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Allan Holdsworth - Blues For Tony (with Alan Pasqua/Jimmy Haslip/Chad Wackerman) CD (album) cover


Allan Holdsworth


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.65 | 18 ratings

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Easy Money
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3 stars Blues for Tony is a collection of live cuts from a Tony Williams New Lifetime tribute band made up of ex-Lifetimers Allan Holdsworth and Alan Pasqua, with Jimmy Haslip on bass and Chad Wackerman filling in for the deceased legendary Tony on drums. This is an extremely talented band and their take on modern jazz fusion is both intellectual and virtuoustic, unfortunately though, like a lot of modern fusion the music on here seems directed at a 'musicians only' audience. None the less, musicians will find a lot to like here. Holdsworth's guitar work is flawless and a little more aggressive than usual and Pasqua returns to a more 70s pseudo analog sound with fierce distorted faux Fender Rhodes solos that recall a youthful Herbie Hancock.

Some album highlights on disc one include Pasqua's hard bop swingin piano solo on It must be Jazz and his extended aggressive distorted electric piano ride on the remake of Holdsworth's New Lifetime fusion classic, Fred. This disc closes with a beautiful ethereal guitar intro from Holdsworth on his ironically titled Pud Wud.

Disc two opens with Looking Glass, which epitomizes what is so wrong with so much of modern fusion; a listless beat that lacks a defined pulse but allows for endless fills from the drums and bass, ethereal chord progressions that seem to modulate upwards but really go nowhere, and lengthy solos that give the effect of 'building', but also go nowhere. Unfortunately Pasqua's San Michele which follows, continues this more morose style of modern fusion at first, but fortunately this track is resurrected by Alan's bizarre psychedelic keyboard solo, nice stuff which leads to the more dissonant Mahavishnu styled outro and follow up tune, the energetic Protocosmos. Red Alert closes out disc two with some great high energy funk-rock with burning solos from both Al(l)ans and clears out the cobwebs from the disc opener.

Overall this double disc is best when Holdsworth, Pasqua and gang avoid the pitfalls of modern limp-wrested fusion for music school grad students and go for the more hard funky/rockin 70s sound when this genre had some grit and genuine life force. This double disc live set is recommended for fans of Alan Holdsworth, and also Alan Pasqua who delivers some of the finest keyboard playing of his recorded career.

Easy Money | 3/5 |


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