Richard "Groove" Holmes: Misty





Soul Message (Fantasy 30014)

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Richard 'Groove' Holmes (organ),

Gene Edwards (guitar), Jimmie Smith (drums)


Composed by Erroll Garner


Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, August 3, 1965


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

Richard "Groove" Holmes's version of "Misty" is certainly sunnier than most renditions of the classic tune. Its infectious joyousness transcends its posh origins and changes them into a whiskey-soaked celebration of nightlife. The musicians go with the flow as the track increasingly sounds nothing like the chord chart after it gains full momentum. When the chart is referenced, though, it stands on its own despite the completely different interpretation. One reason this rendition stands out is that the surroundings were set long before it was recorded by Rudy Van Gelder, whose presence often lures musicians into higher forms of expression. Here, his precision helps distill the live essence of Holmes in a tidy yet muscular package. From a production standpoint, Holmes also generates some progressive sounds for the era on his instrument, best represented by a series of dual-fisted chords sustained for several measures and resulting in high-end sonic clashes that echo each other. The analog effect was created prior to the digital age, and, when considering that amplified electric guitar is played here with more punch than usual on a jazz recording from 1965, the approach can be considered an example of fusion in its infancy.

Reviewer: Marcus Singletary

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