Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

395

Richard "Groove" Holmes: Soul Message

By

Sign in to view read count
The Hammond B-3 organ, even more than the Fender Rhodes electric piano, simply refuses to surrender to the proponents of digital synthesis, be they manufacturers of keyboards or aging keyboardists looking for less strenuous gigs. The instrument continues to exert a universal appeal, offering a soul-stirring Sunday-morning message at a time and place that suits Saturday-night sinners. All the more reason this RVG edition of Soul Message, a popular recording by one of the instrument's more effective evangelists, is likely to be warmly received among converts and backsliders alike.

In retrospect, the sensation Jimmy Smith created with his up-tempo, head-spinning recording of Dizzy Gillespie's "The Champ" [The Champ (Blue Note, 1956)] was probably disproportionate to the accomplishment of the performance itself. Primarily, the "incredible" one (as he was thereafter billed) made it acceptable to bring the churchy behemoth into sinful dens and, as a bonus for playing challenging bebop, was allowed to retain preaching privileges as well.

Richard "Groove Holmes deftly toes the line between serious jazz and soul/pop worlds on this 1965 recording, which seems targeted at a mainstream audience not in the mood for either teaching or preaching. The familiar songs are given a slight face-lift (Holmes' up-tempo treatment of Erroll Garner's "Misty" became a hit single), while a less familiar tune like Clifford Brown's "Dahoud" settles into such an easy, emphatic groove that even a first-time listener could mistake it for a comfortable old slipper.

It was a sweet strategy for Holmes at the time, though the session barely challenges the talented organist to show his wares. This remaster is likely to appeal above all to those who remember the original recording or to listeners in search of the soundscape that only a Hammond B3 plus Leslie speakers can create. The highlight is the opening blues, "Groove's Groove," an infectious two-beat toe-tapper that heats up into a walking 4/4 swinger, after which the session kind of simmers down.

On the opener Holmes demonstrates the many uses of a plain F7 chord, staying with those four notes for the better part of several choruses. It's a simple device—holding one note for an entire chorus, then adding the fifth, next the seventh, finally using the Leslie to disrupt the still surface with a wave pattern before returning the unwieldy vessel to the becalming decadence of swamp water.

The trick is to sense (and avoid) the tipping point at which repetition becomes boredom and sustained tension becomes irritation. Holmes plays not only his instrument but the average listener to perfection with ample assistance from the soiled, slightly distorted sound of Gene Edwards' gritty guitar, not to mention the organist's own potent, virile bass lines, which are given a big sonic boost on this latest remaster. Jimmie Smith (the drummer) completes the trio with remarkably restrained, tasteful and supportive accompaniment.

In short, Soul Message doesn't offer the kind of preaching that saves souls, but for listeners unmoved by smooth jazz, it provides a soul-soothing alternative.

Track Listing: Groove's Groove; Daahoud; Misty; Song For My Father; The Things We Did Last Summer; Soul Message.

Personnel: Richard "Groove" Holmes: organ; Gene Edwards: guitar; Jimmie Smith: drums.

Title: Soul Message | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Prestige Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Read more articles
Soul Message

Soul Message

Prestige Records
2006

buy
 

Giants Of The Organ...

Triloka Records
2005

buy
On Basie's Bandstand

On Basie's Bandstand

Prestige Records
2004

buy
 

Super Soul

King Records
2004

buy

Related Articles

Read Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances Album Reviews
Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances
By Dan McClenaghan
May 21, 2019
Read Crowded Heart Album Reviews
Crowded Heart
By Nicholas F. Mondello
May 21, 2019
Read That's a Computer Album Reviews
That's a Computer
By Jerome Wilson
May 21, 2019
Read All I Do Is Bleed Album Reviews
All I Do Is Bleed
By Paul Naser
May 21, 2019
Read LE10 18-05 Album Reviews
LE10 18-05
By Karl Ackermann
May 20, 2019
Read Remembering Miles Album Reviews
Remembering Miles
By Dan McClenaghan
May 20, 2019
Read Merry Peers Album Reviews
Merry Peers
By Bruce Lindsay
May 20, 2019