It’s been a while since any kind of update on Dirty & Beautiful Volume 2, but here one is!  As an accompaniment to this you are hearing a very, very brief little taster/sampler audio montage of just some of the sounds you can expect on the new album!  (These will be updated here as progress continues.)

I had the pleasure of mixing in Austria (with the splendid engineer Marcus Wippersberg at the helm) two of the feature cuts on the album just recently – one being a real tour-de-force piece written by Alex Machacek, and the other being my piece “Sulley” (which is a tune performed regularly by ourselves in John McLaughlin’s 4th Dimension.)  On the former – which is still at rough mix stage – I am featured on drums, and I feel it’s turned out very strongly.  The version of “Sulley” I am also particularly excited about.  I have maestro John McLaughlin and bass giant Mark King going head to head throughout the whole piece.  There’s an interesting tonality aspect to it all that I’ve introduced, and I’m very proud of the experiments we made on this cut.  I think it’s all come off marvellously rude, audacious, pretty different and (for me) very stimulating.  It reveals a stunning and monstrously spirited performance by Mark that I feel probably only a certain few would associate with him (from his legendary stylings over the years in his famous group Level 42), and I’m really very proud to feature it.  John is John, and is on absolutely great form throughout.

You’re hearing also a tiny snippet at the end of another piece by me – “England Green” – which, when mixed, will reveal a lovely performance guitarist Jimmy Herring played.  He has something very, very special and soulful and I’m particularly delighted to be featuring him on the album. On bass on that track; again the very formidable Laurence Cottle.

There is also an unmixed version of Allan Holdsworth’s “Fred” we have in preparation for mix (originally featured on the Tony Williams New Lifetime album “Believe It”, and it’s a tune I have also played regularly with Allan over the recent years.)  On bass here, again the sublime Mr Jimmy Johnson, and on keyboards and synth solo once again on this follow-up album we have the great Jan Hammer. From the original LA sessions I will also feature another take of “Boulevard Baloneyo” which for me is very special, and for this album we’ll probably give it a “re-travelled” tag in the title.

There are sweeter moments regularly planned for the album (many of which I’m working on from the keyboards) which I hope will enchant.

I’m back in the studio in London this month (June) preparing two other electric pieces.  A cover of John McLaughlin’s piece “New Blues Old Bruise” featuring a great friend and tenor saxophone virtuoso Sean Freeman (along with bassist Etienne MBappe and myself.)  I will also be recording another electric piece – an older piece of mine previously entitled “East End West End” – which will feature another great old friend of mine; the very electric Ray Russell on guitar.

It’s a wait and see situation with my brother Allan Holdsworth. I have asked him for a new piece which we’ll do together … I know he’s on the way with it, but whether we get it together or not in time for the album remains to be seen.  I’m keeping everything crossed.

Add to all this more of Robin Trower and Livi Brown, hopefully a track to be recorded with Wayne Krantz and maybe another with Mike Stern, and a cover of another Jan Hammer track called “Rain”.  That’s actually a piece that was featured in Jan’s excellent music for Miami Vice, and it’s a touching little thing – very much with a pop sensibility to it.  For guitar on this I’m in now in touch with Neil Taylor, who is someone I’ve personally been a huge fan of on guitar since I heard his riveting solo in the ’80s on Tears For Fears song “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”.  Hopefully all goes to plan with this and I get him for the track around his busy schedule with Robbie Williams.


I’m still following leads and trying to schedule accordingly around mine and their diaries.  Many more developments to come!

I’ll be back with further updates soon.