Get this crazy baby off my head!


Allan Holdsworth Group

Allan Holdsworth Group - Then! Live In Tokyo - 2003 - Universal Japan

British fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth, ex Soft Machine, Gong, U.K., Bill Bruford and Annette Peacock has never received full credit for being one of Britain's greatest ever jazz/rock/fusion guitarists. He is a highly esteemed musician regarded by fans and his contemporary musicians as one of the most prominent guitarists of modern times. Like Walter Becker and Donald Fagen (Steely Dan), he is one of a very small number of musicians who has successfully blended rock and jazz/fusion. He is noted for his extraordinary guitar technique, where he has explored textural and tonal ideas with amazing results. Allan has never embraced commercial/mainstream music, and for many years now has taken complete musical control over his solo recorded output. A brave thing to do, and despite producing and directing all aspects of his music, without compromising, he has had much success, especially in the last 20 to 25 years. Allan's solo works have been described as "genre-defying", but it has not affected his fan base, or the great quality of his music. He has received numerous ovations at important jazz festivals, and major rock venues. At one time Allan ranked close to the top of Musician Magazine's list of the "100 greatest all time guitarists", and that's no mean feat. Allan is also an inductee of Guitar Player Magazine's Hall of Fame. On this live album recorded May 4th-6th, 1990 at the Roppongi Pit Inn, Tokyo, Japan, Allan and his brilliant band perform some of Allan's best tunes from his time with Tony Williams' Lifetime up through Hard Hat Area, as well as three previously unreleased improvisations, entitled "Zones". Syd Schwartz, Vice President at Virgin Music International wrote "Since 'fusion' became a bad word somewhere along the way, I won't use it to describe the music on this release. Instead, I'll say that this is electric jazz of the highest caliber....this quartet vibrates with an intensity and near-telepathic interplay that needs to be heard to be believed. Jazzheads, progrock lovers, and jamband fans will all find much to enjoy in this sonic gem from Allan's archives....let's hope it's the first of many." The album is VHR by A.O.O.F.C. [Tracks 256-320 Kbps: File size = 98.9 Mb]. Listen to Allan's "Sand" and "Road Games" albums. For music in the same innovative style, search this blog for music by Wayne Krantz


1 Zone I - Holdsworth, Hunt, Husband, Johnson
2 Proto-Cosmos - Alan Pasqua
3 White Line - Holdsworth
4 Atavachron - Holdsworth
5 Zone 2 - Holdsworth, Hunt, Husband, Johnson
6 Pud Wud - Holdsworth
7 House Of Mirrors - Holdsworth
8 Non-Brewed Condiment - Holdsworth
9 Zone III - Holdsworth, Hunt, Husband, Johnson
10 Funnels [2004 Japanese CD Bonus Track] - Holdsworth


Allan Holdsworth - Guitar, Baritone guitar
Jimmy Johnson - Bass Guitar
Steve Hunt - Keyboards
Gary Husband - Drums


Guitarist Allan Holdsworth is widely considered to be one of the finest instrumentalists in all of jazz fusion, yet has never truly received the recognition that he so rightfully deserves. Born on August 6, 1946, in Bradford, Yorkshire, Holdsworth was originally taught music by his father, who was a pianist. First a saxophone player, Holdsworth didn't pick up the guitar until he was 17 years old, but learned the instrument quickly. After playing in local outfits (in addition to learning the violin), Holdsworth relocated to London, where he was taken under the wing of saxophonist Ray Warleigh. By 1972, Holdsworth had joined progressive rockers Tempest, appearing on the group's self-titled debut a year later before joining Soft Machine in December 1973 -- and radically changing the latter outfit's sound to guitar-based fusion in the process. U.S. drummer Tony Williams discovered Holdsworth around this time, which led to an invite for the up-and-coming guitarist to replace John McLaughlin in Williams' Lifetime project -- Holdsworth abruptly left Soft Machine in March of 1975, subsequently appearing on the Williams recordings Believe It and Million Dollar Legs. But Holdsworth's union with Williams was a brief one, as the guitarist joined up with French-English prog rockers Gong for such albums as 1976's Gazeuse! (released as Expresso in the U.S.) and 1978's Expresso II, in addition to guesting on recordings by Jean-Luc Ponty, Bill Bruford, Gordon Beck, Jack Bruce, and UK. Also in the late '70s, Holdsworth launched a solo career, which over the years has seen the release of nearly 20 albums (a few standouts include 1983's Road Games, 1985's Metal Fatigue, 1994's Hard Hat Area, and 2000's The Sixteen Men of Tain), as the guitarist has been joined by such acclaimed musicians as Paul Williams (a former bandmate of Holdsworth's in Tempest), Gary Husband, Chad Wackerman, Gary Husband, Jimmy Johnson, Steve Hunt, and Alan Pasqua, among others. In the mid-'80s, Holdsworth was one of the first musicians to use a Synthaxe, a guitar that contained a breath controller that proved to be a cross between a synthesizer, guitar, and saxophone (Holdsworth was awarded Best Guitar Synthesist from 1989 through 1994 in the readers' poll of Guitar Player magazine). In the '90s, Holdsworth also created his own signature guitar model with the Carvin company. In the mid-'90s, Holdsworth briefly shifted away from his fusion originals and recorded an album with longtime musical partner Gordon Beck that dipped into jazz standards. The Sixteen Men of Tain (2000) marked another shift, in that it was the first Holdsworth release to feature an all-acoustic rhythm section. This was followed in 2002 by All Night Wrong, his first official live release. Then! Live in Tokyo was next, featuring Holdsworth's 1990 live band, which was followed by Against the Clock, a career retrospective, in 2005. © Greg Prato © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/allan-holdsworth-p6754/biography


He has a distinctive playing style that involves a strong scalar sense, combining elements of jazz and progressive rock. The harmonic structure of his pieces is highly advanced, with frequently shifting tonal centres and unique combinations of keys and modes. His phrasing almost always features striking yet subtle transitions between notes that are both consonant and dissonant, with wide and unpredictable intervallic leaps. Whilst soloing, he predominantly uses various legato techniques such as slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs (including a specialised variation of the latter, which works more akin to a 'reversed' hammer-on; all of which result in an extremely fluid lead tone. One of his most identifiable traits is his use of dense, fingerpicked chords (which are often awash with delay, chorus and other complex effects), articulated using volume swells to create sounds reminiscent of the horn and saxophone. He has said that he once preferred those instruments to the guitar, having been influenced greatly by such saxophonists as John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. At the same time, some of his favourite guitarists were Django Reinhardt, Joe Pass, Charlie Christian and Hank Marvin. On his 1986 release, Atavachron, Holdsworth first recorded with the SynthAxe; a fretted, guitar-like MIDI controller with a tube that dynamically alters note volume and tone via breathing (similar to a talk box). Although he has used the SynthAxe on all his solo releases since Atavachron, and still enjoys using it in the studio, he says he no longer wishes to make it such an integral part of his playing (especially live), mainly because of it being so rare and difficult to maintain and repair.