The Allan Holdsworth Band:
Holding Court in the Tri-State Region!
A SoundPress.net Archive Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

Allan Holdsworth is a well respected British guitarist and composer. Allan is well known for jazz fusion and progressive but his collaborations and solo works span many styles. The performer is spending the first part of 2009 touring Europe and the States, leading various line-ups. The Allan Holdsworth Band performed at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, New Jersey on April 22, 2009 and when the band hit the stage it was the start of a run of dates in the Tri-State region that would also find them in Connecticut, Long Island and featured in a prestigious four-night residency at New York City's lauded Iridium Jazz Club. The trio included Ernest Tibbs on bass and Chad Wackerman on drums.

Allan Holdsworth in Concert!
Allan Holdsworth onstage with his compact Steinberger guitar.

Allan is admired for his strong scalar sense that blends both arpeggiated and full chords to expand musical measures and meters. He uses volume swells to craft sounds akin to a saxophone and other horn instruments. Holdsworth is interested in guitar technology and is developing a baritone variation of the instrument. He is also experimenting with engineering tools.

Taking the Mexicali stage in timely fashion, the trio opened with "Fifth" composed by Chad. It was a blend of jazzy, spacey grooves. Holdsworth's string work was seamless as he sifted through complicated chord structures and the rhythm team was robust.

Allan played a Steinberger for the whole night - this small square guitar with a cut off neck made of carbon and mostly synthetic materials - were popularized in the 80's by the likes of Alex Lifeson and several other big artists. The sounds that Holdsworth conjured from this compact instrument were colorful and complex. Allan used both hand and foot effect pedals for additional textures and tones and all four of his amps were miked for quadraphonic sound.

Ernest Tibbs was armed with a six string bass with a wide neck. His range went from thick and thunderous (but never overpowering) to slim and subtle. Chad complimented both players with his crashing yet caressing approach to the drums.

Allan Holdsworth in Concert!
Ernest Tibbs on bass and Chad Wackerman on drums during their Mexicali Live concert.

"Fred" was a free flowing piece with varied musical paces. Allan's fret work was concise with assorted progressions propelled by bold bass lines and dynamic drumming. Besides a few comments and thank yous, Allan let the music do the talking and the next instrumental was a musical conversation with creative spacing. The song segued into a rocking jazzy jam with drums taking center stage.

In the tradition of jazz, each player had opportunities to solo and demonstrate their skills. Musicianship was center stage as the fourth instrumental traveled through harrowing hues of fast fret work, beguiling bass lines, dense drumming and spooky sounds emanating from Holdsworth's small guitar.

The eight-song set gave Allan ample time to illustrate his agile articulate playing in a range of styles. Rhythms ran the gamut from pattering to pulsing. The seventh song before the encore was amazing. Using a tad of treble effect, Allan added textures to a composition that had brawny, brilliant bass lines. The tempo of the tune changed a number of times closing with tribal like drumming and a bass guitar banter.

The concert concluded with a funky jam with fast paced rhythms and more innovative guitar effects thus demonstrating why Allan is so well respected for his past and present work, masterful playing and innovative experimentation.

Mexicali Live is a premier venue for food and music. They feature a varied mix of first class players such as Allan Holdsworth. The room is intimate with good sound. Often, as in the case of Allan show, a local chapter of the School of Rock opens for the headliner. Parents can have a meal and support their children's musical endeavors. Thus, Mexicali Live supports established and up and coming artists.

Allan Holdsworth in Concert!
Allan Holdsworth spent time in the bands UK and Level 42.

Related Links: For more information on ALLAN HOLDSWORTH and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Allan Holdsworth | MexicaliLive.com

Allan Holdsworth CD

(Originally Published on April 25, 2009)

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