Growing up in Chicago, Red Holloway listened to Gene Ammons and Johnny Griffin while absorbing many of the world’s favorite jazz influences. At home working with a blues singer or a hard bop ensemble, the saxophonist has shared the stage with Jack McDuff, George Benson, B.B. King, Joe Williams, John Mayall, Ernestine Anderson, Etta James, and many more. Employing both tenor and alto on his latest album, Holloway is joined by pianist Norman Simmons, acoustic bassist Peter Washington, and drummer Kenny Washington.
"The Chase" by Dexter Gordon serves as Holloway’s opening statement: colored by the blues but charging straight ahead in a jazz vein, up-tempo, with energy. Herbie Hancock’s "Watermelon Man" is an ideal vehicle for the saxophonist’s much-appreciated offering of variations on a theme. Like a plaintive blues singer, Holloway cries and wails through his instrument, offering a personal message on the ballads "In My Solitude," "A Tear in my Heart," and "The Gypsy." A lyrical bassist, Peter Washington can be heard on "Snu-Fu" embellishing the walking pattern so that the stroll remains refreshing from start to finish. On the swinging "Claudia" he and Holloway "converse" by trading melodies. Norman Simmons provides piano interludes that complement Holloway’s vocal style; both of the artists share a passion for foot-tappin’ enjoyable music. Harold Land’s familiar "Rapture" closes out the session with its loose "see ya next time" spirit.
The recording leaves the bass and piano somewhat faint in places, with the drummer occupying too much of the volume. Red Holloway’s vocal style of saxophone performance, however, is out front and a joy for all to share.