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Allan Holdsworth — The Sixteen Men of Tain (March 2000)

Allan Holdsworth — The Sixteen Men of Tain (March 2000)

  Allan Holdsworth — The Sixteen Men of Tain 
♦   British guitarist with a liquid sound and a two–handed attack that influenced future tapping specialists from Stanley Jordan to Eddie Van Halen.
♦   All About Jazz described The Sixteen Men of Tain as a “very comfortable listen” and recommended it highly, whilst noting that the album is less rock–orientated than past Holdsworth releases. David R. Adler at AllMusic gave it 4.5 stars out of five, calling it “startlingly superb” and “full of fresh ideas and unadulterated improvisational brilliance”. Both reviews also highlighted Holdsworth’s more restrained use of the SynthAxe, an instrument featured prominently on all of his albums since Atavachron (1986).Born: 6 August 1946, Bradford, West Yorkshire, England
Notable instruments: SynthAxe
Location:  San Diego, California
Genre: Fusion / Free Jazz / Jazz–Rock
Album release: March 2000
Recorded: Late 1999 at The Brewery in North County, San Diego
Record Label: Cream Records, JMS 18713–2
Duration:
Tracks:
01. 0274      7:46
02. The Sixteen Men Of Tain      6:26
03. Above And Below      3:09
04. The Drums Were Yellow      5:58
05. Texas      5:45
06. Downside Up      7:07
07. Eidolon      4:37
08. Above And Below (Reprise)      4:07
Written by:
♦   01—03 + 05 + 07—08 (Allan Holdsworth)
♦   04 (Holdsworth, Gary Novak)
♦   06 (Chad Wackerman)
Musicians:
♦   Allan Holdsworth / guitar, synthaxe
♦   Dave Carpenter / acoustic bass, electric bass
♦   Walt Fowler / trumpet (tracks 1 & 5)
♦   Gary Novak / drums
♦   Chad Wackerman / drums (track 6)
Description:
♦   Fuse Magazine reviewer Geof O’Keefe, ““The Sixteen Men Of Tain” finds Mr. Holdsworth performing in a trio setting backed by Dave Carpenter on acoustic bass and Gary Novak on drums. Utilizing his trademark volume swells and sometimes Metheny–esque chordal patterns as a background, he nimbly dances around the melodies of the songs before launching into solos of such speed and beauty as to leave the listener breathless. The opener “0274” is a good example, beginning with a gentle, airy wash of chording and interplay with Novak’s nimble, busy (in the best way) drumming. The intensity gradually builds as Holdsworth almost casually starts his solo, increasing in speed and dazzling the ear as his fluid lines often become an aural blur, yet always staying melodically in line with the changing chord patterns behind him." This excellent Holdworthian German–import release does nothing to alter the oft–quoted perception of Sir Allan as a guitar god. Pick it up! ♦   http://www.guitar9.com/AllMusic Review by David R. Adler;  Score: ****½
♦   Coming on the heels of some rather mediocre efforts, The Sixteen Men of Tain is startlingly superb. Holdsworth has stripped away the distracting banks of keyboards and allowed his soaring, gliding guitar to shine through in a way it hasn’t since the 1980s. Even the Synthaxe, Holdsworth’s signature guitar synthesizer, sounds organic and immediate, not to mention far less prevalent than on previous albums. Dave Carpenter’s acoustic bass is a radical departure (check out his solo on the title track), as are Walt Fowler’s two guest appearances on trumpet. “The Drums Were Yellow,” a burning guitar/drum duet tribute to the late Tony Williams, is also a first. Gary Novak’s drumming is appropriately complex and riveting on this and six other tracks. ♦   (Holdsworth’s old compatriot Chad Wackerman sits in for “Downside Up.”) In short, this album is full of fresh ideas and unadulterated improvisational brilliance — just when it was beginning to seem that Holdsworth’s best work was behind him.
♦   http://www.allmusic.com/Credits:
♦   Duncan Aldrich Engineer, Mixing
♦   Chris Bellman Mastering
♦   Dave Carpenter Bass (Acoustic), Bass (Electric), Caricatures
♦   James P. Carse Liner Notes
♦   Eddie Coralnick Photography
♦   Walt Fowler Trumpet
♦   Mark Gleed Art Direction, Design
♦   Richard Heath Liner Notes
♦   Allan Holdsworth Composer, Engineer, Guitar, Mixing, Producer, Synthaxe
♦   Eddie Jobson Executive Producer
♦   Gary Novak Composer, Drums
♦   Kevin Quinn Art Direction, Design
♦   Shawn Smith Art Producer
♦   Tom Voli Executive Producer
♦   Chad Wackerman     Composer, Drums, Guest Artist
Interview with Allan Holdsworth
Steve Adelson | Twentieth Century Guitar Magazine, September 01, 2000
♦   https://web.archive.org/web/20061214161937/http://steveadelson.com/index.php?sec=reports&sub=interviews&tmp=interview.php&f=/content/interviews/holdsworth-090902.php
YouTube Full Album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSqz17gtv8U
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Allan Holdsworth — The Sixteen Men of Tain (March 2000)

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