Allan Holdsworth: Velvet Darkness
Allan Holdsworth (guitar)
Velvet Darkness (King Japan)
Allan Holdsworth (guitar),
Alan Pasqua (piano), Alphonso Johnson (bass), Narada Michael Walden (drums).
Composed by Allan Holdsworth.
Recorded: Hackensack, NJ, May 1976
Rating: 85/100 (learn more)
It was guitarist Allan Holdsworth's turn to put out his own record. He had paid some early dues and tilted many ears with Soft Machine, the New Tony Williams Lifetime and the European fusion group Gong. The fusion movement was dominated by guitarists but still had plenty of room for another phenomenal player. Superstardom was his for the taking. According to stories at the time, Holdsworth was very displeased by Velvet Darkness. He felt it was not properly produced and opposed its release. He lost.
Despite Holdsworth's protestations, the title cut is quite an effective statement. Sounding like a cross between the music Holdsworth had played with Lifetime and something you might hear from Return to Forever, "Velvet Darkness" starts out as a serious proposition before changing character into more lighthearted funk with an occasional Spanish-sounding flourish. Holdsworth's guitar betrays a signature sound and style that would thrill many fusion fans. Johnson's bass is especially prominent, and the superb drumming of Narada Michael Walden is very reminiscent (continuing the comparative narrative) of both Tony Williams and Lenny White.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky