Quotes by other artists on Allan

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Quotes about Allan Holdsworth

Collected by ANDREAS PAPADAKIS

The sources for these quotes are sadly not known, but they are considered to be accurate.

"I’ve known Allan and his music for 30 years now, and after all this time he still amazes me. His concept is still advancing with his playing, and his technical prowess, which is phenomenal, is in complete harmony with his musical direction—and this is a very advanced direction. I recall a show I saw him at in London about 14 years ago. After the concert I said to him, ‘If I knew what you were doing, I’d steal everything, but I don’t know what you are doing!’ Allan laughed." - John McLaughlin

"Holdsworth is the best in my book. He's fantastic. I love him." - Eddie Van Halen

“Allan’s beautiful and unique chord voicings have always had an impact on me. His approach to guitar is one of a kind. He pushes the limits of the boundaries of electric guitar, and his lead phrasing would make Charlie Parker smile. His playing is essential listening for any guitarist, of any style, so they can see that the only limits we have are the ones we put on ourselves.” - Eric Johnson

"I saw Allan Holdsworth when I was about 14 in 1978. I never dreamed a guitar could be played like that and that really changed my whole life. If I hadn't had seen Holdsworth I may have just continued to play some blues and rock music and might have even given it up later or something, but when I saw him at 14, that really inspired me to try to play guitar in my own way at another level." - Shawn Lane

"I believe Holdsworth is incredibly important to the language of jazz guitar... He’s overlooked because stylistically he’s in the fusion camp very solidly, but if you get beyond that and you listen to the actual content of his playing and how he’s relating to harmony and lines, you’ll discover a guitarist that is virtually unsurpassed in terms of harmonic and linear sophistication, which is totally applicable to every modern jazz guitarist. Furthermore, I think that Allan Holdsworth and John Coltrane have a lot in common in terms of their linear conceptions. They’re obviously very, very different and have qualities that place them in totally different zones, but I see a connection between the language that Coltrane used and the technique that Allan Holdsworth has developed. I’m heavily influenced and inspired by Coltrane and the language that he used, and Holdsworth is definitely a touchstone for how to do that on the guitar." - Kurt Rosenwinkel

"I totally agree that Allan is one of the greatest guitarists ever - his work on the mid-70's Tony Williams records was revolutionary and changed everything for guitarists everywhere. It is a real mystery to me why he is not a household name. but it really doesn't matter, his contribution is large and I think all musicians know it. - Pat Metheny

“I put Holdsworth up there with Paganini and Liszt. Terrifying.” - David Lindley

"I think Allan Holdsworth is the John Coltrane of the guitar. I don't think anyone can do as much with the guitar as Allan Holdsworth can." - Robben Ford

“He sure has made an impression on me; he does things I have not heard the guitar do... He's not trying new things, he's mastering them.” - George Benson

“I went through a McLaughlin phase and a Holdsworth phase. And when I say I went through that phase, I don’t mean that I graduated from that -- I went through a phase of really listening to them constantly, and still return there sometimes. To me, Allan Holdsworth is in a league by himself, and the thing that he possesses as an artist -- and this is important to me -- he’s got his own thing. There’s no one really who competes with what he does, because there’s no one else that really does it at all. And that’s what I love about him, more so than how amazing he is, but what I love is that he is a true artist in the sense that you can’t get that across the street, you can’t get that anywhere else except from him. His whole musical package is a complete statement that will never be repeated or even emulated.” - Greg Howe

“Allan really changed guitar playing. The legato techniques and ‘sheets-of-sound’ approach influenced not only jazz guitarists, but also a whole generation of metal players. And aside from all the technical stuff, he’s a master jazz guitarist. Check out his version of ‘How Deep Is the Ocean.’” - John Scofield

“I had the good fortune to be able to offer a vehicle for Allan's music back in the late 70's, with three very successful albums that showcased his astonishing ability. Even from here in the UK, the sound of US guitar players across the pond sitting up and taking notice was deafening. To this day, his solo outing on "In The Dead Of Night" by the group UK remains one of the most perfectly formed, intelligently paced and brilliantly executed 3 minutes of liquid guitar bliss you are ever likely to hear. He's been refining his wok ever since. After three measures you know its Allan, or someone trying to sound like him. He's the leader in a field of one... ... Allan wanted to sound like John Coltrane. Problem was he’s playing guitar, not saxophone, so he had to figure out a way to get a similar ‘sheets of sound’ equivalent on guitar. The scales and intervals he chose were also all unusual, and he didn’t become just one of the great scalar improvisers overnight. He worked like a dog on Nicolas Slonimsky’s Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns. Then, when he’d run out of notes he’d reach for the whammy bar and send shivers down your spine.” - Bill Bruford

"... One of the most interesting guys on guitar on the planet is Allan Holdsworth. I really respect his playing... [Allan Holdsworth] deserves credit for single-handedly reinventing the electric guitar..." - Frank Zappa

“He [Allan Holdsworth]’s amazing, I told him that I didn't understand what he was playing and he said 'likewise'. What I admire about players like Allan is that they are pure musicians, he doesn't have to dress up to get onstage, he doesn't need to. In a way he makes it possible for people like me to get up on a stage and do what I do." - Gary Moore

“... Allan plays legato parts like a violinist. His right hand might as well be a bow, because his left hand is like Paganini’s. You can call his playing whatever you want to, but it will still fry your brain if you try to figure it out. John McLaughlin, Michael Stern, John Scofield—all of us just scratch our heads and go, ‘Damn!’... ... He has something totally beautiful. I give him more credit than anyone for just pure expression in soloing...” - Carlos Santana

“I have always considered Allan Holdsworth in a league of his own. In my obnoxious must-analyze-everything teenage years I remember walking out from a concert with the man, very frustrated. I simply didn’t get how he was able to pull it off in such a smooth, delicate way. The stuff his fingers were doing didn’t have anything to do with what was coming out of the speakers (at least not to my tiny intellect). Nowadays, I simply let the playing happily floor me. I believe he is from another planet.” - Mattias IA Eklundh

"The voice I have as a musician I have formed in no small part as a direct result of my now twenty-five year association and relationship with Allan. While our individual approaches have naturally changed, shifted and evolved independently, separated by distance and long passages of time apart, we always come back together, almost mystically, in this strange, uncanny but perfect unity. It'll always be fresh, new, different, but just inextricably connected. It's about a relationship so close it even transcends physically playing together on a regular basis and keeps growing. I feel really and truly blessed to have that with Allan." - Gary Husband

"I saw Allan play last night at the Baked Potato and I must say that, without a doubt, he is truly The Grand Master..." - Frank Gambale

"... Besides being emotionally swept away by Allan’s use of melodic color, most of the time I am utterly stunned and confused as to how he is playing what I am hearing. His chops and inner ear completely defy my own inner musical eye and reasoning and I’m left in a blissful state of humility and surrender.” - Steve Vai

“As Frank Zappa said, ‘Writing about music is like dancing about architecture,’ so just listen to Allan Holdsworth and experience the pure beauty of his unique musical language, which goes beyond all clichés. He is a true master, and remains unsurpassed.” - Alex Machacek

"Allan Holdsworth also has a strong style. A long time ago, Jens took me to see him in a small club in New York. I had to take my hat off to him." - Yngwie Malmsteen

“ Allan Holdsworth has an amazing, out-of-this-world liquidity. What a genius! His fingers are constantly moving. Pulls make up the bulk of his playing; I don’t think he does much picking. I was listening to Holdsworth around the time of “Moving Pictures”, and you can indirectly hear his influence on my playing on ‘YYZ.’ ” - Alex Lifeson

"His influence is just that he's such a drastic unyielding individual. You know, 'I'm going to do my thing and I'm going to do it the best I can." - Steve Morse

“Allan Holdsworth showed me that the guitar has no limits and I carry that ideal with me.“ - Tim Miller

"Following Allan was one of the toughest things I ever had to do, as any guitar player can imagine. The set was based around the monumental solos that he had been doing, so I had to try to fill those shoes! He has been ahead of the game for over 30 years and is the preeminent guitar soloist of our generation (if not any). When I first heard him in about 1973, I was amazed by the ambition and direction of his playing. I was edging along a similar path myself but he was far ahead, and so was a source of inspiration and aspiration. Since then he has developed and refined the ingredients that were already there with outstanding single-mindedness, dedication and concentration. His playing now is completely controlled and mature and his mastery of the elements that he is interested in—harmony, line and tone—is unique and puts him in the very top league of the greatest soloists in guitar history. That’s why guitarists should care!!! - John Etheridge

"Hearing Allan’s guitar playing for the first time was a cathartic experience for me. His guitar sang, it pushed musical boundaries, and it rocked. His brilliant approach to harmony is completely original, beautiful and spellbinding. His technique and improvisational skills make him a true guitar god, the jaw dropping kind, and the kind that influences many a player in all styles of music... ... To witness him playing with Tony Williams’ band, a Gibson SG around his neck, Small Stone Phaser and Marshall stack in tow, at the intimate club My Father’s Place in Roslyn, NY, was something I’ll never forget. He ripped a hole in the guitarist’s-space-time-continuum that night! And we’ve never been the same... ... Allan Holdsworth changed the way people play the electric guitar, both musically and physically. He is a true genius." - Joe Satriani

"Only the elite musician wishes not to imitate. Originality and finding your own voice are the only beacons that the elite musician follows. Allan is one of these musicians.” - Jeff Berlin

“ It was the first time I heard someone go outside of the expected melodic parameters, and that sounded fantastic to me.” - Tom Morello, acknowledging “Metal Fatigue” as the single most influential piece of music that shaped his own guitar style.

"... To my taste, guitar doesn’t lend itself to playing fast as well as other instruments. I think the possibilities of approaches to doing it are limited in comparison to instruments like the piano, the saxophone, or the drum machine. Something about the guitars physicality in correspondence to our muscles and hand angles just doesn’t seem to offer the potential for expression at lightning speeds that those other instruments do. To me, he [Allan] is one of the few people who totally overcomes those limitations and is totally expressive whilst playing fast and makes it sound natural, relaxed, and effortless—and, at the same time, exciting and intense. It always sounds like there’s a musical/emotional idea there and it never sounds like he’s playing scales or exercises, which almost all flashy guys of the last 25 years generally seem to be doing a big percentage of the time, though I’m no expert... " - John Frusciante

“Allan has the touch. Maybe it’s those extra- long fingers of his. No one can listen to him without being affected by his tone and fluidity. A superb player who is a joy to hear.” - Adrian Belew

“How many guitarists, upon hearing Allan Holdsworth the FIRST time put their guitars in cases, NEVER to be opened again? Literally, Jaw Dropping.“ - Vernon Reid

“ I think it's potentially dangerous when a rock type player hears a bit of Allan Holdsworth or Frank Gambale and then dives straight into that style of playing; not only is the technical aspect daunting, there's also all that musical knowledge and understanding going on behind the scenes, and it's really hard to absorb both of those aspects at once without your playing just starting to sound worse.“ - Guthrie Govan