Red Holloway Day

May 31, 1927 – February 25, 2012

Now’s the Time

Tenor saxophonist James Wesley “Red” Holloway was born on May 31, 1927, in Helena, Arkansas.

His family moved to Chicago when he was 5, and after lessons on the piano, he took up the tenor saxophone at 12.

Holloway is one of a long line of distinguished musicians who received transformative training at DuSable High School from Walter Dyett. His bandmates included Johnny Griffin and Eugene Wright.

James Holloway played banjo and harmonica in his youth before settling on the tenor saxophone as his principal instrument.

An extremely versatile musician, “Red,” as he was known, played in Gene Wright’s band from 1943 to 1946.

He attended the Chicago Conservatory of Music, and in 1948, he worked with blues singer Roosevelt Sykes.

Holloway formed a quartet in 1952 while continuing to work with blues and R&B artists, at times doubling on the alto sax.

In 1963, he achieved fame while on tour with “Brother” Jack McDuff.

A bop player at heart, Red performed and recorded with Sonny Stitt and later Clark Terry to great acclaim.

Red Holloway was one of the few players to go toe to toe and tie with Sonny Stitt in a saxophone battle.