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Allan Holdsworth - Secrets CD (album) cover


Allan Holdsworth


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.63 | 70 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Much to my delight, Bruford's ONE OF A KIND has spent quite a lot of time in Progarchives' all-time Top Hundred, which suggests that it is one of the most popular jazz-rock albums hereabouts. (As I write these words, it is in 100th position and thus in danger of falling off, but let that be.)

Well, it can be said with a considerable degree of certainty that most of those who like ONE OF A KIND will also enjoy SECRETS. Neither Bill Bruford, nor Jeff Berlin, nor Dave Stewart appear on this album, and most of the tunes are less catchy than those on ONE OF A KIND, but Allan Holdsworth himself is amazing, and his interplay with drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and bassist Jimmy Johnson is a wonder to behold.

In other words: you don't buy this album in order to hum along with it, you buy it to get carried away by Holdsworth's hallucinatory improvisations on synthaxe and guitar. SECRETS dates from 1989, when Holdsworth had clearly "progressed" since his Bruford days. It's well-known that he is a fastidious artist who's extremely reluctant to record his solos, since he always believes he may do better NEXT TIME, and I have no doubt he will now have his reservations about SECRETS, but anyway, here he is in full swing! You can tell he has attained the kind of mastery on electric guitar which John Coltrane or Ornette Coleman used to have on saxophone.

It's the synthaxe, I suppose, which also allows Holdsworth to accompany himself, as it were, with a lush blanket of keyboard-like sounds. As a result, SECRETS sounds proggier than the average jazz album, which must be one of the reasons why the authors of the PENGUIN GUIDE TO JAZZ ON CD are reluctant to even include Holdsworth. But ONE OF A KIND fans will lap this up. And mind you: this really isn't "fusion lite" (or muzak), it's far too inspired! Even fans of U.K. may enjoy it, since the title track (with vocals by Rowanne Mark) strongly resembles that band's "Thirty Years".

fuxi | 4/5 |


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