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Allan Holdsworth Dead At 70
[Image: 848d3e5b-b931-47d4-b58c-3521550486f2?w=800]

Groundbreaking guitarist who played with U.K. Soft Machine, Gong, Jean-Luc Ponty passes away unexpectedly
Don't forget to write or click a thank you, because it takes a lot of work to search the files.
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For lovers of Jazz-rock/Fusion, Alan Holdsworth was simply the greatest guitar player of his time. No contest. Always ages ahead on everybody else, and will be for many years to come.

For guitar players, it's somewhat mindboggling that he got to be as good as he was, having started playing the guitar only at 17.

The fact is, he started out on violin. So his hands and mind were quite well prepared to evolve into the incredible guitar acrobat he would become.

A deep passion for the music of John Coltrane spelled out the melodic direction he were to take. Yes, there's a lot of Trane in all his playing, once you can hear it.

Here's AH giving his rendition of "Countdown":

Unfortunately, this kind of virtuoso playing is most often too much to bear for most non-musicians, and even for many who do play an instrument, and regardless of the many very soft and harmonious pieces AH created. So business wise it was never easy for the man.

To quote from an obituary I stumbled on at

Hunter S. Thompson had it right when he said "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs." To which I'd add, the mediocre and banal are celebrated and remunerated, while the sublimely gifted and ever-searching are routinely marginalized.

Add to this a general music-business economical situation that has gravely deteriorated, and that has grown more and more tough to survive in. So it came that in his later years AH was most often seen in small venues, and virtually never heard of in the media.

Despite the masses completely ignoring this genius, back in the day I was fortunate to get to know his music fairly early on my path to becoming a musician, and absorb some of his ideas. I was especially fascinated by his incredible "horn-like" playing, and so transcribed most of his solos on metal fatigue, as best as I could... It takes a while to get some understanding of what's going on Big Grin

Here's what a transcription of one of the pieces on Metal Fatigue may look like, as brilliantly transcribed by another guitarist (and much more meticulous and extensive than I ever did).

This solo is not just interesting for guitar players. The ideas found can be universally applied on any instrument that can handle it.

Also, for people who want to study it: don't be intimidated by the incredible rhythmic complexity that seems to occur at times. It's more about the rhythmically "free flow" of patterns, where the patterns often structure the rythmic end result. Have some fun!  Cool

There are some transcription publications available, but very hard to find. If you have a Scribd account, you can find some there for the price of a paid subscription.

For those who want some tips directly from the master's mouth, the following video is worth gold:

Explanations and tips follow on some of the pieces played (view till the end).

A nice video of AH in his studio, which gives an idea of how he integrated the new technologies in his workflow.

Metal Fatigue seemed not to have been AH's favorite album. In fact, he was a bit frustrated about it due to disagreements with his producer on the project. However, I feel it's surely the most public friendly, albeit a rock/fusion/jazz one.

Here's an incredible recording of a live show at that time, in Japan, with interviews:

AH's playing never stopped to evolve over his life. As he says in the video above, he actually couldn't stand his own playing older than 2 years.

His second last album has been "The Sixteen Men Of Tain". Fascinating, intricate and wonderful.

Thanks Alan! RIP Angel

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