side Of Abbey Road (1970) and White Rabbit (1972) are, notwithstanding the heavyweight line-ups of, among others, Herbie Hancock and Ron Carter, technically exceptional elevator muzak affairs, no less. If it wasn’t for the greasy, steamroller beat of drummer Idris Muhammad, 1968’s The Shape Of Things To Come would’ve been nothing more than schlock for the building constructors working on the streets where you live. Then again, few are prepared for My Latin Brother from Bad Benson (1974), a smoking, exotic and sizzling Latin tune with a quintet line up from the matured guitar player. And the highlights of Benson’s big break as a smooth jazz star in 1976, collected on Breezin’, are, despite their schmaltzy coating of synth, pretty darn good courtesy of the experienced, first-class session players – take So This Is Love. The only thing it needs is the voice of Barry White. Next thing you know one of sixteen vestal virgins appears from out of the blue, ready to sign up for Procol Harum’s harem.

As early as early 1968, when Benson was still a soul jazz guitarist, there were hints of radio-friendly formatting. His album Giblet Gravy has both the low-down dirty blues, injected with typical lightning-bolt fingering, of Groovin’ as the saccharine take of the ultimate crowd pleaser, Bobby Hebb’s Sunny. In fact, he’s singing an r&b-type version of All Of Me on Cookbook that could’ve done well on the jukebox market. George Benson has always been the kind of performer that succeeds in recording bubblegum ditties in the afternoon and play steamin’ r&b at night. Organist Greg Lewis told Flophouse that he regularly tried to sit in as a woodshedding Hammond B3 player in the early nineties in a Manhattan club, sometimes succeeding to replace one of the accomplished organists for a tune or so. Occasionally, Benson, at the height of his fame, would drive his limousine up the sidewalk, park, get in and join the band on stage. Nobody cut George.

Cocksure at heart. Benson was like that when he first hit the scene as a sideman with organist Brother Jack McDuff in late 1963. By no means arrogant, instead playing with a joy of discovery that is contagious. In McDuff’s band, the youngster, who sang professionally as a kid, still played the kind of r&b guitar style from his teenage years, although the influence of his heroes Charlie Christian and Grant Green (interpreted in fast forward motion) were readily discernible. Displaying quicksilver runs, a biting attack, torrents of foul-mouthed but impeccably placed blues phrases, Benson heated up both studio and stage to temperatures uncommon even in New Jersey or New York City summer season. Dig Benson’s fireworks on YouTube, footage of the McDuff Quartet’s 1964 performance at Antibes, France, here.

After a string of albums with McDuff and his debut album on Prestige, The New Boss Guitar Of George Benson, the guitarist had signed to Columbia, releasing It’s Uptown in 1966, with one of those grandiose subtitles I’m sure musicians weren’t too fond of, The Most Exciting New Jazz Guitarist On The Scene Today. It was a thoroughly exciting group that Benson had assembled and baritone saxophonist Ronnie Cuber, organist Lonnie Smith and drummer Jimmy Lovelace (alternating with Marion Booker) also gathered for the Cookbook session, still more tight-knit as a unit, delivering a hot barbecue of spicy ribs and saucy side dishes. There’s the opening tune, The Cooker, a strike of stop-time thunder, evidence of the group’s effortless breakneck speed swing and Benson’s fast-fingered blues wizardry. Perhaps already the highlight of the album, which yet doesn’t take anything away from the remainder of the repertory, including other Benson originals like the gentle Bossa Rocka and Big Fat Lady, a perky r&b tune that could easily pass for the background to Jimmy Hughes on Fame or Hank Ballard on King.

Benson gets his kicks with licks on Benson’s Rider, a boogaloo-ish rhythm perfectly suitable for the deeply groovy Lonnie Smith. Benson wrote the The Borgia Stick for a mafia television series, a lush greenery for the mutually responsive soul jazz cultivators, who are effectively aroused by sections of tension and release. The nifty Jimmy Smith tune Ready And Able presents the burgeoning talent of baritone saxophonist Ronnie Cuber to full effect. He’s like the cookie monster that’s gotten a shot of rhythm&blues, soulfully eating up the breaks off the I Got Rhythm changes.

The other horn player on the date, Benny Green, happened to walk into his friend George Benson on the street prior to Benson’s session. Benson invited Green over to the studio to join the proceedings. Such is the unique nature of jazz and its practitioners, that sheer coincidence may be turned into a musical advantage. Green’s uplifting, swinging style is an asset on Benny’s Back (which was written on the spot by Benson and refers to the fact that Green was also present on Benson’s first Columbia LP) and the swing-styled jam Jumpin’ With Symphony Sid, the longest track on an album that keeps warming the hearts of ‘early-Benson-fans’ around the globe.

True Grit

A while ago, a friend sent me this fantastic footage on YouTube of organist Brother Jack McDuff at the Antibes Festival in France in 1964. At the time, Jack McDuff’s quartet consisted of tenor saxophonist Red Holloway, guitarist George Benson and drummer Joe Dukes. (Read the recent review of The Soulful Drums Of Joe Dukes here)

The popular organists of the sixties, like Jack McDuff, Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff were both true entertainers and true musicians. They entertained but not with cheap tricks. If you played with cats like that, you had to have game. In his autobiography, George Benson tells a number of exciting and insightful stories about his time with McDuff.

Benson joined McDuff in 1963. It was his first break. Benson was still basically an r&b guitarist, dreaming of the high standard of his predecessors in McDuff’s group, Grant Green, Eddie Diehl and Kenny Burrell, but as McDuff would soon acknowledge, a ‘baaaaaad’ picker. Benson slowly but surely developed into a jazz player, absorbing the music of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers on the road, who traveled the same circuit. Plenty time to learn, because McDuff’s quartet was playing nightly for two years time around the East Coast and Mid-West.

By 1964, the group fired on all cylinders. McDuff and Joe Dukes were excellent teachers but tough customers. McDuff regularly shouted obscenities to Benson on stage, ‘if he had just the right (or wrong) amount of booze or weed.’ Joe Dukes, ‘such a magnificent drummer that there were times I thought he was one of the greatest things that ever happened to mankind’ was especially hard on the 19-year old prodigy, who alledgedly picked up too many girls for the taste of the envious drummer.

“Finally, after a particularly nasty rant, I snapped: ‘If y’all don’t lay off, I’m gonna take y’all outside and beat y’all old men up! I’m nineteen years old! Y’all can’t take me! We’re going out in the alley, right now! McDuff and Dukes just stared at me for a second, then they both pulled out switchblades. But that didn’t stop me: “I don’t care! Y’all don’t scare me! Bring your switchblades into the alley! I’ll beat y’all up anyhow!” Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed: nobody went into the alley, and nobody got beaten up. But it got them off my back.”

“In retrospect, I’m glad they stayed on my back; granted, their methods were barbaric, but for the most part, it was about making me a better musician so we’d be a better band.”

Nice story. Great music.

Joe Dukes - Soulful Drums

Joe Dukes The Soulful Drums Of Joe Dukes (Prestige 1964)

Joe Dukes is one of the quintessential organ combo drummers in the history of jazz. A master of the greasy, syncopated backbeat, Dukes was a precursor to many of today’s top-notch drummers like Steve Jordan, who owe debt to Dukes when they get down to the nitty-gritty of jazz funk drumming.

Joe Dukes - Soulful Drums

Personnel

Joe Dukes (drums), Brother Jack McDuff (organ), Red Holloway (tenor saxophone), George Benson (drums)

Recorded

on May 14, 1964 in NYC

Released

as PR 7324 in 1964

Track listing

Side A
Soulful Drums
Two Bass Hit
Greasy Drums
Side B
Moohah The DJ
Moanin’ Bench
My Three Sons


Dukes was born in Memphis, Tennessee. He spent the major part of his career in organist Jack McDuff’s quartet. It included the new brilliant kid on the block George Benson and smoky tenorist Red Holloway and is, arguably, McDuff’s hottest group of all time. Prestige boss Bob Weinstock was equally impressed. Weinstock and McDuff agreed on granting each member a leadership date. Red Holloway’s Cookin’ Together and George Benson’s The New Boss Guitar were followed by The Soulful Drums Of Joe Dukes. It’s the only album of Joe Dukes as a leader. There are no known recordings involving Dukes after 1970. Dukes passed away in 1992.

Dukes isn’t involved in an ego trip but instead limits himself to solo’s backed by the band. When displayed in basic, slow blues riffs like Soulful Drums and Moohah The DJ, these solo’s are more gutsy than suave and have a good groove. There’s a great moment at about three minutes into Soulful Drums, (listen here) when the quartet veirs into double time like a wild bunch of libertine torpedos.

The highlights of the album concern Dukes’ usual business of effective, hi-voltage group support. Dukes goes charmingly berserk on the uptempo, Afro-Cuban-ish My Three Sons. (Does tune scribler McDuff refer to His Three Beloved Bandmembers?) Everything a funky organ combo needs is laid out by Dukes: a ‘pocket’ of a rock solid hi-hat and bass kick as a touchstone for the organist and group; announcements of new solo’s and choruses and different tune sections by a variation of effective fills and turnarounds; and an inspired amount of pushing and pulling of the soloists. The great thing about Joe Dukes is that he not only displays elemental organ jazz drumming, but adds alluring extras like (Art Blakey-like) single-stroke rolls. Clearly, the man had jazz drum history running through his blood. In My Three Sons, George Benson’s quicksilver runs are crazy! At the start of his career, Benson is eager as a fox on the loose, trying to meaningfully incorporate all his fast-fingered blues chops in a jazz context.

Good organ jazz drumming usually suggests big band experience. I’m not sure if Dukes had played in big bands, but certainly Joe Dukes’ voicings and explosive style, locked in with McDuff’s big sound, bring forth a big band atmosphere with Dizzy Gillespie’s classic Two Bass Hit. Another highlight, Two Bass Hit’s stew pot boils over, while Benson and McDuff subsequently contribute cracklin’ and sharp-as-a-tack solo’s. Greasy Drums (listen here) is a fine groove jam. Moanin’ Bench is pure, slow-dragging gospel-soul, a Ray Charles-Atlantic-era type of thing. Brother McDuff sermonizes with obvious authority.

Joe Dukes’ art of organ jazz drumming can be found on numerous McDuff albums. Live! (Prestige, 1963) and Hot Barbecue (Prestige, 1965) are essential. Dukes also recorded with Hank Crawford, Lou Donaldson and Lonnie Smith. Smith’s Live At Club Mozambique (Blue Note, 1970/1995) is another album on which Dukes is particularly stunning. Note on the liner notes of The Soulful Drums: isn’t it a bit weird that, on an album dedicated to the group’s drummer, most of the back cover info deals with the career history of Brother Jack McDuff? Assumingly, listeners would’ve liked to hear more about the relatively unknown Joe Dukes. I would’ve liked to have more biographical info!

That said, praised be Weinstock for providing us with Dukes’ delicious, greasy organ jazz goody.

Stanley Turrentine - Sugar

Stanley Turrentine Sugar (CTI 1971)

Sugar, Stanley Turrentine’s first release on CTI, catapulted the tenorist into jazz stardom. It sold extremely well, in spite of its lenghty trio of tunes. A big part of the album’s mass appeal must be attributed to producer Creed Taylor. Taylor, also responsible for the big break of Jimmy Smith on Verve in the mid-sixties and George Benson on CTI in the early seventies, embedded Turrentine’s down-home hard bop style in streamlined jazz funk terrain. The result is a mixed bag.

Stanley Turrentine - Sugar

Personnel

Stanley Turrentine (tenor saxophone), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), George Benson (guitar), Ron Carter (bass), Lonnie Liston Smith (electric piano A1)), Butch Cornell (organ A2, B1), Billy Kaye (drums)

Recorded

on November 20, 1970 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Released

as CTI 6005 in 1971

Track listing

Side A:
Sugar
Sunshine Alley
Side B:
Impressions


Almost inevitably Taylor’s marketing strategies have as a consequence that something is lost. In this case, Turrentine’s smoky, blues-drenched sound and style; vintage Turrentine that is to be found on his many releases from the sixties, solo and with his wife, organist Shirley Scott on Blue Note and Prestige, and as a sideman with, among others, Jimmy Smith, Kenny Burrell and Max Roach.

On the whole, the all-star cast as well as newcomers Butch Cornell and Lonnie Liston Smith turn in top-notch performances and the mood is joyful and relaxed. The title track is a mellow groove. And even if Turrentine’s sound, in comparison to his ‘breathy’ sound of the sixties, is the musical equivalent of a silken scarf, his flowing, imaginative statements are proof of what a class act Turrentine is.

Latin tune Sunshine Alley, written by organist Butch Cornell, has an equally relaxed vibe. George Benson adds fiery, r&b-tinged licks to the flashy and pyrotechnical pallette of phrases that the guitarist demonstrated up until then. It’s a welcome change of mood. Hubbard’s solo starts with a climactic bunch of phrases, which obstructs a reasonable build-up. Turrentine seems contaminated and sounds a bit over-excited too.

The take on John Coltrane’s Impressions includes inventive solo’s by Hubbard and Benson and Turrentine’s lines are carefully crafted. Nonetheless, there is a decisive lack of swing that makes it hard to sit out. A couple of concise tunes on side B instead of the cumbersome version of Impressions would certainly have added to the attraction of Sugar, artistically and arguably also on a commercial level. Wouldn’t it have sold even better with a spicy side B?

Sugar is slick but excellent, not heartless but not really endearing either. It’s a commercial succes but in an artistic sense it’s nowhere near the best Blue Note albums by Stanley Turrentine.

Lou Donaldson - Midnight Creeper

Lou Donaldson Midnight Creeper (Blue Note 1968)

Of the popular jazz funk dates alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson did in the late sixties, Midnight Creeper is one of the best. It’s a driving date involving a mellow-blowing leader among a bunch of talented sidemen that were becoming successful leaders in their own right.

Lou Donaldson - Midnight Creeper

Personnel

Lou Donaldson (alto saxophone), Blue Mitchell (trumpet), George Benson (guitar), Lonnie Smith (organ), Idris Muhammad (drums)

Recorded

on March 15, 1968 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Released

as BST 84280 in 1968

Track listing

Side A:
Midnight Creeper
Love Power
Elizabeth
Side B:
Bag Of Jewels
Dapper Dan


Veteran Donaldson, who was influenced, as many or most were, by Charlie Parker and whose cooperations with Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey and Jimmy Smith date back to the late forties and early/mid-fifties, had a good hand in picking new breed cats in his mid-sixties soul jazz and late-sixties/early seventies jazz funk heyday. To name but a few: Grant Green, Big John Patton, Ben Dixon, Charles Earland, Melvin Sparks. The group of Midnight Creeper is of similar high standard.

One only has to take a listen to Bag Of Jewels to appreciate the rapport of George Benson & Co. The artistic merit of a simple vamp like this one, written by organist Lonnie Smith, lies in the protagonists’ groove-ability. The drive of the rhythm section of drummer Idris Muhammad (formerly Leo Morris) and Lonnie Smith is tremendous. The twangy chords of George Benson add body to the bottom. Lonnie Smith is a wholesale dealer in juicy funk and enigmatic surprises. Smith, on this album, shows that he had become one of the most original organists of his time.

Following Smith, the rest of the soloists – Blue Mitchell, George Benson and Lou Donaldson – bring a lot of jazz finesse to the otherwise basic vamp. Worth mentioning are Blue Mitchell’s skilled work and buoyant style, Benson’s clever yet spicy build-up from low to high register, Muhammad’s stimulating way of announcing soloists with crackling press rolls and, finally, Donaldson’s deceptively casual, logically evolving tale.

The signature tune, Midnight Creeper, is an easy-going groove, a mellow boogaloo. The title and bounce suggest the nocturnal journey of a greasy cat, but for me that lazy gait ignites visions of old geezers in the park, scuffling around a chess board and glancing from under their Panama hats to attractive women passing by. That, of course, is one of the beauties of music, that it creates a variety of feelings.

Donaldson shines brightly on ballads, and Elisabeth is no exception. Not only does Donaldson have chops in abundance, his tone is warm and penetrating and the way Donaldson wraps his arms around the melody is breathtaking.

The funky beat of Love Power is irresistable. It has a kind of Bo Diddley twist as well. Lou Donaldson’s comments bring about a playful, calypso feeling. George Benson delivers a skilled r&b section, including bent strings and slurs. In short, the cover of Teddy Vann’s tune – recorded by The Sandpebbles in 1967 – is a spicy stew.

The album Midnight Creeper is an appetizing melting pot as well. Lou Donaldson’s commercial jazz funk albums, even if not all of them are up to par with Midnight Creeper, include classic groove tunes that, I’ve always felt, have the vital function of keeping jazz accessible for newcomers into the jazz realm. At least it worked like that for me as well as a number of teenage buddies in the mid-nineties. Donaldson reminded us of the blues and soul music we were passionately involved with. Midnight Creeper and Lou Donaldson’s other boogaloo gems spelled: wow, this is jazz as well! We’re enjoying the ‘far out’ Coltrane and Monk, but let’s get low, down & dirty for a change! Yeah, let’s just.

SN325256

“Brother” Jack McDuff Hot Barbecue (Prestige 1964)

I once saw Hot Barbecue, the 1965 album of popular organist “Brother” Jack McDuff, recommended as perfectly suitable as background music for a BBQ party. It wasn’t a joke. I thought it was hilarious.

SN325256

Personnel

“Brother Jack McDuff (organ), George Benson (guitar), Red Holloway (tenor sax), Joe Dukes (drums)

Recorded

October 19, 1965

Released

as PR 7422 in 1965

Track listing

Side A:
Hot Barbecue
The Party’s Over
Briar Patch
Hippy Dip
Side B:
601 ½ North Popular
Cry Me A River
The Three Day Thang


Admittedly, Hot Barbecue is a party record. Try standing still in front of the grill. Virtually impossible. And that’s cool; indeed, the so-called BBQ-factor, or should we say danceability, is a profound aspect of jazz. On closer inspection, moreover, one cannot help but stumble upon a related, underlying level of profound meaning of the soul jazz McDuff brings: the fact that it is part of, and creates, a communal experience.

Something of a ‘working class hero of soul jazz’, Jack McDuff was always specifically intent on entertaining audience and listeners. Deeply rooted in both secular entertainment (profanity included) and church morals – that peculiar mix that lies at the heart of black culture – McDuff was the kind of guy who is firmly part of the community; as the record cover shows, tastin’ that spicey ribs just like fellows on the ball. His exciting live performances were ‘gefundenes fressen’ for folks to let their hair down after a tough working day and as such dealt with the connection between music and everyday life, between artist and community. His records often touched a nerve. And consequently sold really well.

Hot Barbecue swings all the way through. After the kickstart of the uplifting, riotious title track, that’s quite a feat. The group gets into the groove with a rollicking drum pattern that tastefully combinates snare and toms and an organ and guitar rhythm accent on the second and fourth bar. Sandwiched between the recurring, contagious theme that is topped off with happy, unpolished and joyful shouts of the group – “Hot Barbecue Today!” – are short and swift solo’s by McDuff, Benson and Holloway.

Not easy to top. Yet the set of concise soul jazz outings that follow maintain the same excitement; burners resplendent with affective themes, stop choruses and ‘screaming’ organ fills by McDuff such as 601 ½ North Popular, The Three Day Thang and Briar Patch alternate with the medium-tempo, frisky ditty Hippy Dip. McDuff also transforms two standards into soul jazz staples utilising a cleaner, sharp organ sound – The Party’s Over and Cry Me A River. The latter is the ‘churchiest’ of the set. Through McDuff’s carefully crafted storytelling the tension grows and the high spirits of a congregation are invoked.

For bringing this kind of sizzling stuff, McDuff happily relied on a group of soulful sidemen. The tag of ‘new man in town’ that George Benson, heir to the precursor in McDuff’s band Benson’d been so in awe of, Grant Green, wore, was worn off by now. On Benson’s fifth release with McDuff, the guitarist shows that his development from the cocky rock&roll-player in 1963 to one that delivers quicksilver jazz phrasing, using glissandos, pull-offs and such guitar trickery for added pleasure, was fulfilled. To be sure, in Benson’s style there’s brittle r&b abound. A highlight of his juicy amalgam of r&b and jazz on Hot Barbecue is The Three-Day Thang.

Both tenorist Red Holloway and drummer Joe Dukes, reliable constituents of McDuff’s entourage in the mid-sixties, cook up a spicey dish. Dukes tackles 601 ½ North Popular and Briar Patch as if he’s supporting Bill Haley and he might as well be! Besides incorporating the flair of rock&roll it should be obvious Dukes is also a very tasteful and smart drummer. His charming and sharp-as-a-razor way of embellishing the theme of Hippy Dip is but one example of Joe Dukes’ unforgettable, soulful style.

Hot Barbecue is a showcase for the hottest group of McDuff’s career. It involves an exciting, ‘screaming’ organ. It also involves sophistication and a fun atmosphere. As such, it doesn’t leave much to be desired.

Red Holloway - Red Soul

Red Holloway Red Soul (Prestige 1965)

Imagine side A of Rubber Soul being performed by the genuine Fab Four and side B as a new project of McCartney & Harrison supported by Carol Kaye and Hal Blaine. That would be a whole different ball game, right? Interesting, to say the least! Incoherent but fruitful, no doubt. Red Holloway’s Red Soul is a jazz equivalent of the ‘alternative’ Rubber Soul.

Red Holloway - Red Soul

Personnel

Red Holloway (tenor saxophone), Lonnie Smith (organ A1-5), George Benson (guitar), Chuck Rainey (electric bass A1-5), Paul Breslin (bass B1-4), Ray Lucas (drums A1-5), Frank Severino (drums B1-4)

Recorded

December 1965 in NYC

Released

as PR7473 in 1966

Track listing

Side A:
Making Tracks
Movin’ On
Good & Groovy
Get It Together
Big Fat Lady
Side B:
A Tear In My Heart
Eagle Jaws
I’m All Packed
The Regulars


It uses two differing line-ups and as a consequence lacks a unified atmosphere. It has to be said, however, that both groups deliver two solid ‘mini-albums’. The organ combo of side A concentrates on the blues, expertly so, and avoids dead end streets by adding some delicate touches to the compositions. Making Tracks, for example, makes use of a chromatic descent in the eleventh and twelfth bar, creating a welcome tension. There’s rhythmic variation as well, as the funky blues beat of Movin’ On and the break-filled theme of Good & Groovy demonstrate.

Red Holloway shows his capability to carry such tunes. He’d been sharpening his razors in Brother Jack McDuff’s group for two years and a half years prior to recording Red Soul; McDuff (and drummer Joe Dukes) really pushed sidemen such as Holloway to the groovy limit. On this occasion, the combo is not so fiery; it’s excellent, but their sound is thin. Its atmosphere is identical to Lonnie Smith’s debut album Finger Lickin’ Good, that had George Benson (who of course had also been with McDuff) aboard as well, who on Red Soul seemingly off the cuff hands out more than a handful of bluesy goodies.

Side B is jazz of a different band and nature; only Benson remained. Its sound and style is interchangeable to that of the late fifties. That doesn’t mean it’s a disappointment. It consists of uptempo, swinging tunes driven by Holloway’s hard-edged but fluent tenor, yet it’s the lone ballad, A Tear In My Heart, that is the session’s centrepiece. Bordering on a ‘cri de coeur’ played by a man accustomed to romantic bankruptcy, Holloway’s suave yet solid tenor work is heartfelt. Holloway was around as a freshman in the late fourties and it’s heartening to hear that musicians like him transported the beauty of swing to the next decades.

Both groups on Red Soul have a nice enough rapport. In the album’s liner notes Red Holloway put across his intention of showing two sides of the Holloway coin. It created a bit of a mixed bag, but one filled with satisfying efforts.

YouTube: Good And Groovy