Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Allan Holdsworth

@ Wiki
Allan Holdsworth (born August 6, 1946 in Bradford, West Yorkshire) is a British jazz guitarist and composer.

Allan Holdsworth is a jazz/fusion guitarist and is widely known for his contributions to the genre. He is acclaimed for the complexity of his compositional and improvisational work, as well as his astounding technical skill. Reviewers have compared his compositions to Liszt, and he is also lauded for his peerless technique by rock guitarists such as Edward Van Halen ("He's the best in my book.")[1], Yngwie Malmsteen ("I had to take my hat off to him."), Frank Zappa ("One of the most interesting guys on guitar on the planet.")[2] and Steve Vai ("The two best electric guitarists are Jeff Beck and Allan Holdsworth."). The unique efficiency of his playing style, and his mathematical approach to mentally mapping out the fretboard allows him to 'see' symmetrical finger patterns, which produce note flourishes that approach the fluidity of saxophonists such as Wayne Shorter and John Coltrane.

Holdsworth pioneered several techniques that have been widely imitated by other guitarists. These include using an eight-voice modulated delay to create a chorusing effect that, combined with unusual closed voiced chords, create a very piano-like sound from an ordinary electric guitar. He uses a legato phrasing technique with light picking that causes a distorted guitar amplifier to produce a reedy, clarinet-like tone. A third innovative technique is using a volume pedal to "swell" chords into a long delay/reverb effect, generating the impression of an orchestral string section. These three techniques were used by Holdsworth to create the aural illusion of classical instruments, years before the invention of guitar/synthesizers, and have been adopted by increasing numbers of guitarists such as Frank Gambale, Scott Henderson, Bill Connors, Steve Vai, Alex Lifeson, David Sylvian.

Holdsworth has recorded many different styles of music over the years, including a brief flirtation with pop, in the form of a collaboration with British funk fusion pop band Level 42.

Recording career
His first recording was with Igginbottom ('Wrench') in 1969. In the early Seventies, Holdsworth joined Jon Hiseman's Tempest, overlapping briefly with the legendary Ollie Halsall. Subsequently Holdsworth worked with jazz rock groups Gong, Soft Machine, The New Tony Williams Lifetime, Jean-Luc Ponty and later in the decade he was a member of the all-star progressive rock quartet UK with John Wetton, Bill Bruford and Eddie Jobson. Some of his notable instrumental work in the 70's can be heard on Lifetime's 'Believe It' album, and the first two (Bill) Bruford Band albums ('Feels Good To Me' and 'One Of A Kind'). At the end of the 70's, becoming increasingly frustrated by the music scene, Allan Holdsworth worked and recorded with long term collaborator Gordon Beck and one of the UK's leading jazz improvisers and drummer John Stevens.

Compositions and styles
He is also recognized for his own compositions, which vary in musical style from progressive fusion jazz (for example, his work with Soft Machine on their album Bundles), to romantic, chordal and 'spacey' guitar/synthesizer works. He utilises an instrument called the SynthAxe, examples of which can be heard on the albums Atavachron; the SynthAxe-dominated Flat Tire; and the second CD of Against The Clock. It is Allan's SynthAxe recordings that motivated readers of Guitar Player magazine to vote him "Best Synth Guitarist" for several years. Although he is not the first guitarist to record with a synthesizer, he elevated the technique of synthesizer guitar to be on par with electric and acoustic guitar techniques. An incredibly down-to-earth musician, Allan famously said in his instructional video that he "doesn't really like the guitar", and prefers the sound of a saxophone.

Holdsworth was brought to the attention of Warner Bros. executive Mo Austin by Eddie Van Halen, resulting in the 1983 Warner Bros. release of Holdsworth's album Road Games. Eddie stated in Guitar Player magazine that Holdsworth was a major influence on his playing. This influence can be heard in Van Halen's "Push Comes To Shove" solo from the album Fair Warning. Guitarists from diverse traditions including Joe Satriani acknowledged Holdsworth as a major influence. Although Holdsworth downplays his impact on other musicians in published interviews, he has been acknowledged by many elite musicians as a source of inspiration.

Holdsworth's discography includes over fourteen titles as a band leader, yet he has recorded with many other notable muscians. A partial list of artists with whom Allan has recorded, other than those listed above, are Stanley Clarke, Gordon Beck, Carl Verheyen, Chad Wackerman, Gary Willis, David Hines, K2, Riptyde, Derek Sherinian, Planet X, and Gongzilla.

Recommended recordings are Secrets (which arguably contains his best SynthAxe work), Atavachron, Sand, Metal Fatigue (includes one of his signature solos on "Devil Take The Hindmost"), Wardenclyffe Tower (showcasing his use of the baritone guitar), and The Sixteen Men Of Tain (with a more jazz-tinged flavour). =>>>>>>>>>>>

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Greg Prato @ All Music
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. =>>>>>>>>>>>

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Allan Holdsworth @ You Tube

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