We are saddened to report the death of legendary guitarist Allan Holdsworth. Allan has been a huge inspiration to many guitar players over the course of his career and his loss is certainly one that has affected a lot of people in the music industry.

His playing has been heard in countless of amazing bands such as Gong, Soft Machine, The Tony Williams Lifetime, and U.K. Allan has received praised for his technical and amazing skills on the guitar. He even got the attention of Frank Zappa who said: “One of the most interesting guys on guitar on the planet is Allan Holdsworth. I really respect his playing.”

It’s been a rough and sad couple of years for music fans. Many of the legendary musicians that have shaped the way we listen to music are suddenly passing away. Thankfully we still have their music to keep us inspired.

We will really miss you Allan, thank you for the amazing music.


“I feel very fortunate to have been the producer on the recent Allan Holdsworth reissue projects for Manifesto Records.  Getting to know Allan over the last year and putting together something for him that will honor his great legacy was a privilege.  Allan hadn’t played out in a while, but had recently done four sold out shows in Southern California, that’s what I call going out on a high note!“

-Dan Perloff, Manifesto Records,

“There is no greater measure of a life well-lived than the amount of people he had impacted, and by that measure the artist Allan Holdsworth lived a very good life. This man took a plank of wood, a few strings and some wires and transformed people’s lives in a way that few others have. The ultimate genius of the rarest kind. So much history with Allan.”

– Leonardo Pavkovic, MoonJune Music (associated with Allan Holdsworth between 2001-2016)

“Allan is a celebrated musical legend among so many great contemporaries, and among today’s younger generation of master musicians whom he performed and collaborated up until his sudden passing.  So many of the most revered musicians of the half-century consider Allan Holdsworth to be one music’s leading musical innovators and most original voices.  Those close to him knew him as a humble genius with a wonderful sense of humor, and a generous and kind soul at his core.  Allan’s many collaborations are now the stuff of legend, as were his friendships, collaborations, touring performances and recordings with so many jazz and rock luminaries, among them the late Tony Williams, Jack Bruce, Gordon Beck, and John Wetton among others.

“Allan’s career began as a London-based journeyman sideman who captivated the attention and imagination of guitarists world over was unparalleled in modern times—he recorded and toured with Soft Machine, U.K., Bill Bruford, Jean-Luc Ponty, Gong, Stanley Clarke, and performed as a member of HoBoLeMa, the improvisatory “supergroup” ensemble which last performed in 2014; it was formed by Frank Zappa/Jeff Beck drummer Terry Bozzio, with drummer Pat Mastelotto, and bassist/stick player Tony Levin.  In 1980 Holdsworth launched a successful solo career with drummer/keyboardist Gary Husband, which began a succession of self-produced studio albums band leader and principal composer featuring his singular “Holdsworthian” conception.  Allan had just released his solo career retrospective 12-CD box set of 11 studio albums, and one live disc, aptly titled The Man Who Changed Guitar Forever.  Holdsworth strongly resisted the proposed name, but eventually allowed it, having been lobbied by many friends and fellow musicians that it was indeed an accurate view of how his fellow musicians and fans viewed his contribution to music and the evolution of his instrument.”

–Chris Hoard

“There is an indisputable truth suspended in all the music Allan created. The burden of being a mortal, saddled with this answer to a universe of creativity, weighed heavily on Allan. He was the temporary flame keeper, like Parker and Coltrane before him. His musical genius was searing. I will miss his humbleness and hospitality.  Seldom has a man walked so unassuming a walk and influenced so many fellow human beings. Rest in Peace Maestro.”

—singer/songwriter Jim Reiske built several guitars for Allan, “We have been friends since mid 1980s. He was like a brother.”

“It is with a heavy heart that I share the lost of my friend and client, Allan Holdsworth.  I have been Allan’s photographer nearly 33 years, and just saw him live last week.  His box set was just released.  Condolences to his family and circle of friends.  He and Gary Moore are drinking with God.  Goodbye my friend, and thank you for your music and friendship.”

-Glen Laferman, photographer

More Allan info for you:

George Varga, San Diego Union Tribune Obituary (Allan lived in San Diego)


Eric Harabadian conducted Alan’s last official interview for DOWNBEAT


Friends of Dan has friends and fans of Allan talking about his guitar chops interspersed in a very spiritual interview about playing his instrument.


Delightful overview on Allan’s boxset by John Kelman


Allan Holdsworth

Allan Holdsworth (6 August 1946 – 16 April 2017) was a British guitarist and composer. He released twelve studio albums as a solo artist and played a variety of musical styles spanning a period of more than four decades, but is best known for his work in jazz fusion.

Holdsworth is noted for his advanced knowledge of music, through which he incorporated a vast array of complex chord progressions and intricate solos; the latter comprising myriad scale forms often derived from those such as the diminished Read more on Last.fm

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