on 20 March 2010
Frank Zappa, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Bill Bruford, Pat Metheny, Frank Gambale, Joe Bonamassa, Eric Johnson, Chad Wackerman, Santana, Larry Coryell, Steve Khan, Jean Luc Ponty, Tony Williams, Miles Davis, Gary Moore, John Mclaughlin etc etc
Question:What do these musicians have in common?
Answer: They admire the work of Allan Holdsworth.
Allan Holdsworth is one of the most influential but ignored guitarist/composers from the UK. Musicians in the know often rank him amongst the best of the UK guitar players of the last 45 years (and yes i am talking about Clapton, Beck, Page and Mclaughlin) He has been a lone voice swimming against a tide of tired trends both compositionaly and technique wise.
If you've already got the solo albums buy this anyway. All the tracks have been remastered to 24 bit quality from the original masters by the man himself. The sound is splendid, the dynamic range is broader and you can hear the bass more distinctly. You find yourself finding things ,nuances and detail you couldn't quite pick out before.
If you decide to buy the whole album it is split into 1)guitar and 2) synthaxe + 2 bonus guitar tracks especially recorded for this edition. The first bonus is an improv with jimmy johnson, & chad wackermann called "lets throw shrimp" its tight and fast and the interplay is almost telepathic. The second track is the old standard "shenandoah" this is a beatifully rendition and is one of the most evocative and emotional pieces he has ever recorded. This track shows critics that Holdsworth is an emotional and accessible player.
There are obviously tracks that are favourites that don't appear on here, but the cds are filled up so theres over 2 hours of music on here spanning his entire career as a solo artist and a couple of solo tracks from his gordon beck collaborations. The synthaxe cd is very good and has some of his most evocative musings here.
Holdsworth is ahead of his time and an uncompromising musician and composer. That being said this is not difficult music, but does require some work (as does all truly good music) it is in fact very accessible. Enter here without any preconceptions and you will be moved emotionally. Unusually unlike many modern instrumenal virtuoso's Mr Holdsworth has a phenomenal tone and technique but also has a lot to say musically and compositionally. Distance v desire is a deeply moving piece, as is "all our yesterdays" and "secrets." Buy this with confidence wether you are already an Holdsworth fan or just wish to explore this ignored musician and neglected composer.
To get the full benefit of the remasters i would definitely recommend buying the cd version.
These tracks are slowly re emerging on remastered cd album releases. This is a great introduction to the work of Holdsworth, the guitarist readers of Musician magazine voted among the top 5 great guitarists of all time.
on 9 January 2010
I must admit to being conflicted when it comes to Alan Holdsworth; without question he is one of the most prolific recorded musicians with an astonishing technical grasp of his instruments. Therein lies the problem: his astonishing technique and grasp of music results in music that isn't the most accessible unless as the listener, you can grasp the compositional nuances employed by Holdsworth.
As a guitarist, I feel it's right to acknowledge Holdsworth -- this album is as good a starting point as any -- but it's not the most accessible listening.