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Allan Holdsworth: All Night Wrong

Incredibly, All Night Wrong (Favored Nations) is Allan Holdsworth’s first “official” live album, made at the Roppongi Pit Inn in Japan in May 2002, with two longtime collaborators, former Zappa drummer Chad Wackerman and bassist Jimmy Johnson. Holdsworth’s guitar improvisations are about as complex as they get without flying over your head completely. Holdsworth, as is well known, is a guitarist’s guitarist who doesn’t consider himself a jazz player yet whose music can barely be called rock. Virtually cliche-free, Holdsworth isn’t someone you can categorize; listen to “Alphrazallan” for evidence of this. His uncompromising music doesn’t come to you; you have to go to it. Holdsworth’s intensely focused, fearsomely long solos make their point by cramming more notes into the square inch than you might think is humanly possible, such as on “Funnels,” and with Wackerman’s fill-every-crack drumming, it can make for exhausting listening. Usually at one dynamic level, it’s like being trapped in a conversation where you can’t get a word in edgeways.

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