Christopher Hollyday

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Christopher Hollyday is a jazz alto saxophonist.


Hollyday began playing the saxophone at the age of nine. [1] He grew up in a musical family, and his father listened to a lot of bebop. [1] He has an older brother, Richard; together, they had gigs locally in Worcester, Massachusetts in their teens. [2] He was strongly influenced by Charlie Parker. [2] He released albums on his own label, Jazzbeat – Treaty in 1985 and Oh, Brother! the following year. [1]


In 1988 Hollyday led a band at the Village Vanguard. [3] He was listed among the 'young lions' of jazz, including Roy Hargrove, Wynton Marsalis and Marcus Roberts, who were playing earlier styles of jazz and receiving a lot of media attention. [4] [5] Hollyday played in Maynard Ferguson's big band in 1989. [3] His first recording as leader was Christopher Hollyday in 1989, for RCA / Novus. [6] In the same year, he played in the UK. [7] For On Course, Hollyday wrote eight of the 10 tracks. [8]

His playing was praised for its technical facility, but criticized for its lack of expression. [9] [10] After four albums for RCA/Novus, Hollyday "was starting to develop his own voice when he was dropped from the label." [3]

Hollyday moved to San Diego in 1996, "and became the band director at Valley Center High School". [11] He shifted more to private tuition around 2013, which also gave him more time for his own playing again. [11] He released a new album, Telepathy, in 2018. [11]


An asterisk (*) after the year indicates that it is the year of release.

As leader

Year recordedTitleLabelNotes
1989*Christopher HollydayRCA / Novus Quintet, with Wallace Roney (trumpet), Cedar Walton (piano), David Williams (bass), Billy Higgins (drums)
1990* On Course RCA / Novus Quartet, with Larry Goldings (piano), John Lockwood (bass), Ron Savage (drums)
1991 The Natural Moment RCA / Novus Quartet, with Brad Mehldau (piano), John Webber (bass), Ron Savage (drums)
1992*And I'll Sing Once MoreRCA / Novus With Scott Robinson (tenor sax, baritone sax, flute, clarinet), Earl Gardner (trumpet, flugelhorn), John Mosca, Ed Neumeister (trombone), Douglas Purviance (bass trombone), John Clark (French horn), Mark Feldman (violin), Kenny Werner (piano), Scott Colley (bass), Ron Savage (drums), Janey Haddad (talking drum, caxixi, Indian bells, frame drum), Eric Charry (tanpura)
2018*TelepathyChristopher HollydayQuintet, with Gilbert Castellanos (trumpet), Joshua White (piano), Rob Thorsen (bass), Tyler Kreutel (drums) [11]

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  1. 1 2 3 Jarvey, Paul (June 21, 1990) "Hollyday Races onto Jazz Stage at Early Age". Telegram & Gazette. p. D1.
  2. 1 2 Landsdowne, Peter (April 5, 1991) "Christopher Hollyday Forging His Own Jazz Sound". Telegram & Gazette. p. A10.
  3. 1 2 3 Yanow, Scott "Christopher Hollyday". AllMusic. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  4. Turner, Douglas (June 1, 1993) "Music Notes: The Young Lions". American Visions 8.3. p. 44.
  5. Himes, Geoffrey (September 28, 1990) "Inventive Watson's Good-Humored Jazz". The Washington Post. p. 14.
  6. Crockett, Walter (April 2, 1991) "City Needs an OOPSter for the Arts". Telegram & Gazette. p. D4.
  7. Fordham, John (December 9, 1989) "Sheppard Sets the Night Alight". The Guardian. p. 21.
  8. "Christopher Hollyday: 'On Course'" (May 6, 1990). The Washington Post. p. G7.
  9. Pareles, Jon (July 29, 1990) "Two Young Saxophonists With a Taste for the 60's". The New York Times. p. 51.
  10. Watrous, Peter (July 18, 1988) "A Precocious Saxophonist". The New York Times. p. C15.
  11. 1 2 3 4 Varga, George (August 25, 2018). "Christopher Hollyday, a Jazz Star in His Teens, Is Back with First Album in 26 Years and a Friday Gig at Dizzy's". San Diego Union Tribune.