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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove

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Go Red Go!

Delmark DE 585



1. Love Walked In
2. I Like It Funky
3. Go Red Go
4. Deep Purple
5. St. Thomas
6. Stardust
7. Bags' Groove
8. Wave
9. Keep Your Hands Off Her
Red Holloway - Tenor sax, alto sax, vocals
Chris Foreman - Hammond B3 organ
Henry Johnson - Guitar (tracks 1, 3-8)
George Freeman - Guitar (tracks 2, 9)
Greg Rockingham - Drums

In July 2008, 81-year-old saxophonist Red Holloway returned to Chicago (where he grew up) for this recording session. Holloway has always straddled the worlds of blues and jazz. He played for blues performers like Roosevelt Sykes, B. B. King and Muddy Waters early in his career but he learnt most from jazzmen Ben Webster and Sonny Stitt when he played with them.

Like Webster, Holloway has a big, deep tone which is a joy to hear. Sample its fullness in Red's measured interpretation of Deep Purple. This also illustrates his ability to play with poetic romanticism, as he does on Stardust, although on both tunes he can't resist going into double-time. It is rather surprising to find Holloway playing Antonio Carlos Jobim's Wave (especially as he quotes Fascinating Rhythm in the midst of his solo!), but his lyrical treatment of the tune may remind you of Ben Webster's facility at rhapsodising. Even though one may not associate Red with ballads like this, these three items are the most rewarding tracks on the album.

For much of the time Red blows powerfully on funky numbers. The title-track is a good example: an up-tempo swinger on which Red's gusty playing belies his years. And he enters joyfully into the carnival spirit of St. Thomas.

The session gains in power from the presence of organist Chris Foreman and the suitably-named drummer Greg Rockingham, both of the Deep Blue Organ Trio (which I have praised on this site before). The organist's pedals supply a driving bass line. And his keyboard work is admirably clear - avoiding the muddiness that besets some organ-players. The two guitarists add some fine, translucent solos. Henry Johnson's solo on Bags' Groove is particularly commendable.

The album ends with Keep Your Hands Off Her, taking Holloway back to his blues roots with a song by Roosevelt Sykes. Red sings as well as playing tenor sax in rhythm-and-blues style.

Tony Augarde

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