Monday, December 2, 2013

Faces of the Artists Quarter - 2

Billy "The Legend" Holloman (2006)

© Andrea Canter

I only saw the Tuesday Night Band a couple times in their original configuration on what was dubbed B-3 Organ Night. It was on Tuesday, of course, every Tuesday, starting out at the Artists Quarter digs on Jackson Street and continuing on 7th Place through its fifteenth year. Original organist Billy Holloman, aka "The Legend," was the star of and the soulful force behind B-3 Organ Night.

Billy was introduced to the organ by cousin Bobby Lyle, who introduced him to AQ owner Kenny Horst. Horst put Holloman to work, with Tuesday Night organ gigs getting underway in the mid-90s. Hoping to lure a bigger and younger crowd, Kenny got the idea to offer free food, with Billy cooking a pot of greens and Kenny and the bartender whipping up some wings and spicy chow mein. The free food started bringing in the college students, who liked what they heard and stuck around. By the time the AQ moved to its current home in the Hamm Building, the free food was long gone but Tuesday’s B-3 Organ Nights were still going strong.

When St. Paul bars were allowed to extend their closing hours until 2 a.m., the AQ was one of the first places to exercise that right, and for a long time was the late-night hang for the Twin Cities. Billy left for Philadelphia about seven years ago, and the Tuesday Night Band continued with “Downtown” Bill Brown filling the organ chair until the band ended its weekly run in early 2012. Billy Holloman returned in April 2013 for a much anticipated reunion.

(Much of this text taken from posting on Jazz Police)