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Album Review

Tenor saxophonist Ron Holloway's first album for Milestone as a leader, 1994's Slanted, sounds like the man is so busy paying tribute to his heroes that his own prodigious gifts are largely ignored. Holloway is a gifted player with a wide range of influences; his CV includes stints with both the revolutionary jazz poet Gil Scott-Heron and the garish funk-rock of Root Boy Slim & the Sex Change Band. (Yes, that's him honking away on "Boogie Til You Puke" and "Dare to Be Fat.") On Slanted, however, that wide range sounds at times more like a facile talent for mimicry. On the opening version of "Caravan," Holloway's solos seem to be saying, "Look how much I can sound like Paul Gonsalves," and his take on Sonny Rollins' "Pent-up House" sounds a little too close to the original for comfort. Comfortingly, the three originals are by far the strongest songs, with the cool title track, featuring some sterling vibes by Lennie Cuje, the best of the bunch. Holloway would outgrow his imitative stage by the time of his next album, but even with its flaws, Slanted is still worth checking out.


Born: August 24, 1953 in Washington DC

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

An excellent tenor saxophonist with an open mind who is best-known for his hard bop-oriented performances and recordings, Ron Holloway started playing music in the seventh grade. He worked in R&B and funk bands early on, and sat in with such players as Sonny Rollins, Freddie Hubbard, and Dizzy Gillespie. After playing with Gil Scott-Heron during 1981-1988, Holloway (sounding a bit like Stanley...
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Slanted, Ron Holloway
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