Nov 4, 2012
"This is a delightful record, funny, quirky, personal jazz. Jeff's piano is informed by many styles and genres (as is his writing), hints of Gospel, Evans, Monk, Shorter, Latin and Herbie have all found a happy home in Jeff's brain, as have we the happy listeners." - Arturo O'Farrill
Scratch the surface of any veteran jazz musician’s persona and you’ll find many facets. To be a professional musician, he or she must usually find time to be a composer, arranger, accompanist, performer, educator, leader, sideman, and develop facility on multiple instruments. Jeff Holmes is one of those musicians – known to me primarily as trumpet player and arranger/performer with Big Bands; he also has a quieter side playing piano.
He has written for John Abercrombie, Ernie Watts, Max Roach, Chris Vadala, Doc Severinsen, Paul Winter, Sheila Jordan, Yusef Lateef, Rufus Reid, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Jack's Mannequin, and the Big Apple Circus, as well as numerous works for professional, military, collegiate, high school and junior high jazz, concert, and marching ensembles. You might have seen him holding down a chair in his own Big Band, or in bands led by Ed Palermo Earl McDonald or Rob Zappulla. And he just happens to be the Director of Jazz and African-American Music Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
Holmes will celebrate the release of his new CD Of One's Own (Miles High Records) in concert with his latest quartet - Holmes on piano, Adam Kolker on tenor and soprano sax and bass clarinet, James Cammack on acoustic and electric bass and Steve Johns on drums - on Monday, October 29 at the Iron Horse Music Hall, 20 Center Street, Northampton, MA. Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $15 in advance; $18 at the door. NOTE - THE PERFORMANCE WAS CANCELED DUE TO HURRICANE SANDY AND WILL BE RESCHEDULED SOON.
Holmes’ new CD is a wonderful collection of originals and covers, written in an inventive style and played by musicians who know how to make a tune be more than the usual. Holmes toys with tempos and key changes, and delivers flourishes of Latin or Gospel sounds that shed new light on these songs.
Click here to listen to Podcast 310, featuring my conversation with Jeff along with musical selections which include:
Jeff Holmes Quartet – “Macaroons” from Of One’s Own. Inspired by Keith Jarrett’s style of composition, this group effort kicks the CD off in style.
Jeff Holmes Quartet – “So Long, Farewell” from Of One’s Own. I’ve heard a lot of Rodgers and Hammerstein jazz covers, but not like this one. Holmes decided to re-imagine the tune to honor his friend and colleague Dr. Billy Taylor when he retired from working at the UMass Jazz in July program a short time before his death.
Ed Palermo Big Band – “Who Are the Brain Police?” from Plays Frank Zappa. Holmes spent two years living in New York while teaching at Hunter College, and got to play in a number of big bands, including this hard-charging group that paid tribute to the legendary Zappa.
New York Latin All-Stars – “Old Days” from Chicago ¡Exitos! Holmes wrote the horn charts and played trumpet and flugelhorn on this tribute to the seminal jazz-rock band. The lyrics are translated and sung in Spanish by Eddie Ganz and the music iarranged by Dave Samuels and Jon Van Eps.