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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Allan Holdsworth

Jarasum Jazz Festival 2014

Review by Gary Hill

I'm not shy about the fact that I think Allan Holdsworth is the greatest guitarist to ever live. This new release captures a 2014 concert. His band is a three-piece consisting of himself, Jimmy Haslip (bass) and Gary Husband (drums). They make their way through a stunning fusion performance that really showcases the talent and magic of the band. Not only do you get the CD, but this also includes a DVD of the show, and that DVD is shot in HD, so it looks and sounds great. The DVD also includes an interview with Haslip. You can't get much better than this for a live Holdsworth release.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Texas
A short burst of drums brings this in, and from there we're taken into some classy fusion that's at once reflective and expressive. There is some seriously amazing music on this.
Fred
While not a huge change, this is another smoking hot fusion jam. It has some great twists and turns.
Water On the Brain - Pt. II
The bass work on this thing is on fire. The focus of the tune is more on the rhythm section, but this is in the same basic vein beyond that.
Devil Take The Hindmost
I really dig some of the crazed angular things here. As much as this lives in the same basic territory at that which has come before, this is a decidedly different piece of music. The guitar just shreds after the halfway mark as the drums pound away in the background.
Gas Lamp Blues
I really dig the bass work on this cut so much. It's another classy fusion piece that works particularly well. The guitar soloing is purely on fire, but then again, with Holdsworth, what else would you expect? This includes an extensive drum solo.
Above And Below
This piece is a big change. It's more atmospheric and textural. The mellower modes hold it from start to finish. Subtlety is its particular magic.
Leave Them On
I love the rubbery bass work on this thing. The track has a killer groove to it There are some spacey elements along with the standard fusion concepts. There are some shifts to unusual musical concepts here and there, but this is one of the more mainstream pieces here. The bass gets to show off a bit later in the number.
Letters Of Marque
Here is another song that features some amazing bass work. It has a nice balance between more direct sounds and more sedate ones. The later section where Holdsworth just lets fly the soloing is so strong. This is another piece to include a drum solo.
Red Alert
This comes right out of the gate pounding and driving, and it doesn't let up from there. The cut is one of the highlights of the disc. It's exceptionally intense and fiery.
The Un-Merry-Go-Round Part 5
They close things with a more melodic, but still dramatic fusion piece.
 
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