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The Sixteen Men of Tain

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Album Review

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. ~ David R. Adler, Rovi


Born: 06 August 1946 in Bradford, Yorkshire, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Guitarist Allan Holdsworth is widely considered to be one of the finest instrumentalists in all of jazz fusion, yet has never truly received the recognition that he so rightfully deserves. Born on August 6, 1946, in Bradford, Yorkshire, Holdsworth was originally taught music by his father, who was a pianist. Holdsworth didn't pick up the guitar until he was 17 years old, but learned the instrument quickly. After playing in local outfits (and learning the violin), Holdsworth relocated to London, where...
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The Sixteen Men of Tain, Allan Holdsworth
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