Charlie Holmes for Jazz Profiles

Sunday, April 16, 2017 - 2:00pm to 7:00pm

Tune in to Jazz Profiles, this Sunday, April 16 from 2:00-7:00 PM EST to celebrate the work of Charlie Holmes. In a series of astonishing recordings made over a span of just two years from January 1929 to December 1930, Charlie Holmes laid the fundamental groundwork for the role of the alto saxophone in Jazz. Holmes, along with his better-known contemporary and boyhood friend, Johnny Hodges, transformed the alto saxophone from a novelty instrument to a primary voice of Jazz expression, making the alto saxophone swing with a soothing tone to bridge the gap between “sweet” and “hot.” While Hodges was undertaking this revolution in Duke Ellington’s orchestra at the Cotton Club in Harlem, Holmes was only a few blocks away on Lenox Avenue at the Saratoga Club with Luis Russell’s orchestra transforming Jazz in ways just as adventurous and impactful. With the likes of Henry “Red” Allen on trumpet and J. C. Higginbotham on trombone, the Russell band was one of the finest in the land and the recordings made by the outfit—released on the Victor label under Luis Russell’s name, Henry Allen’s name, and even King Oliver’s name—capture some of the hottest and most breathtaking sounds to come out of Harlem in the years leading up to the Swing Era.