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Symphonic Prog • United States

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Holding Pattern biography
Many reports say that Holding Pattern was mainly a vehicle for guitarist Tony Spada. Although the same musicians appear on both releases, there have been many different musicians playing under the band's banner. Tony is the only constant. The first release was the self-titled 1981 EP. These songs, along with other tracks recorded over the years, were re-released as the 1991 album "Majestic."

Tony Spada is a talented guitarist, and knows the art of subtlety. He has sited Yes, Happy the Man, Dixie dregs, and Steve Hackett as influences. Along with Holding Pattern, he has also released two solo albums. Ever the working musician, his resume also includes playing live gigs with Kansas, Steve Morse, Rick Wakeman, and Steve Howe.

The band was co-founded with drummer Robert Hutchinson. A veteran of the Connecticut prog scene, he had previously been a member of Elysian Field, and Whisper. In 1984 he decided to try his luck in Los Angeles. Getting nowhere, he hung up his sticks for an indefinite period. The renewed interest in Holding Pattern caused him to return to Connecticut, where he is currently a drum instructor.

Tony Castellano, and Mark Tannenbaum are also members of the original band. They both hold college degrees, and have contributed to Spada's solo work.

As a true reunion always remains a possibility, the group is appropriately named.

H.T. Riekels (bhikkhu)

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Holding PatternHolding Pattern
CD Baby 1981
$5.99 (used)
Breaking the Silence by Holding Pattern (2007-12-11)Breaking the Silence by Holding Pattern (2007-12-11)
CD Baby
Holding Pattern [German Import] by Holding PatternHolding Pattern [German Import] by Holding Pattern
Breaking the SilenceBreaking the Silence
CD Baby 2016
$7.19 (used)
Small M ManifestoSmall M Manifesto
Matlock Records
$2.67 (used)
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HOLDING PATTERN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.43 | 7 ratings
3.62 | 24 ratings
Breaking The Silence

HOLDING PATTERN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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HOLDING PATTERN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 22 ratings
Holding Pattern


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Holding Pattern by HOLDING PATTERN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1981
3.67 | 22 ratings

Holding Pattern
Holding Pattern Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Underground US Prog band from Connecticut,formed around 1978 by guitarist Tony Spada.The other main force of the band was drummer Robert Hutchinson with Jerry Lalancette contributing on bass and Mark Tannenbaum performing on grand piano and analog keyboards.Holding Pattern released a self-titled 4-track EP in 1981,which succeeded some airplay and built a cult base of fans around the band.The same album was released in 1998 in CD format by Cleefo Records.

This short instrumental EP kicks off with the Symphonic/Fusion ''Another point of view'',based on Spada's shifting melodic and dramatic guitar playing and the dominant moog synths of Tannenbaum,featuring a fine number of breaks and ending up to be a mix of Canterbury Fusion with CAMEL-esque Melodic Rock.The following ''Honor before glory'' is a whole other story.Low-tempo composition with again some haunting guitar performance by the talented Spada and a great symphonic-styled middle section with keyboards on the forefront,somewhate like a cross between CAMEL, SEBASTIAN HARDIE and GENESIS.From this point on starts the more Fusion side of the band. ''Jigsaw Dream'' is a great Canterbury/Symph/Fusion piece in the vein of HAPPY THE MAN with fantastic synths and organ next to some LATIMER-like guitar work, featuring also some very complex breaks already from the start.However Spada's still sounds very personal than being a simple copy of ANDY LATIMER.''Out of the tunnels'' will close the album in the opening style: dramatic guitar playing over technical Fusion-esque keyboard solos with nice shifting changes and alternating tempos, making this track more of Tannenbaum than a Spada's highlight.

A very good underground US release of virtuosic Progressive Rock in the vein of HAPPY THE MAN, MR. SIRIUS or KURT RONGEY.Strongly recommended to all fans of the Symphonic Rock/Fusion affair...3.5 stars.

 Breaking The Silence by HOLDING PATTERN album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.62 | 24 ratings

Breaking The Silence
Holding Pattern Symphonic Prog

Review by Ovidiu

4 stars BREAKING THE SILENCE is a pure musical jewel!Definitelly this album has a special charm and fascinationbecause it's so wonderful and rich in beautiful melodies that it captures your attention imediatelly!An outstanding instrumental album in the symphonic progressive style,witha wonderful production and some majestic musicianship indeed!TONY SPADA is an absolute master of his instrument and proves here his tremendeously huge talent,skills as a composer and performer!It's rare to hear such a brilliantly composed instrumental album without having the feeling to say that something is missing!No way!The rich instrumentation proves that when music is so well done,you don't need the pressence of a vocalist!All he tracks are at such a high level composed -fans of STEVE MORSE or DIXIE DREGGS in a more progressive direction-will dig deep this musical pearl!The omnipressence of keyboards is making the richness of the musical message even more spectacular!The balence between slow and midtempo songs is so well done too and the album has a very complex frame of stylistic compositions.With albums like this,instrumental progressive music has many beautiful years to come ahead!The 50 minutes timig is perfect for this type of instrumental music,and all we can hope is that Tony will have the inspiration to delight us with more musical pearls like this one in the future! 4,5 STARS for a high caliber instrumental album!
 Breaking The Silence by HOLDING PATTERN album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.62 | 24 ratings

Breaking The Silence
Holding Pattern Symphonic Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The instrumental ensemble Holding Pattern breaks the silence after a hiatus that has lasted too long. Not that Tony Spada and his old friends had been out of the business, but Holding Pattern seemed simple doomed into the obscurity of the least famous progressive names. Now, this USA band has returned with a vengeance, using its habitual influences (Camel, Hackett-era Genesis, Happy the Man, Dixie Dregs sans the country factor) albeit with an enhanced energy that allows the band to resuscitate its vitality and freshness. 'Flying Colors' kicks off the album in a most appealing note, displaying enough stamina to provide a special life to the melodic motifs. The title track's next, being more evocative and a bit less sumptuous than the opener, still being genuinely energetic. Special mentions go to the electrifying synth solo that emerges at minute 3 and the fluid contrasts between softer and stronger passages. 'Fishbulb' sounds like a lost HTM piece performed by Colosseum II - it includes a funny quote from the popular "The Simpsons" theme. Also worth mentioning are those Emersonian keyboard atmospheres that Tennenbaum provides to the interlude's closure: he really is the perfect counterpart/complement for the ever-featured Spada's guitar playing. 'Once as One' brings more of Holding Pattern's evocative facet, even showing a beeper melancholic vibe than on track 2. After this track's fade-out ends, no follow-up feels more convenient than the shred-driven starting section of 'Out the Other', one of the most modernistic traces in the album, quite close to a CAB-meets-Satriani - it's very likely that the listener may suspect that some naughty elf has taken out the HP CD and put LTE instead. The catchy dynamics we find in this track serves to instill some fresh air into the overall stylishly progressive mood of the album (well, what else can one expect from a good prog album anyway...?). 'Back to the Tunnels' retakes the Tunnel theme from previous releases ('Tunnels' and 'Out of the Tunnels' were included in their namesake EP and their "Majestic" LP). The visceral, incendiary mood of the track summons the varied influences of Dixie Dregs, Colosseum II and King Crimson to the fold in a fog of controlled tension - no way that the person enjoying this album doesn't find this track as one of its highlights. After this magnificent display, 'Blaster' brings back some of the frontal fire of 'Out the Other'. Quite different is 'Like Waves', the most ethereal number in the album, based on the dialogues between guitar and piano: a few seconds before arriving to the fifth minute the interplaying absorbs a weird set of chord progressions, in this way adorning the overall dreamy ambience. The closer 'Honor Before Glory' is an old track recaptured to remind us how well Spada can mix "Spectral Mornings"-era Hackett with 80s-Holdsworth: the keyboard layers seem to wrap the atmosphere. All in all, "Breaking the Silence" is pure symphonic prog delight, particularly for those who love their symphonic powerful and robust. There are also enough jazz-oriented hints as to please the regular fans of contemporary modern jazz-prog or old fashioned jazz-rock. Anyway, this Holding Pattern we hear on "Breaking the Silence" shines like a Phoenix bird out of eternal progressive flames.
 Holding Pattern by HOLDING PATTERN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1981
3.67 | 22 ratings

Holding Pattern
Holding Pattern Symphonic Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Holding Pattern was and remains (let's hope not for too long) an unsung prog hero band from the USA. Back in the second half of the 70s, they created an amazing symphonic prog offering, displaying a strong melodic vibe in their compositions and lots of energy in their performances. Guitarist Tony Spada was obviously the band's musical leader (in fact,, he wrote most of the material), but despite the fact that his instrument is featured in the mix, the band's sound is predominantly focused in the interaction between guitar and keyboard, with the rhythm section providing a solid scheme for that interaction. Their clean melodic approach to prog rock is definitely influenced by Camel, Genesis 76-77/Hackett and Happy the Man's symphonic side, with a touch of Dixie Dregs sans the country factor and an ounce of jazz-prog occasional ornaments in the rhythm section. Their eponymous 1981 EP was their only oficial release before their recent return: the only other HP CD available was "Majestic", released in the early 90s with the EP plus abundant extra material. The performative finesse in this "Holding Pattern" EP is excellent, sharp and polished: that being said, it is regrettable that the sound production is so primitive, but again, we must remember that this was a low-budget band struggling to get noticed in a rock era that was becoming increasingly unfriendly toward anything related to art-rock. The punchy hook of 'Another Point of View' is really irresistible, bearing an attractive feel through its moderately complex structure: imagine classic Camel with a rockier edge and you may have an idea of what I'm referring to. The band's charm remains intact with the next number, 'Honor Before Glory', which pretty much can be described as an exercise in eerie melancholy Hackett-style: I suspect that Steve Hackett's signature piece 'Spectral Mornings' has been a powerful influence in Spada's writing for this one. The agility returns in full swing with 'Jigsaw Dream', which comprises some funky cadences among the symphonic jam that takes place in a most dynamic way: Camel with a touch of Return to Forever's jolliest side. The band's energy is clear and vital in both their explicit and introverted moments, and that's very clever, since it avoids the band to get too mellow for the evocative essence of 'Honor Before Glory'. This EP ends 'Out of the tunnels', a piece that finds the band exploring some subtle Crimsonian nuances (a-al 'Larks' Tongues II') in certain passages, while exploring their rockier side. This is a very recommendable prog item, indeed, and definitely those who come across the "Majesty" CD should purchase it too.
 Breaking The Silence by HOLDING PATTERN album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.62 | 24 ratings

Breaking The Silence
Holding Pattern Symphonic Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The title of this new album matches perfectly with the fact that it's more than 15 years ago that USA progrock formation Holding Pattern made an album (in 1991), it was entitled Majestic and released as a CD on LP size, wonderful but quite expensive to order from Holland! So now we can enjoy this 'Holding Pattern reunion album' as the band stated on their wonderful website (with lots of MP3 files, very welcoming). The cover art is by Paul Whitehead who became known as the artist who made the covers of early Genesis albums Nursey Cryme and Foxtrot and recently he has designed for Italian progrock bands like Le Orme. The current line-up features most of the original members and drummer Robert Hutchinson plays on the live bonustrack (Japan, 2005) Honor Before Glory.

In general the songs on this new album sound fluent with a very dynamic rhythm-section and strong interplay between guitar and keyboards. The focus is on prime mover and musical brainchild Tony Spada his guitarwork, from howling to propulsive riffs and lots of fiery guitar solos, loaded with biting and blistering runs like in the title track (also featuring a sparkling synthesizer solo with lush Mellotron), Fishbulb (wonderful bombastic final part), Once As One (Seventies Camel atmosphere with mellow organ), Out The Other (exciting climate) and Blaster (catchy rhythm and great interplay). A very good composition is the long and alternating Back To The Tunnels delivering a beautiful part with twanging acoustic guitar and piano and a flashy synthesizer solo, accompanied by propulsvie guitar riffs and powerful drums. But my highlight is the final song Honor Before Glory (live Tokyo 2005): a dreamy first part with Mellotron and sensitive electric guitar play (with hints from Andy Latimer), then a comepelling atmosphere with a great build-up guitar solo with many howling runs, goose bumps!

To me this sounds as a very good reunion CD, I am sure it will please many progheads who like more dynamic and bombastic progrock with lots of strong guitarwork. My rating: 3,5 stars.

 Holding Pattern by HOLDING PATTERN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1981
3.67 | 22 ratings

Holding Pattern
Holding Pattern Symphonic Prog

Review by Hands r free

4 stars This is Holding Patterns first release and it is very very good.I highly recomend this to any prog rocker who is into a mix of fusion and art rock. It is very guitar and keyboard heavy and has a great rythem section. What is great is that they are from the same state as me and i get to see them all the time !
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Ivan_Melgar_M for the last updates

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