Born into a musical family in 1970, with a father who was crazy about bebop, there was little doubt where Christopher Hollyday
would be going in life. He began playing alto saxophone when he was nine. His older brother Richard played trumpet and they played together in the Boston area for two years, causing the New York Times
, to write: "At times they sounded as though Charlie Parker
and Dizzy Gillespie
had been reunited."
Aged just 18, Christopher Hollyday broke with his brother to headline a gig at New York's legendary Village Vanguard club. He was then featured soloist in Maynard Ferguson's "60th Birthday Big Band." After this he toured every country in Western Europe, Brazil, Canada, and the U.S. and made four recordings for RCA records with his own quartet.
Then he dropped out of the limelight. In 1993 he taught and studied composition and arranging at Berklee College of Music in Boston, before three years later moving to San Diego, California, where he completed a master's degree in jazz studies at San Diego State University. He went on to teach privately and perform in San Diego. This album is his first since moving to California.
His tone is tougher, his playing more mature . The album opens with Freddie Hubbard
's fast-paced modal piece "One Of Another Kind," Hollyday's empathy with Castellanos obvious right from the start. He says, "Gilbert and I have a connection. When we play we don't need to talk. That's why I named the album Telepathy
Hollyday says he chose to include Bud Powell
's "Hallucinations" because "it's got a kind of built-in arrangement and it's advanced compositionbluesy and pure bebop." He glides effortlessly through the changes, adding a quote from "Billie's Bounce," Charlie Parker's 1945 composition.
Matt Dennis' "Everything Happens To Me" is notable for pianist Joshua White's interplay with drummer Tyler Kreutel. White next expertly sets the scene for Vernon Duke's ballad "Autumn In New York," often part of Parker's repertoire. Hollyday says of White, "He helps me with my journey. We're always feeding off of each other and he takes me where I need to go in my solos." Bassist Rob Thorsen puts in some fine work on this one. Hollyday calls him "the ultimate pro" and says, "He makes everybody feel comfortable."
Castellanos' muted trumpet on "I've Got The World On A String" is followed by a sensitive solo from the leader, then more interplay between White and Kreutel. For the finale, Hollyday renews connections with the past on Parker's "Segment." No longer a boy wonder and all the better for it, this is a very welcome return.
One Of Another Kind; Hallucinations; Everything Happens To Me; Autumn In New York; I’ve Got The World On A String; Segment.
Christopher Hollyday: alto saxophone; Gilbert Castellanos: trumpet; Joshua White: piano; Rob Thorsen: bass; Tyler Kreutel: drums.