hollis - dec 3rd, 2011

Tenor saxophone phenom Hollis Gentry was born on this day in 1954. He was a charismatic performer who could light up your ears with beautiful cascading saccades of notes. When he died in 2006, I wrote this tribute:

troubled soul even tho music chose him
pulled him out of the massive pack & set up permanent residence in his lank
how it dominated exploding with an intensity could only be forged by pressure
beautiful passionate wild roller coaster rides of notes poured thru him as if effortlessly & drenched our astonished ears
yet he would not find contentment in the altitudes of spontaneous expression
as if he knew he must always refuse to release the edge keep it cloudy
but oh! sometimes the sun would break thru
& he would erupt with a self-possessed clarity a purposefulness a pure peaceful musicality to tell a tale must make even grown men cry
then I could look in his eyes & see he was free
& now he is finally & we are the losers no more trips to the outer limits no more firework displays
bitter tears
but at least he is finally
f r e e

I think of Hollis often, but especially today on his birthday. You can hear his spectacular improvisational skills as he joins me for a couple of solos on this Bob Marley song Turn Your Lights Down Low