It brings us great sadness to report the passing of fusion-guitar legend, Allan Holdsworth. There aren’t many guitar players with as much universal influence as Holdsworth. As one of the greatest innovators in jazz fusion music, Holdsworth introduced the world to an entirely new language of guitar playing, developing a sound and style that really can’t be identified with any term other than “Holdsworthian”. Emerging alongside Tony Williams in “The New Tony William’s Lifetime”, in addition to his early works with bands like “Soft Machine” and violinist Jean Luc Ponte in the early 70’s, Holdsworth would go on to release his debut album, I.O.U., in 1982.

Known for his violin-like legato technique, and compelling atonal phrasing, Holdsworth changed the way many of us look at the electric guitar. There have been quite a few guitarists with styles inspired by the “Holdsworthian language”, including players like Tim Miller, Nico Stufano, Magnus Olsson, Marshall Harrison and a number of others. Needless to say, Holdsworth’s legacy will surely live on through his many works and collaborations, and through the musicians who continue to study and imitate his unique style of playing.

All of us at The Music Zoo extend our most sincere condolences to the family and close friends of Allan. We pay homage to his illustrious career with a few of his most iconic live moments below, featuring performances with Soft Machine, Jimmy Haslip, Chad Wackerman, and a few others. Also have a look at Holdsworth playing the Synthaxe, an instrument that became a staple of his music over the years.


RIP Allan Holdsworth


Allan performing the ever-popular tune “Proto Cosmos”, alongside Alan Pasqua, Chad Wackerman, and Jimmy Haslip


Allan solos in Tokyo in 1984 during a tour with vocalist Paul Williams


Allan performing with Soft Machine in the mid-1970s

Allan using the very rare “Synthaxe”

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