Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Propensity (2009), by Danny Thompson, Allan Holdsworth, and John Stevens

They say good things come to those who wait. In this case, with the album produced in 1978, mixed in 1997, and made commercially available in 2009, the total wait was 31 years from recording to release.

Was the wait worth it? Even if you’re an Allan Holdsworth fan, it’s a 50/50 proposition.

Technically, the performances and recording quality are top-notch and superb. The musicians (Danny Thompson on bass, Allan Holdsworth on acoustic 12-string guitar and electric guitar, and John Stevens on drums) are at the top of their game, and the album sounds like it was recorded today.

Musically, it’s a challenging listen. This is really out-there, pure improvisational jazz, almost like stream of consciousness on the part of the players. There are no concise compositions or structures or hooks or riffs, but rather quite a bit of dissonance and atonality.

As sonic art, it soars. The work required to engage with it is its own reward.

--Raj Manoharan

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