The Music Lounge

Death of Allan Holdsworth

British jazz-rock guitarist Allan Holdsworth dies aged seventy….

Sad to hear via John McLaughlin’s Twitter feed of the death of the virtuoso guitarist Allan Holdsworth at seventy years of age. With a career spanning four decades, a dozen solo albums and scores of guest appearances, the British guitarist was known for his incredible technique and effortless soloing.

A ‘guitarist’s guitarist’, Holdsworth was described by Eddie Van Halen in a 1981 interview as ‘number one’, his flowing soloing style paved the way for the next generation of guitarists to come through the 80s and 90s, Joe Satriani cited him as a huge influence as he took this style into a new, fresh direction. He was an independent artist, when Eddie Van Halen convinced Warner Brothers of his value he was promptly dropped after one, twenty four minute record through his annoyance at the label’s terms of business. His record sales were hardly prolific and his tenures in bands such as Soft Machine, Gong and Tony Williams Lifetime were short-lived and ill-timed.

Jazz-Rock enjoyed its heyday in the 1970s, whilst it was a genre for a very specific audience there can be no doubting the musicianship of those who drove it. For an artist who suffered from stage fright he never missed a note, he was an artist who remained true to his craft and was hugely admired by those who listened.

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