Bob Holz, “Jammin’ Man,” from Visions: Coast to Coast Connection
Bob Holz is a veteran drummer with a broad reach across styles. Early training at the Berklee College of Music — where he apprenticed with fusion stalwart Dave Weckl and jazz icon Billy Cobham — provided a strong jazz foundation, and in the ensuing years, he has accompanied luminaries of the genre such as David Fathead Newman, Randy Brecker and Larry Coryell. But he also maintains a fastidious life as a drummer for crossover artists, playing for such heavy hitters as Robben Ford, Peter Tosh, Shemkiaa Copeland, Dr. John, Three Dog Night, Blue Oyster Cult and George Clinton/ Parliament Funkadelic. Fittingly, Holz’s latest album, Visions: Coast to Coast Connection, promotes a message of musical bridge-building and inclusion. Not only does it draw from various styles — ranging from fusion to blues to rock to reggae — but it also employs a crack team of musicians from across the United States, including Brecker and former Mahavishnu Orchestra bassist Ralphe Armstrong. (There’s some international star power as well, courtesy of Italian saxophonist Ada Rovatti and Austrian guitarist Alex Machacek.) And on the reggae-fusion track “Jammin’ Man,” the band is augmented by bassist Stanley Clarke, whose solo intertwines whip-cracking slap-bass with fluid single-note runs in the upper register. Beneath all that, Holz’s precision hi-hat revs along like a well-calibrated engine.