Richard "Groove" Holmes Biography

Richard Arnold Holmes, 2 May 1931, Camden, New Jersey, USA, d. 29 June 1991, St. Louis, Missouri, USA. A self-taught organist, early in his career Holmes worked along the east coast. A 1961 recording session with Les McCann and Ben Webster resulted in widespread interest in his work. He toured and recorded throughout the 60s, achieving widespread acceptance among mainstream and post-bop jazz audiences. Customarily working in a small group format, Holmes developed a solid working relationship with Gene Ammons, and their playing exemplified the soul-heavy, organ-tenor pairings that proliferated in the early and mid-60s. Displaying his wide-ranging interests, Holmes also played with big bands including that led by Gerald Wilson, with whom he made a fine album, and recorded with singer Dakota Staton. His powerful playing style, with its thrusting swing and booming bass notes lent itself to soul music but his playing had much more than this to offer. Later in his career Holmes’ appeal to crossover audiences sometimes led to the unjustified indifference of many jazz fans. He understood the power of a simple riff and like Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff he had soul.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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