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Allan Holdsworth - The Sixteen Men Of Tain CD (album) cover

THE SIXTEEN MEN OF TAIN

Allan Holdsworth

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.81 | 18 ratings

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Flucktrot
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Beware: This is no prog masterpiece.

Instead, it's more of a minimalist showcase for Holdsworth and company to lay down some decent (but far from killer) jazz. The basic theme is that Holdsworth alternates between relatively simple jazz chord-mode and fast rips. There is consistently interesting drums by Novak, but the keys and bass are so sporadic that much of the time it's just guitar and drum interplay. If you really like improv, then this could be right up your alley. As a fan of structure and full symphonic sound, The Sixteen Men of Tain offers little of either.

It's customary in reviews to describe the songs, but the tunes on this album offer so little variety that they often are indistinguishable. Most start slow, build up moderately as the guitar and drums quicken, and die down again. Most are based on relatively familiar jazz progressions, but offer little in the way of melody. I would like to say that I enjoy San Onofre, 0274, and the title track the most, as they keep up the tempo and have the most variety, but it's also probably a function of their place in the track listing--as the album goes on, the songs just start to feel very similar.

With The Sixteen Men of Tain, you're getting plenty of Holdsworth and Novak, with minimal contributions from bass and keys. Although the guitar and drums offer very tight and enjoyable improvisational interplay, the overall lack of variety really drags this album down. Similar to the other jazz guitar greats (di Meola and McLaughlin included), technical skill and feel can't overcome a lack of talent from the rest of the band and lack of creativity in the songwriting department.

Flucktrot | 2/5 |

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