Red Holloway

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Red Holloway
Holloway performing in 2008
Holloway performing in 2008
Background information
Birth nameJames Wesley Holloway
Born(1927-05-31)May 31, 1927
Helena, Arkansas, U.S.
DiedFebruary 25, 2012(2012-02-25) (aged 84)
Morro Bay, California, U.S.
GenresJazz, bebop, hard bop
Instrument(s)Tenor saxophone, alto saxophone

James Wesley "Red" Holloway (May 31, 1927 – February 25, 2012)[1] was an American jazz saxophonist.


Born in Helena, Arkansas,[2] Holloway started playing banjo and harmonica, switching to tenor saxophone when he was 12 years old. He graduated from DuSable High School in Chicago,[3] where he had played in the school big band with Johnny Griffin and Eugene Wright, and went on to attend the city's Conservatory of Music.[4] He joined the Army when he was 19 and became bandmaster for the U.S. Fifth Army Band, and after completing his military service returned to Chicago and played with Yusef Lateef and Dexter Gordon, among others.[4] In 1948, he joined blues vocalist Roosevelt Sykes,[4] and later played with other rhythm & blues musicians such as Willie Dixon, Junior Parker, and Lloyd Price.

In the 1950s, he played in the Chicago area with Billie Holiday, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Ben Webster, Jimmy Rushing, Arthur Prysock, Dakota Staton, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Wardell Gray, Sonny Rollins, Red Rodney, Lester Young, Joe Williams, Redd Foxx, The Moonglows, B.B. King, Bobby Bland, and Aretha Franklin.[4] During this period, he also toured with Sonny Stitt, Memphis Slim and Lionel Hampton. He became a member of the house band for Chance Records in 1952. He subsequently appeared on many recording sessions for the Chicago-based independents Parrot, United and States, and Vee-Jay.[5]

From 1963 to 1966, he was in organist "Brother" Jack McDuff's band,[4] which also featured guitarist George Benson, who was then at the start of his career. In 1974, Holloway recorded The Latest Edition with John Mayall and toured Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. From 1977 to 1982, Holloway worked with Sonny Stitt, recording two albums together, and following Stitt's death, Holloway played and recorded with Clark Terry.[4]

Red Holloway died in Morro Bay, California,[2][6] aged 84 of a stroke and kidney failure[7] on February 25, 2012, one month after Etta James, with whom he had worked extensively.[8] He was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles.


As leader/co-leader[edit]


  • The Best of Red Holloway & The Soul Organ Giants with Brother Jack McDuff & Lonnie Smith (Prestige, 1970) also with Big John Patton; contains two tracks from each album: The Burner (with Patton), Cookin' Together (with McDuff), Red Soul (with Smith).
  • Legends of Acid Jazz: Red Holloway (Prestige, 1998) (compilation of The Burner + Red Soul)

As sideman[edit]

With Gene Ammons

With George Benson

With Freddy Cole

  • Live at Birdland West (LaserLight, 1992) with Jerry Byrd

With Joe Dukes

  • The Soulful Drums of Joe Dukes (Prestige, 1964) with Jack McDuff, George Benson

With Atle Hammer

  • Arizona Blues (Gemini Records, 1989)

With Etta James

With Etta James and Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson

  • Blues in the Night Volume One: The Early Show (Fantasy, 1986) with Jack McDuff, Shuggie Otis
  • The Late Show: Blues In The Night Volume 2 (Fantasy, 1987) with Jack McDuff, Shuggie Otis

With Junior Mance

  • The Floating Jazz Festival Trio [live] (Chiaroscuro, 1997, [rel. 1999]) with Henry Johnson

With Wade Marcus

With John Mayall

With Jack McDuff

With Jimmy McGriff

With Carmen McRae

With Knut Riisnæs

  • Confessin' the Blues (Gemini Records, 1989 [rel. 1991])
  • The Gemini Twins (Gemini Records, 1992)

With Horace Silver

With Clark Terry

  • Squeeze Me! (Chiaroscuro, 1989 [rel. 1991])
  • Top and Bottom: Live at the 1995 Floating Jazz Festival (Chiaroscuro, 1997)

With Joe Williams

  • Nothin' but the Blues (Delos, 1983) -with Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Jack McDuff, Phil Upchurch


  1. ^ Peter Vacher, "Red Holloway obituary", The Guardian, February 29, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Daniel E. Slotnik, "Red Holloway, Swinger of the Sax, Dies at 84", The New York Times, February 28, 2012.
  3. ^ "Red Holloway" (obituary), The Daily Telegraph, February 28, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 612. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  5. ^ The Al Smith Discography Part I. Accessed August 24, 2009
  6. ^ Heckman, Don (February 27, 2012). "Highly regarded L.A. tenor, alto saxophonist played with A-list stars". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  7. ^ Scott Yanow, Artist Biography, Allmusic.
  8. ^ Jeff Tamarkin, "Saxophonist Red Holloway Dead at 84" Archived March 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, Jazz Times, February 25, 2012.

External links[edit]