Allan Holdsworth has died!

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Allan Holdsworth has died!

#1  Postby Tangerine Dream » Apr 20, 2017 11:47 pm

Allan Holdsworth, who has died aged 70, was a contrary kind of guitar hero – one given to implying that he would rather have played the saxophone, who disliked the sound of much of his own work and who chose anonymity for much of his long career over star status. But if Holdsworth, a stern-faced, tentacle-fingered and all-but-motionless onstage performer, was a private and self-critical individual, some of the world’s leading guitarists in rock, pop and jazz held different opinions about him, and often expressed them in terms closer to declarations of devotion than simply technical admiration.

Frank Zappa regarded Holdsworth as a gamechanger for the electric guitar, a player who perfected blazingly fast techniques without sacrificing character, naturalness or emotion. The smooth-jazz hitmaker George Benson, ostensibly the edgy Holdsworth’s musical opposite, said: “He’s not trying new things, he’s mastering them.” The hard-rock virtuoso Eddie Van Halen revered him, and the former Deep Purple guitarist Joe Satriani told Guitar Player magazine that “his brilliant approach to harmony is completely original, beautiful and spellbinding”. The guitarist John McLaughlin has wryly admitted he would have been happy to borrow just about anything his fellow Yorkshireman invented, if only he could have figured out how it was done.

Holdsworth played in some of the most original hybrid bands drawing on jazz, prog rock and early electronica in the 1970s. He preceded those achievements by devoting three years of his early 20s to the exhaustive personal reappraisal of scales, intervals and chords (he once said his notes from the process wound up “five phonebooks high”) that made his improvising sound so mysteriously different, and his unusually large hands and long fingers allowed him to bridge intervals more acrobatically than most guitarists could.

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