Allan Holdsworth

Allan Holdsworth
Holdsworth performing with U.K. at the Beacon Theatre, c. 1978
Background information
Born(1946-08-06)6 August 1946
Bradford, England
Died15 April 2017(2017-04-15) (aged 70)
Vista, California, US
GenresJazz fusion, instrumental rock, progressive rock
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, producer
InstrumentsGuitar, SynthAxe
Years active1969–2017
LabelsEidolon Efformation
Associated acts'Igginbottom, Nucleus, Tempest, Soft Machine, The New Tony Williams Lifetime, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, John Stevens, Jean-Luc Ponty, Bill Bruford, U.K., Gordon Beck, Gary Husband, Jack Bruce, Chad Wackerman, Level 42, Planet X, HoBoLeMa
External video
Oral History, Allan Holdsworth reflects on his worry that he'll some day wake up without new ideas. Interview date June 3, 2011, NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Oral History Library

Allan Holdsworth (6 August 1946 – 15 April 2017)[1] was a British guitarist and composer. He released twelve studio albums as a solo artist and played a variety of musical styles in a career spanning more than four decades, but is best known for his work in jazz fusion.

Holdsworth was known for his advanced knowledge of music, through which he incorporated a vast array of complex chord progressions and intricate solos; the latter comprising myriad scale forms often derived from those such as the diminished, augmented, whole tone, chromatic and altered scales, among others, resulting in an unpredictable and "outside" sound. His unique legato soloing technique stemmed from his original desire to play the saxophone. Having been unable to afford one, he strove to use the guitar to create similarly smooth lines of notes. He also become associated with playing an early form of guitar synthesizer called the SynthAxe, a company he endorsed in the 1980s.

Holdsworth was cited as an influence by a host of rock, metal and jazz guitarists such as Eddie Van Halen,[2] Joe Satriani,[3] Greg Howe,[4] Shawn Lane,[5] Richie Kotzen,[6] John Petrucci,[7] Alex Lifeson,[8] Kurt Rosenwinkel,[9] Yngwie Malmsteen,[10] Michael Romeo,[11] Ty Tabor,[12] and Tom Morello.[13] Frank Zappa once lauded him as "one of the most interesting guys on guitar on the planet",[14] while Robben Ford has said: "I think Allan Holdsworth is the John Coltrane of the guitar. I don't think anyone can do as much with the guitar as Allan Holdsworth can."[15]

Early life

Holdsworth was born in Bradford, where he was raised by his maternal grandparents, Sam and Elsie Holdsworth.[16] Sam Holdsworth was a jazz pianist who had previously moved to London to pursue a career in music, but he eventually returned to Bradford.[17] Holdsworth was given his first guitar at the age of 17 and received his initial music tuition from his grandfather. His professional career began when he joined the Glen South Band, which performed on the Mecca club circuit across Northern England.

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