Allan Holdsworth – A Legendary Jazz Fusion Guitarist

The synthaxe, a very interesting MIDI controller, approximately in the form of an electric guitar. Image source: Commons Wikimedia

Allan Holdsworth was a legendary English jazz fusion/jazz rock, instrumental rock, and progressive rock guitarist. Allan Holdsworth was born on 6 August 1946 in Bradford, England and passed away on 15 April 2017 at the age of 70 in Vista, California, U.S. Holdsworth was an extremely technical and influential guitarist who inspired big names of the rock music scene such as, most notably among others, Eddie Van Halen (of Van Halen), Joe Satriani, John Petrucci (of Dream Theater), Alex Lifeson (of Rush), Yngwie Malmsteen, or John Frusciante (of Red Hot Chilli Peppers). Frank Zappa and John McLaughlin (of Mahavishnu Orchestra) also respected Allan Holdsworth for his fantastic mastering of the electric guitar and his overall musicianship.

Apart from his amazing talent and great command on the electric guitar, Allan Holdsworth also played on the synthaxe, a very interesting guitar-shaped MIDI controller (a hybrid electronic instrument, if you will).

Throughout his long career and posthumously, Holdsworth 13 studio albums between 1976 and 2016, 11 live albums between 1997 and 2022, 3 compilations between 1980 and 2009. In addition, he also had many collaborations with other artists and bands such as Soft Machine, Jean-Luc Ponty, Krokus, or Level 42.

He also published 3 books as follows:

  • Reaching for the Uncommon Chord (Hal Leonard Corporation) in 1987;
  • Just for the Curious (Warner Bros.) in 1994;
  • Melody Chords for Guitar (Centerstream Publications).

Here can watch a brief interview with Allan Holdsworth regarding his passion, dedication, and professionalism on guitar. Being highly esteemed and critically praised for his unique playing style and inventiveness, he was truly one of the most magnificent musical geniuses of the 20th century and one of the best jazz fusion guitarists ever.

Image source: Spotify

Fun facts/trivia: Two notable hobbies of his were cycling and beer making after he moved to the United States. Below you can listen to a personal selection of a few great songs by the legendary English guitarist Allan Holdsworth. Enjoy and all the best!

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