James Wesley “Red” Holloway, (May 31, 1927 – February 25, 2012), jazz & blues saxophonist.

Red Holloway was born in Arkansas into a musical family. After moving with his family to Chicago, he played in his high school big band alongside such future stars as tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin and bass player Eugene Wright, (later a part of the famous Dave Brubeck Quartet). He later attended the Chicago Conservatory of Music and was a bandmaster in the U.S. Army.

Holloway’s large, warm-edged sound and fluent technique made him equally at home in jazz and the blues and he worked with some of the biggest names in each field, including Yusuf Lateef, Dexter Gordon, Lionel Hampton, Ben Webster, Lester Young, Sonny Rollins, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, B.B. King, Bobby Bland, Chuck Berry, and John Mayall. He is especially noted for backing up vocalists such as Jimmy Rushing, Joe Williams, Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, and a long association with Etta James, who preceded him in death by one month.

During the 1960’s, he was a member of organist Brother Jack McDuff’s group, alongside the upcoming guitarist George Benson. He later formed a lengthy duo with fellow saxophonist Sonny Stitt. Upon Stitt’s death, he was frequently a member of Clark Terry’s combos.

Holloway enjoyed almost 70 years as a performing musician before suffering a debilitating stroke. He died at the age of 84 from kidney failure in a California care facility.

Visit the official Red Holloway website here.

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