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Take Five with Bob Holz

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Meet Bob Holz

Bob studied at Berklee College of Music with Gary Chaffee andJoe Hunt. He went on to study privately with Billy Cobham. Bob has worked with John McLaughlin, Larry Coryell, Ralphe Armstrong, Mike Stern, Randy Brecker, Stanley Clarke, Darryl Jones, Jean-Luc Ponty, Dean Brown, Alex Acuña, Airto Moreira, Ric Fierabracci, Brandon Fields, Chet Catallo, Jamie Glaser, Steve Weingart, Ada Rovatti, Mike Miller, Ben Shepherd, Dian Moreira and Billy Steinway.

Instrument

Drums.

Teachers and/or influences?

Bob has studied privately with Billy Cobham, Dave Weckl, Joey Heredia, Kim Plainfield, Clayton Cameron, Wilby Fletcher Jr., Gary Chafee, Joe Hunt, Zack Danziger and Michael Lauren. He has been influenced by Tony Williams, Alphonse Mouzon, Billy Cobham, Dave Weckl, Buddy Rich, Steve Gadd, Elvin Jones, Art Blakey and Philly Joe Jones.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I saw The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. Like thousands of drummers, watching Ringo with the Beatles got me hooked on a career in music. Also seeing Mitch Mitchell with Jimi Hendrix in 1969 was a huge motivator for me.

Your sound and approach to music:

I like sweet sounding cymbals with complex overtones. I've endorsed Paiste cymbals since 2017. I use their 602 Modern Essentials line of cymbals. My drum sound is open and I tend to tune my toms a little higher than a rock player. I like the sound and response from a slightly higher tuning. I've endorsed Canopus drums for a long time and find that the sound of their birch shells gives me a very warm yet projecting and resonant sound. I approach music from a compositional standpoint. I try to create spontaneously and like to keep things fresh, adaptive and tasteful. I shy away from creating rigid parts and prefer to explore different ways to evoke different emotions from the music. I'm not a perfectionist and I think some of the coolest ideas result from borderline mistakes. As long as the groove is maintained, I want to be free to create new ideas that fit the tune.

Your teaching approach:

I like to cut to the chase and work towards quick improvement. I have a system to do that which works on the hands, independence, reading and playing along with recordings. I believe a student should spend time listening to the greats of the past regardless of what direction they are going in. I also look at the mechanics of how a student plays and focus on playing relaxed yet with tremendous power if needed.

Your dream band:

A quartet comprised of drums, sax, keys, guitar and bass is my go to lineup.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:

Playing at Blues Alley in Washington, DC with the Larry Coryell Trio was great. The trio format allows everyone to be spontaneous and creative. Every note counts!

Favorite venue:

Catalina Bar and Grill in Los Angeles has been a home base for me as I've headlined there numerous times in the past.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

Billy Cobham, Crosswinds. All around a great album !

The first Jazz album I bought was:

Inner Mounting Flame by Mahavishnu Orchestra.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

Music that doesn't compromise and is challenging yet is accessible to the average listener.

Did you know...

I have a cool black cat named Mickey.

Music you are listening to now:

Tower of Power, James Brown, Herbie Hancock (Thrust and Manchild), Buddy Rich, Freddie King and Jimi Hendrix.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

There are lots of great players coming up who are committed to creating great jazz. I think the future looks bright and the art form will continue to evolve. It's up to the public to check it out and support jazz.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

Parents and teachers should expose children to the music. The industry should foster and develop new artists. Live venues should book jazz artists.

What is in the near future?

I have a new album coming out in 2023. I just released a new single and a drum video.

What's your greatest fear when you perform?

At this point I don't get scared on stage anymore. It's a team effort. We are all part of the musical family.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Maybe "Let The Good Time Roll." I would like folks to be happy at that one. Hopefully way down the road because I have lots still to accomplish, God willing.

What is your favorite song to whistle or sing in the shower?

"Who Knows" by Jimi Hendrix.

By Day:

I have been involved in solar energy.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

No sure. Nothing comes close to being a musician,

If I could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be and why?

Billy Cobham. He's been a huge influence since I was 13.

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