Allan Holdsworth

With the Rick Ray Band. Monday, January 10, at the Winchester.

Los Lonely Boys Odeon, 1295 Old River Road, the Flats 8 p.m. Saturday, December 11, $25, 216-241-5555
The biography on Allan Holdsworth's official website claims that the 58-year-old guitarist "remains never quite satisfied in his eternal quest for the perfect tone." No wonder you probably never heard of this guy.

Holdsworth has for the past quarter of a century done his thing outside the big-label publicity machine. But devotees of jazz-rock fusion know Holdsworth well. Readers of Guitar Player magazine voted him Guitar Player of the Year five times, and the periodical lists him in its Hall of Fame. By the '90s, Holdsworth began to gather the recognition that lovers of avant-garde jazz believed he deserved, with albums like Hard Hat Area and None Too Soon. Although he insists on total creative control (hence the reluctance of the star-makers to trumpet his greatness), Holdsworth manages to work with some of the biggest names in jazz and progressive rock. He has collaborated with Jack Bruce, Bill Bruford, Stanley Clarke, Jean-Luc Ponty, Billy Cobham, Esther Phillips, Tony Williams, Jon Hiseman, and even Krokus, a 1980s heavy-metal pioneer. Holdsworth has proven for more than 30 years that virtuosity will find its audience.

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