Redd Holt & Sons | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Redd Holt & Sons 

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Redd Holt & Sons

Having never heard Redd Holt's offspring, I'll take a chance on this free show anyway--if only because Holt himself has sounded so grand whenever he's appeared in recent months. Having earned his fame as a member of the Ramsey Lewis Trio in the 1950s, Holt later went on to enjoy some success with his bass-playing partner in that trio, Eldee Young. After that, he popped up less frequently on the club scene, spending much of his time in educational and outreach projects. But he hasn't lost the distinctive charge he imparts to the least complicated pulse; in fact, judging from recent performances, he seems to have actually sharpened his strokes and turned up the voltage. Holt plays a real Chicago beat--part south-side jazz, part west-side blues--filtered through New Orleans. He comes from an era when people still had fun with cymbals, and a simple snare-drum accent hasn't sounded this good since Art Blakey. And right now, nobody else in Chicago has as good a feel for the middle ground between jazz and funk. Like his former employer Lewis, Redd Holt has sired enough musical sons to form a band; for this performance Isaac Lamont will play piano, Reggie Lamar will play bass, and Ivan Damoune will also play drums. In fact, at one point in the show, all four Holts will play drums. The only revelations come when you realize that Holt isn't doing anything new; but he's treating the old with such precision and unjaded glee you can't hold it against him. Saturday, 2 PM, theater, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; 312-744-6630.

NEIL TESSER

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Redd Holt photo.

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