Richard "Groove" Holmes

One of the top jazz organists to emerge on the scene after Jimmy Smith’s initial success, Richard "Groove” Holmes (1931-1991) recorded a series of soul jazz sets for Prestige that helped set the direction for that label in the late 1960s.

Holmes worked in small clubs in the Pittsburgh and New Jersey area until he was discovered by Les McCann in 1960. After recording several sets for Pacific Jazz, he was signed to Prestige in 1965 and immediately had a jukebox hit with a catchy double-time version of "Misty.”

Groove Holmes recorded regularly for Prestige during 1965-1968. Soul Message includes "Misty” along with other medium-tempo ballads, soulful originals, and tunes with boogaloo rhythms. Misty repeats the hit and features some other catchy arrangements of standards. Blue Groove reissues two former LPs (Get Up & Get It and Soul Mist) and features such notable sidemen as tenor saxophonist Teddy Edwards, trumpeter Blue Mitchell, and guitarist Pat Martino. Groove Holmes’s final Prestige albums, The Groover and That Healin’ Feelin’, are reissued in full on his Legends of Acid Jazz. Saxophonist Rusty Bryant is a strong asset on the latter set.

Like many other organists in the mid-1970s, Holmes experimented a bit with electric keyboards. But he soon realized that his musical personality was really to be found on the organ so he switched back, staying active as one of the top organists on the soul-jazz scene until his death in 1991.