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Allan Holdsworth - Live - Then! CD (album) cover


Allan Holdsworth


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.96 | 16 ratings

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4 stars `Tis a rare thing, a document of this incomparable artist live. Equally rare are those recordings from the days with arguably his best line-up from the 90s; Jimmy Johnson holding the bottom together heroically, keyboardist Steve Hunt fleshing out the texture and doing a great job of Holdsworth synthaxe-mimicry, and the remarkable Gary Husband turning in a typically stunning performance on drums. "The willingness of Allan Holdsworth to allow this archival live recording to crawl forth from the vault required twelve years of mental fermentation and no small amount of coaxing", writes Christopher Hoard in the notes. Such is the case with craftsmen of Holdsworth's caliber and is a tribute to his own high standards.

Though not quite the eloquent presentation as his other sanctioned live album 'All Night Wrong' - both recorded ten years apart at the intimate Roppongi Pit Inn in Tokyo - this is a more immediate performance with a fire just under the surface that the later recording lacks and exhibits a measured but electrical intensity from each player. The mix is also superior to 'All Night Wrong' and each musician is well balanced. In addition to six of Allan's better compositions including the blistering 'Proto-Cosmos', the sentimental and melodic 'White Line', space-age Trekism in 'Atavachron', cyber-jazz of 'Pud Wud', gentle balladry that is 'House of Mirrors' and head-spinning facility of 'Non-Brewed Condiment', we are also treated to 'Zone' I, II, and III, musical platforms that allow each member to play spontaneously within a loose framework. In many ways, this record shows Allan's jazz roots most explicitly without sounding jazzy and while maintaining his wholly individual perspective. Here is Allan Holdsworth the soloist and leader expanding the boundaries of musical space, and I cannot think of a better exhibition of his special power.

Atavachron | 4/5 |


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