Jazz CD Reviews
Richard Groove Holmes – Soul Message – Prestige RVG
Published on January 8, 2007
(Richard Groove Holmes, Hammond B-3 organ; Gene Edwards, guitar; Jimmie Smith, drums)
Richard Groove Holmes was the first Hammond B-3 player to both break out equally on the East and West Coasts. Holmes recorded for Richard Bock’s Pacific Jazz label in the early 1960s, recording classic sessions in LA with Ben Webster and Gene Ammons. Though a native of the New Jersey/Philadelphia area, Holmes chose to begin his recording career out West.
His breakout album, though, was Soul Message recorded back in Jersey at the incomparable studios of Rudy Van Gelder. Soul Message provided the major crossover hit of Misty, as well as the first cover version of Horace Silver’s classic, Song for My Father. The CD opens with the Holmes theme, Groove’s Groove, which can be found on at least three or four other Holmes’ issues, but done first here and getting the session off to a relaxing toe tapping start. Holmes then tackles Clifford Brown’s Daahoud, done in a different key signature. Errol Garner’s timeless Misty is given a more upbeat reading than Garner’s version. It caught on in a big way launching big sales for the original issue of this album. Horace Silver’s Song for My Father is given a Latin treatment and Gene Edwards on electric guitar takes center stage.
The one true ballad on Soul Message is the gorgeous 1946 penned The Things We Did Last Summer, and Homes brings out the sweet sentiment of this tune. Concluding this CD is the title track done gospel style. Groove’s Soul Message may be the one essential Holmes CD to own. The clarity of Van Gelder’s 24-bit remastering may put an exclamation point to that opinion!
Tracklist: Groove’s Groove, Daahoud, Misty, Song for My Father, Things We Did last Summer, Soul Message
– Jeff Krow