LEVERKUSEN 2010, the fifth and latest release in the continuing series of classic live recordings by Allan Holdsworth, is due November 5 from Manifesto Records.
The double-disc CD/DVD set features the guitar great live at the Leverkusen Jazztage Festival in Germany on November 9, 2010, 13 years after his triumphant 1997 performance at the festival. The package offers audio and visual versions of the 10-song set recorded and filmed in high-definition for German television. The already high-quality audio and video have been digitally remastered from the original tapes.
For the performance, Holdsworth was backed by acclaimed drummer and long-time collaborator Chad Wackerman and ace bassist Ernest Tibbs. The bass player also wrote liner notes for the set, based on his personal memories of performing with Holdsworth and Wackerman, and, along with Wackerman, is also featured in an interview included on the DVD as a bonus.
As Tibbs explains, the Leverkusen Festival was a treat to play. “It had the best sound quality, best stage, best crew – I always had a great time there. The audience at Leverkusen was totally supportive and into the music, real superfans of jazz and fusion. Those are the core people that you love to play for.”
However, playing with Holdsworth provided some unique challenges for Tibbs, who is known for his work with a diverse roster of artists ranging from Andy Summers and David Benoit to Dionne Warwick and Lee Ritenour. “When you were playing in Allan’s trio, you didn’t have a piano or keyboard player that you could rely on, so you had to be able to cover and be the drivetrain,” Tibbs says. “Coming from an R&B background, I figured that this was going to be a great experience for me. I took it as a challenge and once I got it, it felt great.”
LEVERKUSEN 2010 follows the previous four releases in the Holdsworth live series, LIVE IN JAPAN 1984, WARSAW SUMMER JAZZ DAYS ’98, FRANKFURT ’86, and LEVERKUSEN ’97, which were embraced by Holdsworth’s hardcore fanbase.
A guitarist’s guitarist, Holdsworth’s music and legacy have been embraced by a who’s who of axe-slingers over the years, ranging from Eddie Van Halen and Joe Satriani to Frank Zappa and Tom Morello. It was Van Halen who brought the British-born Holdsworth to the attention of Warner Bros. Records, while Zappa once called him “one of the most interesting guys on guitar on the planet.”
LEVERKUSEN 2010 opens with “Leave Them On,” which later turned up on Gary Husband’s studio album, Dirty & Beautiful, Volume 1, slightly retitled “Leave ‘Em On.” Other highlights include the Holdsworth live staples “Proto-Cosmos” and “Water on the Brain – Pt. II,” as well as the triple shot of “Madame Vintage,” “Above and Below” and “The Things You See (When You Haven’t Got Your Gun).” As was often the case, Holdsworth also generously shared the spotlight with his collaborators, covering the Wackerman composition “The Fifth” and allowing the drummer to solo on “Letters of Marque.”
In all, LEVERKUSEN 2010 is a worthy addition to the Holdsworth legacy of live performances filled with stellar musicianship. As Tibbs puts it, “I think that Allan’s music is in a class of its own. Harmonically and improvisation-wise, it’s out of this world. People will be studying his music a hundred years from now. I’m already seeing a whole new generation of young guitarists studying his music the same way that young saxophonists study John Coltrane’s music.”
“Allan was a beautiful person; a really nice person and he was very generous and very thoughtful.,” he adds. “It was an honor for me to have had the opportunity to make music with him and play in his trio.”
That honor now extends to Holdsworth fans worldwide with the release of LEVERKUSEN 2010.
Other Allan Holdsworth albums available on Manifesto include IOU, Road Games, Metal Fatigue, Atavachron, Sand, Secrets, Wardenclyffe Tower, Hard Hat Area, None Too Soon, The Sixteen Men of Tain, Flat Tire and Then!, as well as Eidolon: The Allan Holdsworth Collection.
CD & DVD TRACK LISTING:
1. LEAVE THEM ON
3. WATER ON THE BRAIN – PT. II
4. MADAME VINTAGE
5. ABOVE AND BEYOND
6. THE THINGS YOU SEE (WHEN YOU HAVEN’T GOT YOUR GUN)
7. MATERIAL REAL
8. THE FIFTH
9. LETTERS OF MARQUE
DVD BONUS FOOTAGE:
INTERVIEW WITH ERNEST TIBBS & CHAD WACKERMAN