Allan Holdsworth and Wayne Shorter: two of my all-time favourite musicians who, on the face of it, don’t seem to have much in common. But on further inspection, maybe they do – independence, innovation, integrity. Also neither were much given to making guest appearances on other artists’ albums, at least in the second half of their careers.
So it was somewhat of a surprise to recently unearth a track which featured both of them (though it is doubtful they were actually in the studio at the same time). Not much is known about Italian drummer Andrea Marcelli apart from the fact that he made two albums for Verve/Forecast in 1989 and 1990, gathering a formidable lineup of players including Alex Acuna, John Patitucci, Michell Forman, Bob Berg and Mike Stern.
‘Final Project’ featured on his 1990 Silent Will album and showcased a fine composition and brilliant Holdsworth solo – one of his greatest – over intriguing chord changes. Shorter’s contribution is perhaps a little less impressive; he sounds shrill and ‘rushed’ at times, but still manages to surprise. It’s still fascinating to hear these two giants sharing album space.
This was a bit of a golden period for electric jazz/fusion/whatever. There was also seemingly a resurgence of Italian fusion in the late ’80s and early 1990s. Another minor classic and teenage favourite was Roberto Gatto’s ‘Ask’, featuring John Scofield, which was very much in the slipstream of Miles’s ‘Tutu’ and Sco’s ‘High And Mighty’. Gatto is another Italian drummer apparently currently residing in the ‘where are they now’ file.