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Richard "Groove" Holmes: Broadway

Jim Santella By

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Orginally released by Muse in 1980, this reissue features organist Groove Holmes, saxophonist Houston Person, guitarist Gerald Smith, percussionist Ralph Dorsey, and drummer Bobby Ward. No bassist is required because the leader provides stellar bass lines himself from the organ.

The title track, "Broadway," starts off this album with a blazing tempo and a natural flair for the melody. Person’s tenor saxophone tone is light and airy, and his technique is tempered with a sense of confidence that seems to come naturally from his 20 years of experience (at that time) with blues and jazz. Bobby Ward’s brushes provide the lush background texture needed for Benard Ighner’s ballad "Everything Must Change." Person’s lead voice on saxophone is rich and sentimental. Smith’s electric guitar pops through "Ode to Larry Young," providing a syncopated funk beat to match Holmes’ bass line. The organ feature is a fine tribute, and it’s complemented by a lyrical saxophone melody along with Ward’s crisp drum set shuffle. "Moon River" gets a strutting rhythmic treatment from cowbell, drum sticks, and organ while Houston Person supplies the familiar melody. Holmes stretches out over the tune’s harmonic framework, supplying a personal statement through his solo spot. The leader’s composition "Katherine" features lyrical ballad "singing" from organ and tenor, while the final track, "Plenty, Plenty Blues" opens up the tempo and adds Ralph Dorsey’s congas. Person, Holmes, and Smith make their individual statements, and then saxophone & organ trade fours. Like the title track, their closing number includes a lightning-fast walking bass line from the leader and equal parts from each of the others. Recommended.

Track Listing: Broadway; Everything Must Change; Ode to Larry Young; Moon River; Katherine; Plenty, Plenty Blues.

| Record Label: 32 Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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