Born near Cleveland, Ohio, Holly began playing jazz standards with her father, a jazz guitarist. Her formal education included studying with Maurice Sharp, principal flutist of the Cleveland Orchestra and earning B.M. from Cleveland Institute of Music and M.M. from University of Northern Colorado. She moved from Colorado to San Diego in the late 80s and began playing with pianist Mike Wofford, and bassist Bob Magnusson. She recorded her first CD with them in 1989. It was during this time in the early nineties she booked a four night national jazz program in San Diego’s Horton Grand Hotel. At this time, Holly began touring with pianist Bill Cunliffe. The two toured festivals and chamber venues worldwide, presenting both jazz and classical compositions in brilliantly seamless arrangements. They recorded Just Duet, Vol. 1 and 2 and Live at Birdland in a quartet with legendary bassist Ray Brown and drummer Victor Lewis.