EER-Music is sad to report this artist has passed away.
His legend lives on. He died 15 April 2017 (aged 70) in Vista, California, US
EER-MUSIC.com WAS PROUD TO BE A
SPONSOR OF ALLAN HOLDSWORTH'S
PREMIERE WEBCAST CONCERT.
And now on to the reviews . . .
Honestly, this is a great sampling of Allan's muse-driven soul over the decades, his compositional music the channel, his technical finesse the clarity without compare. It is hard to not say this "Best of" release is great because as a long-time fan of Allan, after hearing him stretch on U.K.'s first release and then his slaying me with his Bruford work -- well, every solo outing was just another fusion guitar oasis in the desert of corporate pop rock ennui. This collection offers that long-awaited Japanese version of "Tokyo Dreams" and then two more unreleased tunes -- and Allan's treatment of "Shenandoah" is exquisite, deep soul travel material there -- wow! This will be a great way for many to re-discover a well-kept secret -- the enigma, Allan Holdsworth. Recommended! ~ John W. Patterson, Editor of EER-MUSIC.com Listen to samples & Buy CDs/DVDs here
Allan Holdworth Group: THEN! CD;(55:35) 2003 Alternity Records Release #0301 www.alternityrecords.com email@example.com Holdsworth's THEN! on the Alternity label is playing now and I must say this is definite must-have!! Just to hear Zones I, II and III is worth the buy as these compositions are totally live improv and boy do these cats let it rip. The other 6 tracks smoke too -- sheesh, and they sound this superb live!! -- oh how this makes me want to nail my guitar case shut and pack it away for another decade! I am very thankful folks like Chris Hoard doggedly persisted in getting the perfectionist AH to finally let this THEN! be released. It amazes that just because something like the guitar voicing might not perfectly suit AH, something as superb as THEN! might not have ever been released. AH, please listen up man! You are too darn good technique, performance, and composition-wise to keep gems like this from your fans just because you may not be 100% happy with a voicing technicality. Heck, AH, you could play on a used Fender Squire Tex-Mex Tele through a Montgomery Ward's Airline Amp and a Radio Shack cord and you would tear it up. We love ya man!! Let more of these "hidden away" "not-so-perfect" archival releases come to light. My picky & jaded reviewer ears say you did a superb job in final edits, mastering, etc, etc and THEN! is superb!!!! You are the fusion man AH! Also, of course the rest of the band was awesome, awesome, awesome. I really enjoyed hearing Steve Hunt use AH's SynthAxe patches via the keys -- very nice effect! Johnson and Husband equal bliss beats in perfection and grace. Chris Hoard and Derek Wilson, thanks again for offering us this! I know this took years of work to nudge AH into seeing it as a worthwhile release. Do tell, Allan -- this sucker kicks! Do it again! ~ John W. Patterson, EER-MUSIC.com, "where fusion has found a home"
Personnel: Allan Holdsworth - electric and baritone electric guitars Jimmy Johnson - bass guitar Steve Hunt - keyboards and synthesizer Gary Husband - drums Track List: 1. Zone I 2. Proto-Cosmos 3. White Line (instrumental version) 4. Atavachron 5. Zone II 6. Pud Wud 7. House of Mirrors 8. Non-Brewed Condiment 9. Zone III THEN! recorded live in Tokyo, May 4-6, 1990
Allan Holdsworth: FLATTire: Music For a Non-Existent Movie (CD, 47:35); Megazoidal Records, 2001 In order to adequately understand this review, I will try and very briefly explain what a SynthAxe is and does. Back in the 80's this instrument was invented. It looked like something that fell out of a UFO. It was guitar-like with sets of strings, and other onboard controls that allowed the triggering/ (playing) of synthesizers. What was unique was that guitarists could therefore play a synthesizer without needing a great amount of keyboards expertise. The SynthAxe was the interface that interpreted very uniquely a guitarist's skill into synth sounds. For the guitarist, Allan Holdsworth, it was yet a whole new way to achieve the sounds unvoiced in his soul and in ways he just couldn't do with a standard guitar. Holdsworth has always sought for a horn-like voicing with that ability to manipulate a note in a myriad of ways. He is known for being one of the most unique stylists on guitar but it is the SynthAxe that allows him to go places a guitar can't reach. And now the review . . . SynthAxe, SynthAxe, SynthAxe, and some more SynthAxe -- so imagine Holdsworth's Sand, Atavachron (w/no guitar but all parts SynthAxe'd), yeah, that Holdsworth Enigma label era, yet . . . a very melancholy, introspective, uhh, inner-struggles-angst-new-agey- synthjazz-with-that-Holdsworth-flair. Will jazz fusion folks get into this? Read on. I have listened to this SynthAxe showcase at least 5-7 times now. Some cuts are absolutely beautiful in their pristine simplicity and chordal-synth progression "intros" and "scene-settings", visualmusicks I should say. Yet after such moments of synthy, dreamy bliss the mood then "weirds out" towards fusion with typical Holdsworthian solo-abandon frenzy, get the picture? I venture to say that this release will take most Holdsworth fans many listens to "sink in". If you are a devoted guitarhead -- I doubt you will get off too much, oh well. You may just walk from this FLATTire. If you dig synths in jazz, SynthAxe gymnastics, and can appreciate a very unique musician's singular vision then by all means have a FLATTire. See the tunes echoing in the unseen life-movie in Holdsworth's head . . . birthed during a very difficult period in his life . . . as the liner notes detail. Synthesizer-driven, visual music adherents, adventurous jazz fusion fans, admirers of all things Holdsworth, and SynthAxe players are urged to add this to their collection. Holdsworth is the SynthAxe man. It's a very uniquely rewarding listening experience. ~John W. Patterson, EER-MUSIC.com Tracks: The Duplicate Man [intro], The Duplicate Man. Eeny Meeny, Please Hold On, Snow Moon, Curves, So Long, Bo Peep, Don't You Know Personnel info: Allan Holdsworth - electric guitar on [intro] only, SynthAxe; SynthAxe'd bass, SynthAxe'd keys, SynthAxe'd percussives and SythAxe'd effects covering everything else sonic, Dave Carpenter - guesting acoustic bass on two songs Listen to samples & Buy CDs/DVDs here
Allan Holdsworth: Road Games (CD, 24:17); Gnarly Geezer Records, GGCD001-2 (re-released) 2001 Short but sweet . . . This 24:17 length re-release, never before on CD, 80's era solo effort originally appeared as an EP, (extended play), vinyl release. It is a unique mix of great vocals with a more rocking, bluesy jazzy, quasi- mainstream, song-themed, balladic thrust. This release showcases Holdsworth playing less "out there". Don't get me wrong -- the guitar is amazing, multi-voiced, fusion-fired, ethereally chorded, delightfully crystalline-clear-note flourished, and swooningly embellished. Then add in the vocals of Jack Bruce for that "Cream" flashback or the I.O.U. band feel of Paul Williams' crooning, back-to-back with killer bass by Berlin and tastefully poised drums by Wackerman and you have fusion-rock bliss. Holdsworth addicts have waited a very long time for this to appear on CD format. So go for it. I was glad to see it happen but I bet many out there already had this on vinyl-to-CD-R copies at home. I did. Time to get the real deal folks. It sounds great all over again. Orignial album cover graphics and notes are included. ~ John W. Patterson, EER-MUSIC.com Personnel: Allan Holdsworth - Guitar, Jeff Berlin - bass, Chad Wackerman - drums, Special Guest: Jack Bruce - vocals, Backing vocals: Joe Turano, Paul Korda, Paul Williams(lead vox on track 2) Tracks: Three Sheets To The Wind, Road Games, Water On The Brain - Pt. II, Tokyo Dream, Was There?, Material Real
Allan Holdsworth: The Sixteen Men of Tain (CD, 44:54); Gnarly Geezer Records Cat #GGCD2 44808, 2000 27660 Marguerite Parkway, Suite C, PMB292 Mission Viejo, CA 92692 USA Cyberhome: http://www.allanholdsworth.com Allan Holdsworth's Sixteen Men of Tain is mellow, measured, and melancholy. This is that quiet woodlands walk at dusk or being alone at dawn in the mists of a forgotten moor, type of jazz wonderland. Holdsworth has stayed with his comfortable, even-handed "flow" and gently restrained ways as on None Too Soon and Secrets. His Synthaxe work appears again in several compositions with that Sand feel. The jazz rock, fired-up, effusive fusion is kept at bay but Holdsworth's incredible legato, tornado riffage and chordal dreamscapes are still in pleasing abundance. Holdsworth has nothing to prove, no need to strain at the bit. The power and glory are an evident undercurrent throughout. That sax-horn voicing is near perfect in many places and Holdsworth is introspectively smooth and mirror-shine pristine in tone everywhere he needs to be. He has set forth another very comfortable listen and a reached a new milestone in his enduring legacy of matchless grace. And having said that, the specifics include very fine trumpet by Walt Fowler guesting on tracks 1 and 5, with Chad Wackerman guest drumming on track 6. Holdsworth is expertly accompanied on acoustic bass by Dave Carpenter and Gary Novak on drums. Allan Holdsworth does confidently relaxed and flowingly inspired guitar and Synthaxe, as usual. As stated above, you will not find Holdsworth wildly rockin' out, doing bizarre explosions of guitar nor Synthaxe, (though he is more than capable), on this release. Production and sound is slick and polished throughout. Compositions will find the listener being massaged into bliss or swept along in a swift flow. A jazz guitar reviewer associate, upon hearing this release, just said something like, "Wow!" I wasn't surprised at all.I have been listening to Allan Holdsworth since his decages-ago, work with Soft Machine and Tony Williams' Lifetime. Holdsworth only keeps getting better with time. All but one of the eight songs herein are by Holdsworth. He and Novak co-wrote "The Drums Were Yellow", a tribute in memory of Tony Williams. Chad Wackerman wrote "Downside Up". For jazz guitar excellence and Synthaxe/guitar synth mastery none can match Holdsworth in voicings, phrasings, various techniques nor song composition. He is unique in a world of guitar all his own. He has created his own niche. His signature style will echo through many generations. Highest recommendations and deepest of respect for this exceptional artist. ~ John W. Patterson, Editor of Eclectic Earwig Reviews and Fusion Ed. at AllAboutJazz.com Track listing: 1. O274 2. The Sixteen Men of Tain 3. Above and Below 4. The Drums Were Yellow 5. Texas 6. Downside Up 7. Eidolon 8. Above and Below (reprise)
Heavy Machinery: Anders and Jens Johansson with Allan Holdsworth (CD, 50:13); HECD-011, 1996 Heptagon Records AB Box 20072 SE-200 74 MALMO SWEDEN Phone: + 46-40-919644 Fax: + 46-40-161325 Email: Bengt Federmann
It was refreshing to hear Holdsworth get funked up and get in a rockin' groove thang for a change on many cuts.I thought I heard him having fun on this CD. Even his guitar tone seemed bigger -- perhaps augmented in places with some background triggered synth-echo delays and textures. Jens Johansson was outstanding in his mosaic of keyboard styles and voicings. I swear that guy is the only synth player I've ever heard nearly duplicate a signature Holdsworthian lead phrasing. Incredibly well-done! An expertly interwoven synthesis of sound and rhythm tickled my critical ears throughout. Great jazzrock, mean and nasty, ballsy-bluesy fusion happens here. This is no CD for vapid, sappy, languishing toe-tapping weenies. It kicks. Here's some quick reasons for the intensity that propels this musical meeting. Drummer Anders Johansson and keysman Jens Johansson have roots that dig deep; playing with axe- shredder Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force, Ronnie James' DIO, and a host of other metal ventures. Latter day Mahavishnu's bassist Jonas Hellborg has collaborated with the Johansson brothers as well. Simply put, herein lies vast versatility. Invite guitar genius and innovator Allan Holdsworth over to jam and you spark unforgettable fireworks of furious fusion. Holdsworth fans, this is a must. Keyboardists and drummers need this in their inspiration collection. Rockers and jazzrock fusionists alike will delight in this recording. I take this opportunity to say, "Jens and Anders, thanks for such a good idea expertly realized in your building this Heavy Machinery." Highly recommended jams. ~ John W. Patterson
Allan Holdsworth: Velvet Darkness (CD, 53:20); 1976/1990 Epic/Associated ZK 45482 This debut solo release by Allan Holdsworth has an "in the raw", coarsely presented, jam session quality complete with warts and all as well as real gems of jazz fusion shining through. The first time I heard this release on vinyl I laughed at how really bad it sounded compared to Holdsworth's other releases as well as his playing with other groups. I soon discovered that not only this reviewer but Holdsworth abhors this release! He has taken legal action and had it removed from production for several reasons. After a full day of research I came up with a story of why Holdsworth considers it as "a real terrible disaster". The original label used rehearsal tapes to compile it, deeming it unnecessary to finance real sessions. During the recording session, he wasn't allowed to speak, having to hurry through each song! He never got the masters to go over before release. The original release was nothing more than a taped rehearsal, packaged and released by CTI as an album without Holdsworth's permission. This recording is in essence a many times bootlegged release by label after label and none of the musicians involved ever saw any royalties. No legal paperwork exists. A record of this recordings known release/ re-releases: Originally released in 1976 on CTI Records. Catalog Number: CTI 6068 Also released in 1976 on King Records. Also re-issued on compact disc in 1990 on Epic Associated Records. Catalog Number: ZK 45482 Also re-issued on compact disc in 1994 on King Records as a Japanese only CD. Catalog Number: KICJ 8066 Also re-issued on compact disc in 1997 on CTI Records as a Japanese only CD. Catalog Number: KICJ 8215 Also released in 1997 on an unknown label in Japan as a bootleg CD. An original copy of the vinyl LP album was transferred to CD This 1990 release with alternate takes, (just more pieces dredged up from the jam session practice tapes), is indeed an interesting snapshot of young stellar musicians doing their thing in a laid-back but energetic fusion-funk-rock groove. It is for all the above reasons that this is indeed a completist / collectors item nowadays. Included are the now very rare recordings of Allan Holdsworth playing acoustic guitar and violin which he does very well. I found the alternate take of "Gattox" a special treat in hearing Holdsworth solo with an intensity and emotive power echoing all the best dynamics jazz fusion could offer in the '70's. I bought this release second-hand as it is probably the only and most proper way to find it now. If you have a copy and see Holdsworth play live - do not ask him to autograph it as it only exists as a source of irritation to him. ~ John W. Patterson, EER-MUSIC.com Personnel: Holdsworth, Allan/electric and acoustic guitar, violin Pasqua, Alan/keyboards Johnson, Alphonse/bass Walden, Narada Michael/drums Tracks: 1. Good Clean Filth~5:23~Holdsworth 2. Floppy Hat~5:39~Holdsworth 3. Wish~4:21~Holdsworth 4. Kinder~3:06~Holdsworth 5. Velvet Darkness~4:43~Holdsworth 6. Karzie Key~3:10~Holdsworth 7. Last May~1:38~Holdsworth 8. Gattox~4:54~Holdsworth alternate takes: 9. Good Clean Filth~5:38~Holdsworth 10. Kinder~3:07~Holdsworth 11. Velvet Darkness~4:44~Holdsworth 12. Karzie Key~2:15~Holdsworth 13. Gattox~6:47~Holdsworth
Allan Holdsworth: I.O.U. (CD, 39:46); 1985 Enigma CDE-73252 After the train-wreck disaster of Holdsworth's first solo release, the infamous Velvet Darkness, it wasn't until three years later that he reconsidered doing a real solo release versus the earlier rip-off of an authorized studio mish-mash product he suffered. So in 1979 he recorded I.O.U. on a wing and a prayer and loans ergo an i.o.u. recording project. With his very successful stints with other groups in the intervening time period such as U.K. and Bruford, Holdsworth's guitar prowess and name were on the map clearly. Holdsworth now needed to be the leader he clearly was and thus release an official solo record. The real Allan Holdsworth unleashed is at last revealed on I.O.U. in his original compositions and well-crafted soloing versus being merely part of a group and forced to stay within certain boundaries other bandmates' design. I.O.U. as a solo release is high-quality jazz fusion interplay, offering emotive compositions, ethereal guitar atmospherics, complex chordal progressions, and intense legato explosions of guitar that set the standard for many guitarists to come. There is no acoustic guitar this time but a wee bit of Holdsworth on violin appears in one song. ~ John W. Patterson, EER-MUSIC.com
Personnel: Holdsworth, Allan/electric guitar, violin Carmichael, Paul/ Bass Husband, Gary/ Drums, Piano Williams, Paul/ Vocals Tracks: 1. The Things You See (When you Haven't Got Your Gun)~5:50~Holdsworth 2. Where Is One~5:32~Holdsworth 3. Checking Out~3:34~Holdsworth 4. Letters Of Marque~6:57~Holdsworth 5. Out From Under~3:32~Holdsworth 6. Temporary Fault~3:15~Holdsworth 7. Shallow Sea~5:51~Holdsworth 8. White Line~4:50~Holdsworth / Brown Listen to samples & Buy CDs/DVDs here
Allan Holdsworth: Atavachron (CD, 36:14); 1986 Enigma CDE-73203 In order to adequately understand this review, you will need to somewhat understand what a SynthAxe is and does. (see FLATTire review above) This release was special in that it marks Holdsworth's first use of the SynthAxe alongside electric guitar. The SynthAxe sounds more like a keyboard than a guitar. It has a wider sound spectrum than keyboards only and in this release you will hear a myriad of synthscapes and effects. This release offered a semi- progressive symphonic element and served to ever stretch the boundaries of jazz fusion. Beautiful female vocals in one song framed by surrealistic visual musicks of the SynthAxe and keboardy leads by Holdsworth may have turned guitar fans off but this reviewer only saw clear evidence of the genius Holdsworth was demonstrating release after release. And as expected Holdsworth continued to strive for that reed voicing and phrasing on his guitar solos which merely pushed him to his best. ~ John W. Patterson, EER-MUSIC.com
Personnel: Holdsworth, Allan/electric guitar, SynthAxe Johnson, Jimmy/ Bass Husband, Gary/Drums Guests: Childs, Billy/Keyboards Mark, Rowanne/ Vocals Pasqua, Alan/Keyboards Wackerman, Chad/Drums Williams, Tony/Drums Tracks: 1. Non Brewed Condiment~3:39~Holdsworth 2. Funnels~6:10~Holdsworth 3. The Dominant Plague~5:41~Holdsworth 4. Atavachron~4:45~Holdsworth 5. Looking Glass~4:31~Holdsworth 6. Mr. Berwell~6:21~Holdsworth 7. All Our Yesterdays Sea~5:25~Holdsworth Listen to samples & Buy CDs/DVDs here
Observe how the word
wheel reverses direction
if you try and read words.