Holdsworth Pasqua Haslip Wackerman - Blues For Tony

(CD 2009, 52:20 / 38:06, Moonjune Records MJR029)

The tracks:
CD1:
  1- Blues for Tony
  2- Fifth, The
  3- It Must Be Jazz
  4- Fred
  5- Guitar Intro
  6- Pud Wud
CD2:
  1- Looking Glass
  2- To Jaki, George and Thad
  3- San Michele
  4- Protocosmos
  5- Red Alert

Allan Holdsworth Website     Alan Pasqua Website    
Jimmy Haslip Website     Chad Wackerman Website     
samples        Moonjune Records


It really took some time to release this album, for the recordings hail from 2007, same time as I saw them play live in Hellendoorn, Holland. This was a great concert, especially because some friends from Finland and one from France came to Holland to see this great quartet.
All four members took the time to talk to us and I had a nice chat with Chad Wackerman and Alan Pasqua, sadly Allan Holdsworth and Jimmy Haslip were too occupied talking to our foreign friends, so I did not get a chance to talk to them. The concert was great, same as the album is, which is edited by Jimmy Haslip and he did a real good job.

The overall sound of this 2 CD feature is very clear. All four instruments are perfectly in balance, the audience is there, but like the most people that like fusion, they donít scream like madmen when one of the artists plays a solo. A fusion audience prefers to listen and enjoy the music, holding and drinking some beers, even the eyes closed sometimes. But on occasion you can hear them show their appreciation for what these masters can do.

No wonder with musicians like these guys. Guitarist Allan Holdsworth has been recording music since the late sixties and has played on numerous recordings, like U.K. and even played on a Level 42 album, he is a real musicianís musician. He has a typical sound, which many guitarists have tried to copy and younger guitarists look up to this master of the (syntaxe) guitar. Just listen to the songs Guitar Intro and Pud Wud.
Like the other Allan, Alan Pasqua has played on many albums and even was a member of the late eighties rockband Giant, But his solo work always has to do with fusion and jazz-rock. He is a great keyboard player and on this album five of the songs are from his hand. On a song like To Jaki, George And Thad, you can hear the true genius of this man.
Jimmy Haslip is not only the steady bottomline of this quartet, but also one of the founding members of Yellowjackets and he participated on the Jing Chi albums, which are collaborations with Robben Ford and Vinnie Colaiuta.
It Must Be Jazz and the main riff of Red Alert are showcases of this marvellous bass player.
Again another playerís player is Chad Wackerman. He played with the late and great Frank Zappa and he toured with many famous musicians. In the song Blues For Tony he shows in a solo spot what he can do, but throughout the whole album, he is performing great.

If you donít like fusion it could be worth trying this album. After a few shots you might start liking this. For us fusion lovers, this album is a showcase of what happens when you put four of the finest fusion players on a stage. I just love this kind of music!

****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Astrid de Ronde)

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