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Allan Holdsworth

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Allan Holdsworth Live - Then! album cover
4.05 | 26 ratings | 4 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Zone I (4:08)
2. Proto-Cosmos (5:42)
3. White Line (9:39)
4. Atavachron (4:42)
5. Zone II (5:30)
6. Pud Wud (8:05)
7. House of Mirrors (4:26)
8. Non-Brewed Condiment (5:44)
9. Zone III (7:39)

Total Time 55:35

Line-up / Musicians

- Allan Holdsworth / guitar, baritone guitar
- Steve Hunt / keyboards
- Gary Husband / drums
- Jimmy Johnson / bass

Releases information

CD Alternity Records #0301

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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ALLAN HOLDSWORTH Live - Then! ratings distribution

(26 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

ALLAN HOLDSWORTH Live - Then! reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Dan Bobrowski
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A second live release from Allan Holdsworth in one year. This one, however was recorded in 1990, 12 years (to the day) before All Night Wrong. I'd hate to compare the two, because the bands were quite different (Then! is a quartet and ANW features a trio) and each features a completely different set list.

Steve Hunt (keyboards; Stanley Clarke, Mahavishnu Project) uses many of Allan's synth patches and plays many of the Synthaxe parts that Allan originally played on the studio versions of some of these tunes. Steve does a commendable job filling Allan shoes keeping the chording consistent with the originals. Thus, he allows the master to experiment with his Bill Delap Baritone guitars, a breath-taking event! Jimmy Johnson (bass; Flim and the BB's, James Taylor and a host of others) holds down the bottom in his own unique fashion. He gets a few chances to jump into the spotlight and shine. Gary Husband' drums sound huge. He plays with such intensity and control. Any student drummer would be well advised to check this out.

The tunes, nine in all, cover a large spectrum of Allan's career. Proto Cosmos, a Tony Williams Lifetime favorite, is given a rousing performance. Atavachron is simply elevated to another level, which I feel blows away the original. White Line, sans Paul Williams vocals, is wonderfully reconstructed with Allan playing the vocal lines with much more emotion than any vocalist ever could, beautiful. Pud Wud features a brilliant bass solo from Jimmy Johnson, playful and intricate. My favorite moment on the track. Steve Hunt's synth work really comes alive on this tune, as well. House of Mirrors, slowly builds with a gorgeous melody and soft suspended notes cascading and drifting. This is one of Allan's most emotive solos I've heard. Non-Brewed Condiment rocks and pushes the band with muscular drumming and wild soloing.

The improvs, Zone's I, II and III, are phenominal examples of exploration. Each piece is interspersed throughout the CD, beginning, middle and end. They take the listener to uncharted territory, on the spot creations of what only highly skilled musicians can achieve. These tracks are not for the weak of heart nor short attention spans. The push and pull of each instrument creates tension, not to fight for the spotlight, but to add splashes of color onto a spectacular work of art. Curious and inspirational.

This is not a starting place for Allan's work. This one requires some previous exposure to Allan's music. It is a facsinating look at what can be done, on stage, by one of music's most enigmatic guitarists, as well as a snapshot of musical history.

PS: Be sure to have a pint of your favorite ale whilst listening, to salute the master.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Holdsworth's THEN! on the Alternity label is playing now and I must say this is definite must-have!! Just to hear Zones I, II and III is worth the buy as these compositions are totally live improv and boy do these cats let it rip. The other 6 tracks smoke too -- sheesh, and they sound this supe ... (read more)

Report this review (#2581947) | Posted by JazzFusionGuy | Wednesday, July 28, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Well, this is a special cd. Released in 2004, the recording took place in May of 1990 in Japan. There's an unbelievably strong chemistry among the band members of this touring quartet, none of whom played together as a group on any of the studio albums from which the music for this concert was culle ... (read more)

Report this review (#2441163) | Posted by Squire Jaco | Tuesday, August 25, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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