Down Beat - 3/02, p.733.5 stars out of 5
- "...A throwback to a period a half-century ago when the 2 tenors were just starting out....the 2 basically alternate lead-off solo roles...both are out of the big-sound school rooted in Coleman Hawkins with some Illinois Jacquet wailing tossed in for good measure..."
JazzTimes - 5/02, p.158
"...The under-recognized B-3 veteran Gene Ludwig gets a fine showcase here..."
Personnel: Red Holloway, Plas Johnson (tenor saxophone); Gene Ludwig (organ); Melvin Sparks (guitar); Kenny Washington (drums).
Recorded at Van Gelder Studios, Englwood Cliffs, New Jersey on April 24-25, 2001.
Personnel: Red Holloway (tenor saxophone); Melvin Sparks (guitar); Plas Johnson (tenor saxophone); Gene Ludwig (organ); Kenny Washington (drums).
Audio Mixer: Rudy Van Gelder.
Liner Note Author: Bill Milkowski.
Recording information: Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (04/24/2001/04/25/2001).
Editor: Rudy Van Gelder.
Photographer: John Abbott .
Plas Johnson's playing has a place on almost every American's mental hard drive, even if you don't know his name (he was the piccolo player on Bobby Day's "Rockin' Robin," the tenor sax on The Pink Panther and The Odd Couple themes, etc.). Red Holloway has a higher profile in the jazz world, but like Johnson, chose to confine himself mostly to Los Angeles. Together, in their seventies, they journeyed out to Rudy Van Gelder's studio in New Jersey to match wits on another Bob Porter-produced soul-jazz cooker, effortlessly suggesting tenor battles of the past. They are a most compatible duo, with Johnson displaying a slightly lighter, more overt rhythm & blues tinge, and their sure-footed note selection makes them a pleasure to hear. The battle royal reaches a peak on Arnett Cobb's fortuitously titled "Go Red Go," fading on one ecstatic, repeated, unison, A flat note. There are also solo ballad tracks for each player, where Holloway reaches deep down into warm, majestic Illinois Jacquet/Gene Ammons territory in "Serenade in Blue" and Johnson opens up his lower-register timbre on "Cry Me a River." The rhythm section virtually defines this idiom, with down-home veterans like guitarist Melvin Sparks (who offers killer obbligatos in "Pass the Gravy"), Hammond organist Gene Ludwig, and drummer Kenny Washington keeping the pot boiling. Also, the 24-bit sound that Van Gelder was getting in 2001 projects everything with an oomph and clarity that is astounding even for this master engineer. ~ Richard S. Ginell