ALLAN HOLDSWORTH — Blues for Tony (with Alan Pasqua, Jimmy Haslip & Chad Wackerman)

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ALLAN HOLDSWORTH - Blues for Tony (with Alan Pasqua, Jimmy Haslip & Chad Wackerman) cover
3.67 | 5 ratings | 2 reviews
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Live album · 2009

Filed under Fusion
By ALLAN HOLDSWORTH

Tracklist

1-1 Blues For Tony 11:12
1-2 The Fifth 8:58
1-3 It Must Be Jazz 8:38
1-4 Fred 9:56
1-5 Guitar Intro 3:35
1-6 Pud Wud 9:59
2-1 Looking Glass 10:07
2-2 To Jaki, George And Thad 4:51
2-3 San Michele 11:31
2-4 Protocosmos 5:46
2-5 Red Alert 5:50

Line-up/Musicians

- Allan Holdsworth / guitar
- Alan Pasqua / keyboards
- Jimmy Haslip / bass
- Chad Wackerman / drums

About this release

Moonjune Records ‎– MJR029 (US)

Recorded live in 2007

Thanks to js for the addition and snobb for the updates

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ALLAN HOLDSWORTH JIMMY HASLIP & CHAD WACKERMAN) BLUES FOR TONY (WITH ALAN PASQUA reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

js
'Blues for Tony' is a collection of live cuts from a Tony Williams New Lifetime tribute band made up of ex-Lifetimers Allan Holdsworth and Alan Pasqua, with Jimmy Haslip on bass and Chad Wackerman filling in for the deceased legendary Tony on drums. This is an extremely talented band and their take on modern jazz fusion is both intellectual and virtuoustic, unfortunately though, like a lot of modern fusion the music on here seems directed at a ‘musicians only’ audience. None the less, musicians will find a lot to like here. Holdsworth’s guitar work is flawless and a little more aggressive than usual and Pasqua returns to a more 70s pseudo analog sound with fierce distorted faux Fender Rhodes solos that recall a youthful Herbie Hancock.

Some album highlights on disc one include Pasqua’s hard bop swingin piano solo on 'It must be Jazz' and his extended aggressive distorted electric piano ride on the remake of Holdsworth’s New Lifetime fusion classic, 'Fred'. This disc closes with a beautiful ethereal guitar intro from Holdsworth on his ironically titled 'Pud Wud'.

Disc two opens with 'Looking Glass', which epitomizes what is so wrong with so much of modern fusion; a listless beat that lacks a defined pulse but allows for endless fills from the drums and bass, ethereal chord progressions that seem to modulate upwards but really go nowhere, and lengthy solos that give the effect of ‘building’, but also go nowhere. Unfortunately Pasqua’s 'San Michele', which follows, seems to continue this more morose style of modern fusion at first. Fortunately this track is resurrected by Alan’s excellent bizarre psychedelic keyboard solo which leads to the more dissonant Mahavishnu styled outro and follow up tune, the energetic 'Protocosmos'. 'Red Alert' closes out disc two with some great high energy funk-rock with burning solos from both Al(l)ans and clears out the cobwebs from the disc opener.

Overall this double disc is best when Pasqua and gang avoid the pitfalls of modern limp-wrested fusion for music school grad students and go for the more hard funky/rockin 70s sound when this genre had some grit and genuine life force. This double disc live set is recommended for fans of Alan Holdsworth, and also Alan Pasqua who delivers some of the finest keyboard playing of his recorded career.

Members reviews

kev rowland
The Tony Williams Lifetime was founded in 1969 by drummer Tony Williams as a power trio with John McLaughlin on electric guitar, and Larry Young (aka Khalid Yasin) on organ. Their debut album ‘Emergency!’ is a classic and everyone interested in jazz or fusion should have a copy in their collection. The line-up changed over time (Jack Bruce was there for the second album) and in 1975 Tony formed a quartet he called The New Tony Williams Lifetime featuring bassist Tony Newton, pianist Alan Pasqua, and guitarist Allan Holdsworth. Some thirty odd years later Allan and Alan decided that the time was right to go on tour with a band to pay homage to those days, and recruited drummer Chad Wackerman (Zappa, Holdsworth) and bassist Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets) for the occasion.

This double CD set brings together the best versions from the whole tour, edited together so that the listener has a complete evening’s entertainment with no overdubs whatsoever (the DVD that is available is just from one night). The concept may have started as a tribute, but by the time that these songs were recorded it was morphing into a fusion band with a life of its’ own. This is jazz combined with prog as the guys bounce off each other and the note density and complexity of what is being performed is quite staggering. Allan has a fluidity that is rarely matched – just listen to the runs in “It Must Be Jazz” to see what I mean, but Alan does his best with some incredible electric piano/organ. The photo on the rear cover shows four guys with scores in front of them with simple lighting and no fancy gimmicks at all. This is all about the music, and the music is stunning. If you want music to be complex, played by guys at the very top of their game, then this is something to be savoured. www.moonjune.com

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