Allan Holdsworth Quartet

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Holdsworth & Co. A New Side Of Allan’s Music. (Guitar 1980)

Although he is known to most electric guitar fans, and regarded by many as one of the world's best and most distinctive guitarists, Allan Holdsworth has never achieved a widespread popularity or success. The main reason is that apart from occasional gigs with the nebulous Allan Holdsworth Quartet, he has always played in other people's bands, notably UK, Tony William's Lifetime, the Bill Bruford Band and Soft Machine. This year sees the beginning of a new project which may do much to change that - a trio called Holdsworth & Co in which Allan will play guitar and sing, Gary Husband will play drums and piano, and the bassist will be a player whose name we cannot divulge for contractual reasons, but who is at present playing in another well known band. Allan is very excited about Holdsworth & Co, as he feels it will enable him to show a hitherto unknown side of his playing and music. He played us a demo tape recorded with Jack Bruce and Jon Hiseman of tunes the band will perform, numbers in which the balance of strong melody and instrumental ability is well maintained, and featuring some beautiful chordal work from Allan, as well as his unique ability to play fast legato passages. He says that Holdsworth & Co will sound different but certainly as good, and they commence a European and British tour in Hamburg on April 8. They will release an album later in the year, perhaps on ECM.

What has happened to the Allan Holdsworth Quartet?

That was never a real group, because we only used to do one-off gigs, and there were different guys in the band every time. We never had a repertoire as such, and I got really sick of it, playing in front of people after working out tunes 10 minutes beforehand. I got tired of that and wanted to be more organised, and I think a three-piece is the most direct way to get to it, in the beginning anyway, even if we add to it later. It's very direct, and definitely heading in a specific direction, although I couldn't explain what that is. I feel that I've been living for it in a way.