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ALLAN HOLDSWORTH Live at The Newton Theater, March 14,2012
ALLAN HOLDSWORTH Live at The Newton Theater, March 14,2012 Reviewed by Stew Liebman, Down In Front, WNTI, Monday 8-10PM

They say that music is math. Well, what better way to celebrate Pi Day than to see performances by 3 jazz-fusion groups in the newly restored Newton Theater.

Giving credit to the bands that started the night, the very casual and friendly Allan Holdsworth graced the stage. The jazz fusion guitarist, who played with Soft Machine and The Tony Williams Lifetime, was playing his custom designed synthaxe, a small instrument with a huge sound.

Reviewed by Stew Liebman, Down In Front, WNTI, Monday 8-10PM

They say that music is math. Well, what better way to celebrate Pi Day than to see performances by 3 jazz-fusion groups in the newly restored Newton Theater.

The evening began with a set by Mike Lawlor on guitar, Sussex county's own Karl Latham on drums and studio bassist extraordinaire Mark Egan. Covering tunes by Hendrix, Jeff Beck and others, they swung back and forth between rock & jazz. The musicians play like they've been together for years, Egan's 5-string bass trading licks with Lawlor's guitar.

Next up was Marbin, a group originally from Israel, now based in Chicago. Leaders Dani Rabin on guitar and Danny Markovitch on soprano sax, with help from the bassist and a powerhouse drummer, fused a mix of rock and jazz with a definite Middle-Eastern flair. All while telling humorous tales of travels throughout the USA as Holdsworth's opening act.

Giving credit to the bands that started the night, the very casual and friendly Allan Holdsworth graced the stage. The jazz fusion guitarist, who played with Soft Machine and The Tony Williams Lifetime, was playing his custom designed synthaxe, a small instrument with a huge sound. The trio was completed by Jimmy Haslip on 6-string bass and Virgil Donati on drums. The leader joked that 95% of the audience were musicians and the other 5% were girlfiends dragged along for the ride. Either way, jaws dropped and eyes bulged as the band launched a full-fledged sonic attack. Playing tunes from Holdsworth's catalog, as well songs written by Haslip, the power trio wailed, firing notes off in rapid succession. There were gentle quiet moments as well, but even those were intensely played. Donati, sitting behind a huge drum kit, dazzled listeners with a pyrotechnic and athletic display, loud and precise, perfectly timed to carry the songs. Holdsworth played beautifully, manipulating sound with his guitar-synth instrument. And long-time band member Haslip provided incredible rhythm, while awing the crowd with his solos. Much of the material can be found on the live CD 'Blues For Tony' from 2009. The record featured Haslip with Tony Pasqua and Chad Wackerman. There are no current releases that have Virgil playing drums. Hopefully, that will get captured sometime soon.

An amazing musical performance for a very mathematical day.


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