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Allan Holdsworth and Alan Pasqua

Allan Holdsworth and Alan Pasqua

 

Personnel:

Allan Holdsworth: Guitar
Alan Pasqua: Keyboards
Chad Wackerman: Drums
Jimmy Haslip: Bass

Tracks:

1. The Fifth
2. Looking Glass
3. Fred
4. It Must Be Jazz
5. Blues for Tony
6. San Michele
7. Pud Wud
8. Protocosmos
9. Red Alert

Filmed in high definition at Yoshi’s Jazz & Sushi Club
Sept. 29, 2006.
Approx. 90 minutes

Allan Holdsworth and Alan Pasqua

Allan Holdsworth and Alan Pasqua

Before I begin, I ask for your indulgence while I restate my gripe/rant/tirade about concert videos:

In my opinion, the main culprit that produces a bad concert film or video is the editing. There seem to be three unwritten “laws” that concert videos – produced in the age of the MTV attention span – follow religiously:

1. No shot will last more that five seconds. It’s like editors believe that after five seconds, you’ll immediately lose interest and fall asleep. The exception to this law is…
2. Any shot that does last more than five seconds must be an extreme close-up of someone’s head or hands. Could be anybody’s: band member, audience member, road crew, waitress, valet car parker…
3. During anyone’s solo, you must show anything other than the performing of the solo. These include but are not limited to unnecessary shots of the audience, non-concert shots (i.e., the line to the men’s restroom), “fancy playing action shots” (i.e., the drummer hitting a cymbal), more unnecessary shots of the audience, even more unnecessary shots of the audience, etc.

Because of these “laws”, most concert videos are virtually unwatchable. Directors and editors seem hell bent on manufacturing a “you are there concert experience” in videos. And in the process of trying to show you everything that happened, you see none of what you wanted to see. They insert and crosscut every single frame of footage shot to the point that the visuals are actually distracting, detracting, and annoying – the musicians and the MUSIC are an after-thought.

That I would get this DVD was a no-brainer. Holdsworth and Pasqua playing together again? Chad Wackerman on drums? One of the tunes is “Fred”! No way was I not going to get this DVD. I also expected it to feature another cut, paste, butchered and spliced editing job.

To my surprise, this DVD is actually pretty good to watch. Although it adheres excessively to the new “three second shot” law, most scene changes are fade-ins and not abrupt crosscuts. Thankfully, Yoshi’s is a small venue: audience shots are almost non-existent – trust me, you won’t miss them. The concert was filmed in “hi-def”, and looks gorgeous on the screen…as in LCD or plasma wide screen TV. The audio is available as a stereo and 5.1 surround-sound mix. Although the 5.1 doesn’t take full advantage of the rear speakers, the mix is generally great. For these reasons alone, I would recommend that you buy this DVD.

The music and musicians are icing on the cake.

The main attraction for my getting this DVD was the material from The New Tony Williams Lifetime period: especially “Fred” and “Protocosmos”. Allan Holdsworth seems to be embarrassed by anything he did in the mid-70’s thru mid-80’s. I’ve seen Allan in concert numerous times, and he’s never played New Lifetime songs. Maybe Allan sees revisiting this material at this stage of the game as a chance to finally do it “right”. However he was persuaded to do it, I’m thankful for the chance to hear new versions of these songs again.

And the band doesn’t disappoint. I don’t have enough adjectives in my vocabulary to praise Holdsworth’s playing. His stage manner is very stoic on this DVD, but he’s in very fine form. He makes playing those “uncommon chords” and jaw-dropping solos appear effortless. Regretfully, I haven’t heard Alan Pasqua play in ages. So it is a great pleasure to hear him again. In the liner notes, he mentions trying to find his “voice” in the New Lifetime. I think he’s found it. Chad Wackerman is superb, as always. Although I know “of” him, I’m not familiar with bassist Jimmy Haslip. But from what I hear on this DVD, he’s very fluid and a strong overall player. Paired with Wackerman, they make a very agile great rhythm section.

My opinions about concert videos aside, there is a lot that’s right about this DVD. Clear sound. Sharp picture. Great musicians and great music – you can’t lose. This is a must have DVD. It’s definitely worth your moola.

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