Holdsworth, Pasqua, Haslip, Wackerman
Holdsworth, Pasqua, Haslip, Wackerman was a group that toured as a tribute to Tony Williams, playing material mainly by Holdsworth and Pasqua. The group released the DVD "Live At Yoshi's", and the live albums "Blues For Tony" and "Proto Cosmos". The "Blues For Tony" album was culled from a German radio broadcast, while the DVD and the "Proto Cosmos" album feature somewhat overlapping edits from the concerts at Yoshi's in 2006.
Summary of quotes on Holdsworth, Pasqua, Haslip, Wackerman
Allan Holdsworth discusses his collaboration with Alan Pasqua in a tribute to Tony Williams. They planned to honor the late drummer by revisiting their past music. They considered recording new material for a studio record. Holdsworth also mentions his aversion to live recordings. The "Blues for Tony" project, featuring a quartet with Yellowjackets bassist Jimmy Haslip and drummer Chad Wackerman, originated from a bootleg recording and was released as a live record.
Quotes on Holdsworth, Pasqua, Haslip, Wackerman
MM: Tell me about the Jimmy Haslip, Alan Pasqua, Chad Wackerman “Lifetime Tribute” dates in Europe coming up soon.
AH: It’s actually some old stuff and new stuff. We doing it very similar to the way we did it in “Lifetime”. We’re coming in with music that’s not quite finished pieces and experimenting with it as we go. I haven’t done it that way in a long time and it’s great. It’s challenging getting my butt kicked, it’s great.
MM: Are there any chances of recordings with this band?
A: Well, not in Europe, but there’s a good chance that if we all come out of it with a smile on our face then we probably will back in the states…hopefully, it would be nice to think that we could do something. (note: Jimmy Haslip has also expressed great interest in doing a recording with this band and has told me that Allan is just ridiculous in rehearsals playing incredible solos then spends the twenty minutes after rehearsals apologizing for how bad he played)
TCG: So what’s going on, you just got back from Japan?
AH: Yeah, we did...I met and hooked up with this guy, Leonardo at Moonjune Records...
TCG: Oh yeah!
AH: Since hooked up with him, he’s pretty much kept us busy. We did a tour... I’m actually working with two bands right now - my old band, with Jimmy Johnson and Chad Wackerman. Then I’ve been doing this thing with a co-op band with Alan Pasqua, myself, Jimmy Haslip and Chad Wackerman. So we did an East Coast tour with my band, Chad and Jimmy Johnson, and then we just went to Japan with the other band, Alan Pasqua, Jimmy Haslip and Chad and were going to Europe with that same band, actually, next week.
TCG: You have a new DVD out with the Alan Pascua-Allan Holdsworth project,
AH: Yeah, if it hadn’t been for the fact that the other guys, you know, I try to stay away from live recordings because every time hear myself just want to commit suicide (laughter). But the thing was, that the other guys were really into it so I went along with it (laughter), and it was done by this guy, Eric Dorris, who has this company called Altitude Digital.
You’ve recently been touring with Alan Pasqua as part of a tribute to Tony Williams project. What inspired you guys to make this happen?
Alan was on the road in Europe and a promoter suggested the idea. He said “Why don’t you get back together with Allan?” That planted a seed and we spoke to each other to see if it could work. I used to call Alan once in awhile, usually because I was listening to one of his albums. I really love his playing. So, we thought “Let’s do a little tribute to Tony.” We had a rehearsal and it was going well. We tried it as an experiment and we’ll see what happens. We’re talking about doing a studio record with new material as a tribute to Tony. It’s been 30 years since I last played with Tony. It makes you realize how old you are.
You allowed an album to be released without hearing it? That seems really unlike you.
It makes me cringe, but we played the gig, it was recorded, somebody has the recording, so why not put it out? I can’t stand listening to myself. I never listen to live recordings. If I did, I would just quit. I haven’t even seen the new Live at Yoshi’s DVD. I can’t watch it. I heard a few bars and said “Oh no. Stop.” I can’t do anything about these things. Personally, I would choose not to do any live stuff because everyone does it for you. I must have at least 200 bootleg CDs that were sent to me personally from the live gigs that someone else recorded. So, why would anyone need any more? There are hundreds of recordings out there.
Though short-lived, the Tony Williams New Lifetime made a significant impact on the mid-’70s fusion scene. Now, three decades later, Holdsworth and Pasqua are paying tribute to the late drummer and their former bandleader in a special edition quartet featuring Yellowjackets bassist Jimmy Haslip and drummer Chad Wackerman. The all-star group first documented its explosive chemistry in a concert DVD filmed in 2006 at Yoshi’s in Oakland. A year later, while on tour in Europe, a performance was recorded by a Berlin radio station. That live recording has recently been released on the progressive rock/fusion label Moonjune as Blues for Tony. On this two-CD set, the guitarist unleashes in typically awe-inspiring fashion on Pasqua’s title track and “Protocosmos,” Newton’s “Red Alert,” Wackerman’s “The Fifth” and Holdsworth originals like “Pud Wud,” “Looking Glass” and the anthemic “Fred.”
Since we’re talking about great drummers, the most recent Allan Holdsworth release is the live record “Blues for Tony.” What made you want to revisit the music that you played with Tony Williams?
It wasn’t so much that, as I simply just got back together with Alan Pasqua. We hadn’t performed together since those days when we were in Tony’s group. We just thought that would be a great place to start. Even though Alan has played keyboards on some of my records as a guest soloist, we never did any live playing since then. “Blues for Tony” was originally a bootleg, and it wasn’t something that we really planned to do. But somebody else had already made a bootleg copy, and most of that was from one concert in Germany. We just decided to release the same record on our own, kind of like what Frank Zappa did with his “Beat the Boots” series of records.