Jazz Institute of Chicago

Right Together; Redd Holt Sings; The Young Holts

Right Together; Redd Holt Sings; The Young Holts

Redd is the master drummer Chicago the world has loved for over 40 years. All jazz listeners are familiar with his work with Ramsey Lewis and Young/Holt Unlimited but need to pick-up on his independent Chicago releases.

The quintet release, Right Together, captures the spirit of a late night jam session in Chicago. The solid rhythm section of Redd with bassist Steve Reinfrank and bluesy pianist John Collins sets the stage for saxophonists Taku Akiyama on alto and Mark Tuttle on tenor. They tear through familiar tunes like "Tenor Madness," "In A Sentimental Mood," "Solar," "Triste" and "Autumn Leaves."

Tuttle mixes many of the great tenor styles, has a sound as big as a house and comes across as a mix of Gene Ammons and Coltrane. Akiyama is also a modernist with a sound and approach that borrows from Eric Dolphy. Redd swings like crazy throughout the session both supporting the soloists and pushing them further. Then in the heat of the alto/tenor battle Redd gets a little romantic and sings on "Autumn Leaves," a nice break from the intense edge of the session!

Redd Holt Sings is a fun trio session that joins Redd's drums with bassist Penny Pendelton and pianist Wallace Burton. The standards, "Bye Bye Blackbird," "Moody's Mood for Love," the blues and a reprise of "Autumn Leaves" are reviewed with great enthusiasm. Pianist Wallace Burton gives us beautiful piano solos that mix the blues with great be bop chops and Pendelton never plays a bad note. But the feature here is Redd's the vocalist, with a groovy trio—a movable little party that often spirits ups the clubs. The last track, Listen to the Drums, is Redd's anthem, just his drum set and vocals explaining the relationships between be bop and hip hop—a fitting end to a master drummer's session.

Redd is family man, too and his sons are following in the family business. The Young Holts is a work in progress with a two-tune demo of "Young and Holtful" (very reminiscent of "Soulful Strut") and the Latin tinged "College Avenue." Although synth and machine oriented, it appears that young Reggie Holt can find a future as a writer, composer and producer.—MV

Available on the Mae/Monti label. Contact Redd at 773-483-6248 or email reddholt@juno.com

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