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Allan Holdsworth - All Night Wrong CD (album) cover


Allan Holdsworth


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.16 | 32 ratings

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Dick Heath
Special Collaborator
Jazz-Rock Specialist
4 stars In a period of less than 36 months there have been an exceptional flood of Allan Holdsworth related releases, "Spare Tire" (AH playing syntheaxe whilst navel gazing), the long awaited CD-issue "Road Games" (Holdsworth's near perfect, early 80's release), with Holdsworth as a member of (the great grandson of Soft Machine) Soft Works on "Abacadabra", a side of CD on Soft Machine's "BBC 1971-74", most recently the remastered New Tony Williams Lifetime "Believe It"(with bonus tracks) and another live album "Then!" (recorded same day/month and same location but about a decade earlier and with Husband, Hunt and Johnson doing a different set) .

But this fourth of the new releases "All Night Wrong", tops them all, and I recommend it without reservation. Recorded May 2002 in Japan, this is the Holdsworth recording I've been waiting for a very long time, to show he can still startle with brilliance and originality. Fortunately for us Holdsworth seems to have overcome his paranoia about live releases - how often have we seen the frustration, doubt and other expressions of disappointment of his own performance, evident at the end of an apparent perfect live set? Here the music hits you both cerebrally and in the solar plexus - the latter hasn't happened to me in a decade, while the former has been too much to the fore on many of his recent albums. Holdsworth is not holding back; is this because he has the comfort of old fusion friends providing the bass and drums, i.e. Jimmy Johnson and Chad Wackerman, respectively, instead of the recent experiments with straighter jazz sidesmen? Also several of the tunes are old favourites taken from his fruitful period of song writing, with some new twists of arrangement, e.g. "Water On The Brain". On each, Holdsworth showcases what he does superbly well, i.e. being the ultimate Holdsworthian guitarist - that special trade mark mix of legato and fast runs, solos which are musically tangential to the melody of a tune. Here he does not hold back. Neither do Johnson and Wackerman, who are given plenty of space to be most inventive. And add to the whole: the live recording is crystal clear. One can surmiss there are several benefits being back on a label with better distribution and advertising clout, than his chosen labels of the last 2 decades.

There have been a surprising number of pretenders to his throne appear in the last 10 years, Scott Henderson, Scott McGill, Alex MacHacek to name but a few - and until this record I may have been under the impression Holdsworth was more interested in introvert cerebral things (at least on record), rather than showing who's boss. On "All Night Wrong" he is boss and nobody comes near.

Dick Heath | 4/5 |


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