Adam Holzman

Jazz keyboardist Adam Holzman (b. February 15, 1958, in New York, NY) has had an interesting career trajectory. The son of Jac Holzman, the president of Elektra Records during its late-'60s heyday, Holzman learned keyboards at an early age, picking up the instrument when he was in the third grade. Since he was in the inner circle of Elektra, he was not only exposed to many of the era's trailblazers, but he was also able to see how they worked. He hung out at Doors rehearsals, met Love, and saw the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in their prime. Like many musicians of his era, he was also heavily influenced by the Beatles. He found himself attracted to the music of Butterfield and the Fab Four, which led him to explore a number of different artists from Leon Russell to Joe Cocker, eventually leading to keyboard-dominated prog-rockers Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Yes. Holzman's infatuation with prog-rock turned out to be the doorway to his passion for jazz-fusion and synthesizers. In a matter of time, ELP gave way to Chick Corea's groundbreaking Return to Forever and Herbie Hancock's innovative early-'70s work. By the early '80s, he was working at Goodman's Music, a respected instrument store in Los Angeles. At Goodman's, he became an expert in MIDI technology and synth programming, which led to regular studio gigs. Soon, he had attracted the attention of Miles Davis, who was interested in MIDI. He joined Davis' band in 1985. Holzman stayed with the legendary musician for four years, spending his final year -- from 1988 to 1989 -- as the musical director for the entire band. Following his tenure with Davis, he toured and recorded with a variety of artists, including Chaka Khan, Michel Petrucciani, Wayne Shorter, Kolvynator and Kenny Garrett. In the spring of 1997, he joined Grover Washington Jr.'s band. By the late '90s, he was also playing with FM Tribe and Francis M'Bappe in New York City. In addition to his role as a sideman, Holzman pursued many of his own projects. He led the Los Angeles-based jazz-rock group the Fents with guitarist Ted Hall; they released The Other Side on Passport Jazz in 1987. He also formed the prog-influenced Mona Lisa Overdrive, who released an eponymous album in 1993. In the '90s, he released several solo albums -- In a Loud Way (1991), Overdrive (1994) and Big Picture (1997) -- before forming the New York-based, funk-inflected group Brave New World, who were a recording entity in their own right, releasing Worldwind in the fall of 1998.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

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