Richard Holmes (organist)

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"Groove Holmes" redirects here. For the song by the Beastie Boys, see Check Your Head.

Richard Arnold "Groove" Holmes (Camden, New Jersey, May 2, 1931 – St. Louis, Missouri, June 29, 1991) was an American jazz organist who performed in the hard bop and soul jazz genre. He is best known for his 1965 recording of "Misty",[1] and is considered a precursor of acid jazz.[citation needed]

Holmes' first album, on Pacific Jazz with guest Ben Webster, was recorded in March 1961.

Jimmy Witherspoon sings the Blues Society SOC968 1964

His sound was immediately recognizable in the upper register, but even more so because of his virtuosity in creating, undoubtedly, the most rapid, punctuating, and pulsating basslines of all the jazz organists.[citation needed]

Though he died at the age of 60, he established a recognition within the community of jazz organ giants of Jimmy Smith (The Sermon!), Brother Jack McDuff (A Real Good 'Un), Jimmy McGriff (I've Got a Woman).

He recorded many albums for Pacific Jazz, Prestige Records, Groove Merchant and Muse Records, many of which featured Houston Person.[1]

Holmes died after a long struggle with prostate cancer, having performed his last concerts in a wheelchair. One of his last gigs was at the 1991 Chicago Blues Festival with his longtime friend, singer Jimmy Witherspoon. A year after his death, the Beastie Boys honoured Holmes by adding an organ-based instrumental track, "Groove Holmes" to their album Check Your Head.


As leader[edit]

  • "Groove" (Pacific Jazz, 1961) - with Les McCann and Ben Webster (also released as That Healin' Feelin')
  • After Hours (Pacific Jazz, 1961)
  • Groovin' with Jug (Pacific Jazz, 1961) - with Gene Ammons
  • Tell It Like It Tis (Pacific Jazz, 1961) - with Les McCann
  • Somethin' Special (Pacific Jazz, 1962) - with Les McCann
  • Book of the Blues Vol. 1 (Warner Bros., 1964)
  • A Bowl of Soul (Loma, 1966 [1967])
  • Soul Message (Prestige, 1965)
  • Living Soul (Prestige, 1966)
  • On Basie's Bandstand (Prestige, 1966 [2000])
  • Soul Mist! (Prestige, 1966 [1970])
  • Misty (Prestige, 1965–66)
  • Spicy! (Prestige, 1966)
  • Super Soul (Prestige, 1967)
  • Get Up & Get It! (Prestige, 1967)
  • Soul Power! (Prestige, 1967)
  • The Groover! (Prestige, 1968)
  • That Healin' Feelin' (Prestige, 1968)
  • Welcome Home (World Pacific Jazz, 1969)
  • Workin' on a Groovy Thing (World Pacific Jazz, 1969)
  • Come Together (World Pacific Jazz, 1970) - with Ernie Watts
  • X-77 Recorded Live at the Lighthouse (World Pacific Jazz, 1970)
  • Comin' on Home (Blue Note, 1971)
  • American Pie (Groove Merchant, 1972)
  • Night Glider (Groove Merchant, 1973)
  • New Groove (Groove Merchant, 1974)
  • Giants Of The Organ Come Together (Groove Merchant, 1974) - with Jimmy McGriff
  • Giants Of The Organ In Concert (Groove Merchant, 1974) - with Jimmy McGriff
  • Onsaya Joy (Flying Dutchman, 1974)
  • Six Million Dollar man (Flying Dutchman, 1975)
  • I'm in the Mood for Love (Flying Dutchman, 1976)
  • Shippin' Out (Muse, 1977)
  • Star Wars/Close Encounters (Versatile, 1977)
  • Dancing In The Sun (Versatile, 1977)
  • Good Vibrations (Muse, 1977 [1980])
  • Broadway (Muse, 1980)
  • Swedish Lullaby (Sison, 1984)
  • Blues All Day Long (Muse, 1988)
  • Hot Tat (Muse, 1989)


  • The Best of Richard "Groove" Holmes (1972) (Prestige)
  • Groovin' and Spoonin' with Jimmy Witherspoon (1973) (Olympic Records)
  • Hunk-A-Funk (1975) (Groove Merchant) (Night Glider+New Groove)
  • Supa Cookin' (1975) (Groove Merchant) (Giants Of The Organx2) (with Jimmy McGriff)
  • Blue Groove (1994) (Prestige) (Soul Mist!+Get Up & Get It!)
  • After Hours (1996) (Pacific Jazz) (Compilation of After Hours+Tell It Like It Is)
  • Legends of Acid Jazz (1997) (Prestige) (The Groover+That Healin' Feelin')
  • Groove's Groove (1998) (32 Jazz) (Compilation of Muse Years)
  • The Best Of The Pacific Jazz Years (2001) (Pacific Jazz)
  • Groovin' With Groove (2003) (LRC) (Groove Merchant Years)
  • Timeless (2003) (Savoy Jazz)

As sideman[edit]

With Willis Jackson

  • Ya Understand Me? (Muse, 1980)

With Eric Kloss

With Les McCann

With Gerald Wilson


External links[edit]