You're not going to find Allan Holdsworth very often re-engineering others' past gems in such prolificity, but None Too Soon was as much a surprise when it first issued in 1996 as it is now upon re-issuance by MoonJune. Plunging deeply into the catalog, Holdsworth yanked up tunes ranging very surprisingly from Coltrane to Irving Berlin to Bill Evans and even the Beatles (!). In view of that, his choice of the well known and much acclaimed keyboardist Gordon Beck was a wise decision because the guy is the true center of the ensemble and disc, a steady presence around whom everyone dances and cavorts, with Holdsworth especially free to jump into the skies. Beck, too, gets his solo chops in, but, even in doing so, remains the bedrock.
He and Holdsworth tear up Berlin's How Deep is the Ocean—you can even hear Irving muttering "Jesus Christ!" from the grave (well, I can anyway)—only to be-bop their rear ends off in the following Isotope, a Joe Henderson composition. Then there's the Beatles. Way back when—roughly the Pleistocene or the early 90s, I forget which—vibes player Mike Mainieri issued a killer two-volume guitarists' tribute to the Beatles and invited AH into the first one. Alan covered Michelle with the same group of guys here, so with Norwegian Wood on None Too Soon, you get a second chance at hearing Lennon & McCartney transmuted by the quartet.
This may well be the most unusual release in Holdsworth's long musical history—if he's done this sort of amalgam otherwise, I'm unaware of it—so prepare for a wider jazz influence, a slight return to traditionalism amid what he's so highly regarded for (just ask Eddie Van Halen and John Petrucci if you want a second and third opinion). Pay close attention, as I say, to Gordon Beck, though, as this release is just as much his CD as Allan's.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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