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13903299_10208773200900449_850516844019938816_nAfternoon, Easter Sunday 2017…I’m sitting at my desk scrolling through Facebook and I see a nice photo of Allan Holdsworth sitting on the floor with his two daughters and a granddaughter, holding his guitars. Sweet, then I’m totally shocked to find Louise Holdsworth letting us know Allan passed away, only 70.

Like many other guitarists of my generation, when I first heard Allan, I knew he was different. He redefined what a guitar sounded like, magic chords shimmering with electricity and solo lines snaking away from already ambiguous harmony.

One post high school week, both the Bruford and UK albums showed up at the local record store and since I was keeping track of Bill Bruford’s band hopping after leaving both Yes and King Crimson…these were mandatory purchases.  Holdsworth’s fast lines were already legend to some, but suburban David hadn’t heard them yet…this was outta sight, guitar far removed from the blues rock of my early teen years. Eventually I became familiar with his earlier music, appearances  on albums by Tony Williams, Soft Machine and others.

Eventually the new IOU album with it’s black cover also showed up and introduced us to another new sound, his fresh intuitive harmony…many of his chords a stretch from what most guitarists could reach. I’d never heard anything like it before.

By the time I got to hear the Bruford band in Asbury Park at the Fast Lane, Holdsworth was outta the group, replaced by John Clark. Finally I caught Allan at the Bottom Line, NYC. He was talking to someone in front of the stage before the show, so I shook his hand and asked for an autograph. His hand was shaking, possibly nerves. The next time I heard him in NY, the applause was so loud, the band couldn’t hear themselves…lost their groove for a few moments during the opening composition.

One band I caught at the Ritz, NYC featured Allan with Stanley Clarke, Randy Brecker and Steve Smith, apparently an unrecorded supergroup. Another time at Rutgers, with a Q&A before the show…students asking silly questions, Allan showing off his Synthaxe.

In the early ’90s, I was running around the NAMM show in Anaheim, Ca, taking care of business and noticed Allan sitting at the Carvin booth, signing autographs. I’m sorry I couldn’t stop and chat, even though he couldn’t have possibly remembered me.

A radical, brilliant, humble musician passing away far before his time.

Berlin, Stewart, Bruford and Holdsworth

The ultimate progrock band, Bruford: Jeff Berlin, Dave Stewart, Bill Bruford and Allan Holdsworth.

Albums never released on CD…

John Abercrombie has been on innumerable sessions over the years, many of them have never been released on CD. Straight Flight (JAM 5001) aka Direct Flight (DSP-5015) was recorded in March 1979 with the same rhythm section – George Mraz (bass), Peter Donald (drums) – that appear on his ECM quartet albums from that period. Straight Flight gives us to an excellent chance to hear Abercrombie playing standards during that time. I’ve never seen a copy, but I’ve been told there were many copies in the discount bins when it went out of print.

The First Quartet box on ECM includes Beirach on piano.

Beautiful Friendship (Concord CJ 243) by Canadian bassist Don Thompson features Abercrombie (guitar) and Michael Smith (drums). Dave Holland fills in on bass when Thompson plays piano.

John Abercrombie Trio

Straight Flight (JAM 5001)

In Your Own Sweet Way
My Foolish Heart

Bessie’s Blues
There Is No Greater Love 
Beautiful Love 

John Abercrombie – guitars
George Mraz – bass
Peter Donald – drums

Don Thompson

Beautiful Friendship (Concord CJ 243)

Even Steven

My One and Only Love

Blues for Jim-San

I’ve Never Been in Love Before

For Scott La Faro

A Beautiful Friendship

Ease It


Don Thompson – bass, piano
John Abercrombie – guitars

Michael Smith – drums
Dave Holland – bass

Folks, Marco Oppedisano is from Brooklyn and he writes guitar music. Listen:

recorded in December 2016 by the Quarto Ensamble.

Marco Oppedisano

Quarto Ensamble

Score and parts are available for purchase/streaming at:
Music by Marco Oppedisano
Out Your Ear (ASCAP)

Two very out of print albums on ECM records, probably never released on CD. Maybe some kind of re-release is in order?

ECM 1206
David Samuels – vibraphone, marimba
Paul McCandless – oboe, english horn, soprano saxophone
David Darling – cello
Ratzo Harris – upright bass
Michael DiPasqua – drums, percussion
Double Image – Dawn
ECM 1146
David Samuels – vibraphone, marimba
David Friedman – vibraphone, marimba
Harvie Swartz – bass
Michael DiPasqua – drums, percussion

Not a jazz guitarist in any conventional sense, but an improviser of eloquence and imagination, nor strictly a classical guitarist, Ralph Towner is a category unto himself. originally a pianist, he has always sought to access on guitar the piano’s harmonic potential…

As a guitarist who specialises in solo concerts of original compositions and improvisation, I often think of myself as a raconteur of the abstract. It’s my contention that music unfolds to the listener as does a work of literature, only without the specific meanings of written or spoken words.

Each time I plant myself on stage before an audience, I proceed from the first sound to attempt to develop a musical continuity that will draw the listener into a world populated with a cast of sonic characters playing out an existence replete with all the emotions that could be suggested in a play or any work of literature.

Before a concert I choose from a list of pieces that I have composed, each of which has a unique quality that establishes a particular atmosphere that I can develop further with improvisation. I always begin with an improvised introduction to a composition, feeling out the sound of the room and the energy in the audience. An advantage of being an improvising soloist is that you are free to alter, or depart from, the form of a piece at any point if you sense that the ‘story’ needs a turn of events. In this respect, I consider myself as part of the audience, and if all is going well, I am swept along with everyone as to the shape and course the music takes.

Music, in my opinion, is a social art that combines the energies and contributions of multiple musicians and listeners. Being a soloist seems antithetical to this notion, but I feel the cultivation and imaginative use of a broad variety of musical colours and techniques invest the music with an orchestral aura that transcends the audience’s perception that it is being produced by a single player. Once the music has begun, it ceases to be a matter of how many are playing and what instruments are being played, and becomes rather a passage into a world of infinite sounds that are completely personal to each listener. The less self-conscious the audience and performer become, the better the concert. The most drastic difference for the solo player is that at the conclusion of the concert, the pleasure of discussing the concert you just played with the other musicians in the group isn’t possible. It is ironic that much of my sense of musical interaction in a solo piece has been cultivated by playing in group situations.

So far I haven’t felt any loss of fascination for the art of music. The guitar, for me, has always been an instrument with a bottomless reservoir of musical colours and possibilities. It continues to be a passport into a wondrous realm, and I am grateful for this.

– Ralph Towner, “‘Horizons Touched”

Ralph Towner
Osunbruck, Germany
May 22 & 23, 1998.

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