Frank Holder

Frank Holder (born 1925) was born in Bridgetown, Guyana and sang as a child at church socials and also when he got the chance at dances organised in his spare time by his mechanic father. He volunteered for the Royal Air Force in 1944, which took him to Britain. A job offer from Leslie 'Jiver' Hutchinson allowed him to stay in the country after the war, and he toured with the band throughout the late 1940s. By now he had become interested in bebop and he was delighted when in 1950, John Dankworth asked him to join his celebrated Seven. Holder was a success with the band, performing on bongos and congas as well as singing. Shortly afterwards he was joined by a new female vocalist Cleo Laine, whom he helped settle in with some professional direction,  particularly with her scat singing. Holder stayed with Dankworth for seven years during which time the Seven became the John Dankworth Orchestra. From 1956, he began to work regularly on the variety circuit, which afforded more regular and often better paid work. In 1960, he joined Joe Harriott's celebrated Quintet, playing alongside the classic lineup of Shake Keane, Pat Smythe, Coleridge Goode and Phil Seamen. Since the 1970s, Holder concentrated on his career as a cabaret artiste, but in recent years he reunited with many early colleagues, performing at the Royal Albert Hall with the by now honoured Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine. Into his eighties, he remains one of the UK's finest jazz singers with a rich, warm tone and fluid improvisational skills. He has been performing for seven decades, and has produced many albums in his own name with musicians of the calibre of Geoff Castle, Duncan Lamont and Dave O'Higgins.


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Art of Song - Frank Holder


Recommended Recordings

With John Dankworth


stobart-saxploitationCarousel: The Music of Duncan Lamont (Mainstem 2003)

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BalladBluesBopBallads, Blues and Bop (Mainstem 2009)

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