Allan Holdsworth, The Sixteen Men of Tain Review

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Allan Holdsworth, The Sixteen Men of Tain
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jfderry's review of Allan Holdsworth, The Sixteen Men of Tain

“I must admit to having heard very little of Allan...”


written by jfderry on 29/08/2006

I must admit to having heard very little of Allan Holdsworth's music before taking time to listen to his new CD, Sixteen Men of Tain. Perhaps this is why I didn't realise how similar some of his approach to guitar voicing is to that of JM's. Even without Holdsworth's guitar synthesizer tones that bring back fear and loathing in ardent Mahavishnu and/or acoustic JM fanatics, the lyrical expression in his chord play on this album is pure magic. To seek a comparison I would reach for JM's Belo Horizonte (particularly the title track, Sixteen Men of Tain) with cross-overs into the funkier Heart Of Things (compare Holdsworth's tribute to Tony Williams, The Drums Were Yellow with Mr. DC). Added interest comes from the trumpet of Walt Fowler (Frank Zappa, Billy Cobham, Jack Bruce) on a couple of tracks and a guest slot for Chad Wackerman (Bill Watrous, Frank Zappa, Albert Lee). I certainly don't agree with John Patterson's [allaboutjazz] assessment of the music, "... mellow, measured, and melancholy". Why don't ya try turning the volume up? This is harmonic genius. Beautifully structured phrasings are needed when you're working with compositions like these. And hey, I'm happy. I've finally heard what all the fuss was about with Allan Holdsworth.

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