Milt Holland

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Milt Holland
Birth name Milton Olshansky
Born (1917-02-07)February 7, 1917
Chicago, Illinois
United States
Died November 4, 2005(2005-11-04) (aged 88)
Los Angeles, California
United States
Genres Jazz
Occupations Musician
Instruments Drums

Milt Holland (February 7, 1917 – November 4, 2005) was an American drummer, percussionist, ethnic musicologist, and writer in the Los Angeles music scene. He pioneered the use of African, South American, and Indian percussion styles in jazz, pop and film music; traveling extensively on those continents to collect instruments and to learn the musical styles of playing them.


Holland was born Milton Olshansky in Chicago, Illinois, where he attended Theodore Roosevelt High School. His first instrument was violin. Milt pursued his passion for percussion, playing in clubs and shows as well as on CBS Radio in Chicago. At the age of twelve, he was playing speakeasys for the likes of Al Capone. In the early 1940s he toured and recorded with The Raymond Scott Orchestra.

He studied Tabla at UCLA and with Ramnad Easwaran. In India, Holland studied with Tabla master Chatur Lal beginning in 1963. He traveled through India extensively in the early 1960s and 1970s, then spent many years in Africa studying tribal rhythms. He was inspirational in introducing the exotic instruments to western recording.

After moving to Los Angeles, he played on countless jazz and pop albums, film and TV scores. A sampling of the artists he worked with includes Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Chaka Khan, John Williams, Leonard Bernstein, Elmer Bernstein, Quincy Jones, Nat King Cole, Henry Mancini, Loggins and Messina, James Taylor, Ella Fitzgerald, Laurindo Almeida, Ry Cooder and Joni Mitchell. He played Pandeiro and Triangle on Mitchell's hit Big Yellow Taxi and Congas and Percussion on Light My Fire with José Feliciano.

As part of the so-called "Wrecking Crew," Holland won countless gold and platinum records for his contributions. He was perhaps most proud of having helped desegregate the Los Angeles Musicians Union. Eventually, Holland became the first choice for exotic percussion among Los Angeles free-lance session musicians.

In films, Holland can be heard playing bongos on soundtracks for West Side Story, and timpani on Silent Running, to name only a tiny fraction of his output. He was featured along with seven illustrious percussionists on John Wayne's Hatari!, which included Shelly Manne, Jack Sperling, and Larry Bunker playing African instruments on The Sounds of Hatari and its title track. He is also heard on the soundtrack for the TV mini-series Roots, the nose tinkle on Bewitched, and Tinker Bell in the Disney cartoon Peter Pan.

Holland died in Los Angeles at the age of 88. He is survived by his wife Mildred Holland, his sons, Richard Holland and Robert Holland, his grandchildren, Damien and Chloe, and Richard's wife Seiko.[1]


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Nancy Sinatra

  • Cherry Smiles: The Rare Singles (2009)

With Joni Mitchell

  • Big Yellow Taxi (1970)
  • Ladies Of The Canyon (1970)
  • Court And Spark (1974)
  • Hits (1994)
  • Dreamland (2004)

With Frank Sinatra

  • "The Capitol Years"

With Ry Cooder

  • Ry Cooder (1970)
  • Into The Purple Valley (1971)
  • Boomer's Story (1972)
  • Paradise And Lunch (1974)
  • Chicken Skin Music (1976)
  • Bop Till You Drop (1979)
  • Get Rhythm (1987)

With Randy Newman

  • 12 Songs (1970)
  • Sail Away (1972)
  • Good Old Boys (1974)
  • Little Criminals (1977)
  • Guilty: 30 Years of Randy Newman

With James Taylor

  • Gorilla (1975)
  • In The Pocket (1976)
  • Greatest Hits (1976)

With Loggins & Messina

  • Loggins And Messina (1972)
  • Best of Friends (1976)
  • Sittin' In Again (2005)
  • Full Sail
  • Mother Lode

With Doobie Brothers

  • What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits (1974)
  • Long Train Runnin' (1973)

With Gregg Allman

  • Playin' Up a Storm (1977)

With Kenny Loggins

  • Keep The Fire (1979)

With Harry Nilsson

  • Aerial Ballet (1968)
  • Point! (1970)
  • Aerial Pandemonium Ballet (1971)
  • Son of Schmilsson

With Gabby Pahinui

  • Best Of The Gabby Band (1971–1979)

With Little Feat

  • Sailin' Shoes (1972)
  • Dixie Chicken (1973)

With Poco

  • The Best of Poco (2000)

With Bonnie Raitt

  • Takin' My Time (1973)
  • Bonnie Raitt Collection (1990)

With Rita Coolidge

  • Fall Into Spring (1974)

With Carly Simon

  • Another Passenger (1976)

With Joan Baez

  • Gracias A La Vida (1974)

With Joe Cocker

  • Joe Cocker (1969)
  • Best of Joe Cocker (2000)
  • Gold

With Elvin Bishop

  • Rock My Soul (1972)

With Captain Beefheart

  • Safe As Milk (1967)
  • The Spotlight Kid (1972)
  • Clear Spot (1972)

With Lalo Schifrin

  • Whole Lot Of Schifrin Goin' On (1968)

With Henry Mancini

  • The Latin Sound Of Henry Mancini (1965)
  • Mancini '67 (1966)
  • Mancini Salutes Sousa (1972)

With Burt Bacharach

  • Blue Note Plays Burt Bacharach (1968)

With Cal Tjader

  • Westside Story
  • Plays Contemporary Music Of Mexico And Brazil (1962)

With Laurindo Almeida

  • Ole! Bossa Nova (1962)
  • Brazil & Beyond (1981)
  • Brazilian Soul (1981)
  • Acapulco '22

With Buddy Childers

  • Sam Songs (1955)

With Oscar Peterson

  • Oscar Peterson and Friends (1952)

With Stan Kenton

  • Retrospective

With Percy Faith

  • Black Magic Woman (1971)

With Ray Conniff

  • Friendly Persuasion (1965)

With Ella Fitzgerald

  • Get Happy (1957)
  • Hello Love (1960)

With Jose Feliciano

  • Feliciano! (1968)
  • Souled (1968)

With Ringo Starr

  • Ringo (1973)

With Arlo Guthrie

  • Running Down the Road (1969)
  • Amigo (1976)

With Rufus with Chaka Khan

  • Ask Rufus (1977)

With Graham Central Station

  • Graham Central Station (1975)

With The Monkees

  • Instant Replay (1969)
  • The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees
  • Greatest Hits (1976)

With John Sebastian

  • Tarzana Kid

With Anita O'Day

  • Complete Signature & London Recordings (1942)
  • Anita Sings the Most (1957)

With Bing Crosby

  • Fancy Meeting You Here (1958)

With Rosemary Clooney

  • Come on-a My House
  • The Very Best of Rosemary Clooney (2006)

With Dean Martin

  • Young Dino

With Ray Peterson

  • 'Tell Laura I Love Her

With Bill Plummer

  • Cosmic Brotherhood (1968)

With Nancy Wilson

  • Today, Tomorrow, Forever (1964)

With Joni James

  • Like Three O'Clock In The Morning (1963)
  • After Hours (1963)

With Barbra Streisand

  • Stoney End (1974)

With Lalo Schifrin

With Phil Spector

  • Back To Mono (1958–1969)

With The 5th Dimension

  • Age of Aquarius (1969)
  • Individually & Collectively (1972)
  • Living Together Growing Together (1972)

With Paul Winter

  • Icarus (1972)

With Bill Thomson

  • Fantabulous (1957)

With Four Freshmen

  • Voices In Latin (1958)
  • The Freshman Year (1958)

With Richard Harris

  • Webb Sessions (1968)
  • The Yard Went On Forever... (1968)

With Jackie Gleason

  • The Now Sound For Today's Lovers

With Stanley Clarke

  • School Days (1976)

With Bud Shank / Clare Fischer / Joe Pass

  • Brasamba! (1963)

With Charlie Byrd

  • Best Of The Concord Years (2000)

With Pete Jolly

  • Seasons (2007)

With Herbie Mann

  • Sound Of Mann
  • Verve Jazz Masters 56 (1996)

With Van Dyke Parks

  • Discover America (1972)

With Victor Feldman

  • Secret Of The Andes (1982)

With Hoyt Axton

  • Less Than The Song (2007)
  • Life Machine (2007)

With Doug Dillard

  • Banjo Album (1969)

With Buddy DeFranco

  • I Hear Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw
  • Wholly Cats

With Bonaroo

  • Bonaroo (Wounded Bird)

With Melanie

  • Photograph (Double Exposure)

With Dirk Hamilton

  • You Can Sing on the Left or Bark on the Right

With Sanford & Townsend

  • Duo-Glide

With Seals & Crofts

  • Summer Breeze (1972)

With Various Artists

  • Samba do Avião
  • A Jazz Tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim



  1. ^ "Milt Holland Biography". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 

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