RED HOLLOWAY – HITTIN’ THE ROAD AGAIN
(JAM 014, 1982 - USA)
Red Holloway died February 25, 2012, one month after Etta James and Johnny Otis, with whom he had worked extensively. He was 84 and his discreet departure for the Great Cosmic Jam Session went almost unnoticed. Obituaries here.
On this rather obscure LP, his first set as a leader since the 1960s, Red Holloway is heard on tenor, alto and baritone, in addition to taking a good-natured blues vocal on "Sylvia Is Her Name." Holloway wrote five of the six songs, none of which caught on, and used L.A.-based musicians (keyboardist Dwight Dickerson, guitarist Shuggie Otis, bassist Richard Reid and either Gerryck King or Jimmy Smith on drums) for this likable but obscure straight-ahead outing, which has not yet been reissued on CD.
Side A starts with the dispensable “No Tears (Over You)” which verges dangerously towards smooth jazz although Red’s playing is quite enjoyable (I don't like the synthetic keyboard). “Sylvia is her name” is a typical West Coast blues shuffle enhanced by the presence of guitar-legend Shuggie Otis. The serious things start with track 3 (Russel Square) which is straight-ahead, no-nonsense jazz. It continues in the same vein with “Swiftly” on side B - showcasing Red's mastery of the baryton - followed by a beautiful ballad with Ben Websterian accents (Red Holloway was always excellent on slow, bluesy ballads) The record ends with the title track, a funky soul jazz track featuring Shuggie Otis again. I wish Shuggie had recorded more in that vein, he’s good at it. Overall, not a bad record, get it if you can find it. Found my copy in Brussels a couple of years ago for about 5 €. No point of paying ridiculous amount on “specialized” websites, just be patient.
Side 1: No Tears (Over You); Sylvia Is Her Name; Russel Square.
Side 2: Swifty (aka Stacos); Music For Making Love; Hittin' The Road Again.