When it was originally released in 1996, None Too Soon was a bit of a departure for legendary guitarist Allan Holdsworth. Normally quite adept at crafting brilliant original compositions that push the boundaries of what we call jazz, None Too Soon sees the virtuoso tackling all cover songs, picked out by friend and keyboard maestro Gordon Beck. Joining Holdsworth and Beck on the recording are bassist Gary Willis and drummer Kirk Covington, both veterans of the exciting fusion act Tribal Tech.
The four piece cover a wide range of jazz and pop tunes here, by such notable names as John Coltrane, Irving Berlin, Joe Henderson, Bill Evans, Lennon/McCartney, Django Reinhardt, plus a few Beck originals. Hearing Holdsworth's guitar soar alongside the majestic piano from Beck on "How Deep Is the Ocean" is a real treat, and the quirky Joe Henderson song "Isotope" is given royal treatment thanks to some wild piano runs from Beck and nimble grooves courtesy of Willis & Covington. Throw in a blazing Holdsworth solo and you have pure magic! The guitar legend is at his best on the lengthy title track, as his extended romp is a thing of beauty, a solo that should be proof for any doubters of his importance to the guitar community. Beck's piano is just gorgeous on The Beatles classic "Norwegian Wood", as the quartet's jazzy take on this pop staple wows, complete with a fluttering solo from Holdsworth.
Some loyal Holdsworth fans who perhaps prefer his slightly more rock flavored material might be leery of the strong straight jazz element here, but for those who waited years to hear the guitarist in this format, None Too Soon will be quite enjoyable. Thanks to Moonjune Records for reissuing this little gem for those who didn't check it out the first time around, and it's worth noting that their remaster job on the album is just superb, with each song sounding crystal clear and just magical.
1. Countdown (3:11)
2. Nuages (5:41)
3. How Deep Is The Ocean (5:29)
4. Isotope (5:42)
5. None Too Soon, Part 1 / Interlude / None Too Soon, Part 2 (7:44)
6. Norwegian Wood (5:55)
7. Very Early (7:42)
8. San Marcos (3:24)
9. Inner Urge (6:15)