Allan Holdsworth, guitarist

I had the opportunity to listen to some of Allan Holdsworth’s playing again recently. I’m not really sure whether anyone is playing anything like him these days. Originally from the UK, Allan has crafted a unique style (check the full on soloing on Devil Takes the Hindmost from Metal Fatigue).

Where you start with it all? For me it was the Tony Williams Lifetime Believe It album. The defining track? Red Alert. Allan sounded quite bluesey and chromatic all at the same time.  Apparently he was playing an SG, thru god knows what. As well as Allan’s solo capabilities he also worked hard to evolve textural chordal concepts and sounds. Very distinctive. Very cinematic. And another thing, Allan’s tracks sometimes took on a song structure, with vocals (eg, Metal Fatigue and Panic Station). Check out the Metal Fatigue project, an alliance that happened around the same time that Eddie Van Halen (a major fan) was attempting to get Allan a record deal before he made true on his threat to drop the guitar thing completely and start repairing amps or something. You can hear Allan’s influence on Eddie’s playing on the Fair Warning album, particularly the track Hear About It Later. Eddie did remark at one point that upon hearing Allan play he would often go, huh? Bill Brufrod said at one point that part of the key to Allan’s style was his obsession with Nicolas Slonimsky’s Thesaurus of scales. A disappointment for me was part 2 of the Tony Williams project, where Tony seemed to try and steer a raw fusion band into funk.

Allan is very self effacing in regard to his talents.

I would have been happy to retire after having played the solo in Red Alert.

Some samples below-

~ by gazlington on June 26, 2012.

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