Show: With Blue Miracle and 8 Ohms Band on Friday at Gypsy Sally’s. Show starts at 8:30 p.m. 202-333-7700. gypsysallys.com. $12 in advance, $14 at the door.
With Bobby Thompson and Friends and Bryan Elijah Smith on March 19 at Iota Club & Cafe. Show starts at 9 p.m. iotaclubandcafe.com. $12.
A jazz saxophone solo is different from a roots-music sax solo, but it’s not that different. While a roots-music song will have simpler chord changes and a more regular rhythm, the central challenge is the same: Invent fresh variations on the melody and fill your tone with emotion. Ron Holloway has mastered both.
The Washington native has prospered in the jazz world: He was a member of Dizzy Gillespie’s final quintet, often played onstage with his mentor Sonny Rollins and released four solo albums on the jazz label Milestone. But Holloway, 62, has also been a featured soloist in such roots ensembles as Gil Scott-Heron’s Amnesia Express, the Warren Haynes Band, the Tedeschi Trucks Band and Little Feat.
Holloway can work both sides of the border because he knows when to focus on chord substitution and when to focus on R&B feeling. He leans in the latter direction when he leads the D.C.-based Ron Holloway Band, formed in 2014. Featuring two female singers and a blues-funk rhythm section, the septet establishes the basic elements of a song such as “God Make Me Funky” or “Hello Operator” before Holloway’s horn solo twists those ingredients into strange new shapes.