The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Isaac "Redd" Holt

Share on Social Media

Information about Isaac "Redd" Holt

Profile image of Isaac "Redd" Holt

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Jazz Musician

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Soul Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
When You Don't Know And Don't Know That You Don't Know, You Don't Know.

Birthplace

Born:
5/16/1932
Birth Location:
Rosedale, Mississippi

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Jazz Musician

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Soul Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
When You Don't Know And Don't Know That You Don't Know, You Don't Know.

Birthplace

Born:
5/16/1932
Birth Location:
Rosedale
See how Isaac "Redd" Holt is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

World-class musician Isaac Redd Holt was born on May 16, 1932, in Rosedale, Mississippi. He attended public schools in Chicago and received advanced musical instruction at the Chicago School of Music in the early 1950s. Holt's interest in drums and percussion began as a child, and Holt bought his first drum set when he was a sophomore at Crane Technical High School. He graduated from high school in 1951 and attended the Cosmopolitan School of Music in Chicago. In the 1980s, Holt attended Kennedy-King College to study radio and television.

Between 1954 and 1966, Holt was part of the original Ramsey Lewis Trio, with which he created the hit singles "Hang on Sloopy" and "In Crowd." He was co-founder and leader of Young-Holt Unlimited from 1966 to 1974, with which he created another hit, "Soulful Strut," and the successful single, "Wack Wack," which was used in the movie Harriet the Spy and various other movies and commercials. Since 1974, he has been the leader and owner of Redd Holt Unlimited. He continues to wow audiences with his percussion and vocal skills, performing at jazz clubs, festivals, theaters and concerts around the world.

As a jazz educator, Holt has been active for many years in Urban Gateways, a nonprofit organization that provides multicultural performing, visual and literary arts programs for children, teachers and parents in the Chicago area. Holt acts as an arts ambassador to school children to help improve the quality of their education by exposing them to his music and engaging them in creating, appreciating, and reflecting on his art form.

From 1980 to 1985, Holt directed the Gumption Performing Artists Workshop for artists to enhance their talents. Holt has received various awards and honors including the Jazz Master Award from the Midwest Arts, a Lifetime Achievement Award from Indianapolis Radio Sounds of Jazz, and Grand Master of Time Award in 1997 from the Jazz Institute of Chicago and the DuSable Museum of African American History.

He married his childhood sweetheart, Marylean, in 1954. They have three children, Isaac Lamont, Ivan Damoune and Reginald Lamar.

See how Isaac "Redd" Holt is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Isaac "Redd" Holt's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Isaac "Redd" Holt lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes his maternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes his paternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Isaac "Redd" Holt talks about his grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Isaac "Redd" Holt talks about his maternal family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes his family's move to Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Isaac "Redd" Holt talks about his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Isaac "Redd" Holt shares memories of his hometown of Rosedale, Mississippi
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood in Rosedale, Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes his dislike of Chicago upon moving there
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes growing up in West Side Chicago
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes why he enrolled at Crane Technical High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes what inspired him to become a drummer
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Isaac "Redd" Holt remembers purchasing his first drum set
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes being on the Crane Technical High School basketball team and working through high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes his first drum set
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Isaac "Redd" Holt talks about the only time he played a Rogers drum set
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Isaac "Redd" Holt talks about the cyclical nature of life
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes forming his first band, the West Side Clefts, and meeting HistoryMakers Eldee Young and Ramsey Lewis
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes why the West Side Clefts broke up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes his experiences serving in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes the early days of the Ramsey Lewis Trio
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes how he and HistoryMakers Eldee Young and Ramsey Lewis were introduced to Leonard and Phil Chess
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes being managed by HistoryMaker Daddy-O Daylie
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes how the name "Ramsey Lewis Trio" came to be
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Isaac "Redd" Holt talks about the publishing companies he and HistoryMaker Eldee Young manage
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes how the Ramsey Lewis Trio built an audience
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Isaac "Redd" Holt talks about the Ramsey Lewis Trio's major hit, "The 'In' Crowd"
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes his entertainment philosophy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Isaac "Redd" Holt talks about the versatility of jazz music
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes the pressures and challenges commercially popular jazz musicians face
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes liking to perform in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes the benefit of collaboration and teamwork in the entertainment industry
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes the break-up of the "Ramsey Lewis Trio", pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes the break-up of the "Ramsey Lewis Trio", pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes how Young-Holt Unlimited was signed to Associate Booking Corporation by Joe Glaser
  • Tape: 3 Story: 15 - Isaac "Redd" Holt talks about his favorite places to perform in Washington, D.C. in the 1960s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Isaac "Redd" Holt talks about Abe Saperstein, Joe Glaser, and their networking with club owners across the country
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes why he and HistoryMaker Eldee Young sued HistoryMaker Ramsey Lewis
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Isaac "Redd" Holt talks about his passion for ministry
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes his talking tambourines solo
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes his drumming technique
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Isaac "Redd" Holt talks about his music being sampled without permission
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Isaac "Redd" Holt talks about the Gumption Performing Artists Workshop and the Urban Gateways Program
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes the Gumption Performing Artists Workshop
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Isaac "Redd" Holt talks about his sons, and musical innovation on Chicago's South Side
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes playing at Birdland in New York City, New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes playing the "Free Sounds of '63" package with HistoryMaker Oscar Brown, Jr., Floyd Morris, Cannonball Adderley, and others
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes playing a 1964 package with HistoryMakers Oscar Brown, Jr. and Nancy Wilson, Cannonball Adderley, and others in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Isaac "Redd" Holt gives advice to young musicians, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Isaac "Redd" Holt gives advice to young musicians, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Isaac "Redd" Holt talks about the power of recording live music
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Isaac "Redd" Holt talks about electronic music
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes how promotion shapes peoples' perceptions of music
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Isaac "Redd" Holt shares his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Isaac "Redd" Holt reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes how his mother supported him
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Isaac "Redd" Holt reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes his musical influences
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes the sound of the early Ramsey Lewis Trio
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Isaac "Redd" Holt talks about funk music
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes how he got the nickname "Redd"
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes his experiences as an artist for Chess Records
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Isaac "Redd" Holt talks about Leonard Chess
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes how the Ramsey Lewis Trio was able to record their album, "Down to Earth," for Mercury Records
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Isaac "Redd" Holt remembers eating at Bats Restaurant on Leonard Chess' tab
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Isaac "Redd" Holt talks about his sons' band, The Young-Holts, and their future projects
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes forming his bands Young-Holt Unlimited and Redd-Holt
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Isaac "Redd" Holt talks about his current projects and collaborations
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes the challenges of being a drummer in a band
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes performing with the Ramsey Lewis Trio
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Isaac "Redd" Holt describes his musical legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Isaac "Redd" Holt narrates his photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Isaac "Redd" Holt narrates his photographs, pt. 2