TONY WILLIAMS

Fusion / Hard Bop / Post Bop / Avant-Garde Jazz • United States
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Tony Williams (December 12, 1945 – February 23, 1997) was an American jazz drummer.

Born in Chicago and growing up in Boston, Williams began studies with master drummer Alan Dawson at an early age and began playing professionally at the age of 13 with saxophonist Sam Rivers. Jackie McLean hired Williams at 16. Then at 17, Williams found considerable fame with Miles Davis, joining a group that was later dubbed Davis's "Second Great Quintet."

Williams was a vital element of the group, called by Davis in his autobiography "the center of the group's sound". His inventive playing helped redefine the role of jazz rhythm section through the use of polyrhythms and metric modulation (transitioning between mathematically related tempos and/or time signatures). But perhaps his overarching achievement was in demonstrating, through his playing, that the drummer need not be relegated to timekeeping and accompaniment in a jazz ensemble; that the drummer
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Foreign Intrigue [LP]Foreign Intrigue [LP]
Blue Note 2020
$21.49
Believe It / Million Dollar Legs / Joy Of FlyingBelieve It / Million Dollar Legs / Joy Of Flying
Beat Goes on 2016
$13.87
$16.67 (used)
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TONY WILLIAMS Discography

TONY WILLIAMS albums / top albums

TONY WILLIAMS Life Time album cover 4.56 | 8 ratings
Life Time
Avant-Garde Jazz 1964
TONY WILLIAMS Spring album cover 3.83 | 9 ratings
Spring
Post Bop 1965
TONY WILLIAMS The Tony Williams Lifetime ‎: Emergency!(2LP) album cover 4.20 | 14 ratings
The Tony Williams Lifetime ‎: Emergency!(2LP)
Fusion 1969
TONY WILLIAMS The Tony Williams Lifetime ‎: Emergency! Volume One album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
The Tony Williams Lifetime ‎: Emergency! Volume One
Fusion 1969
TONY WILLIAMS The Tony Williams Lifetime ‎: Emergency! Volume Two album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Tony Williams Lifetime ‎: Emergency! Volume Two
Fusion 1969
TONY WILLIAMS The Tony Williams Lifetime ‎: (Turn It Over) album cover 3.62 | 8 ratings
The Tony Williams Lifetime ‎: (Turn It Over)
Fusion 1970
TONY WILLIAMS The Tony Williams Lifetime : Ego album cover 3.50 | 7 ratings
The Tony Williams Lifetime : Ego
Fusion 1971
TONY WILLIAMS The Tony Williams Lifetime ‎: The Old Bum's Rush album cover 2.62 | 4 ratings
The Tony Williams Lifetime ‎: The Old Bum's Rush
Fusion 1972
TONY WILLIAMS The New Tony Williams Lifetime ‎: Believe It album cover 4.57 | 6 ratings
The New Tony Williams Lifetime ‎: Believe It
Fusion 1975
TONY WILLIAMS The New Tony Williams Lifetime ‎: Million Dollar Legs album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
The New Tony Williams Lifetime ‎: Million Dollar Legs
Fusion 1976
TONY WILLIAMS The Joy Of Flying album cover 3.17 | 3 ratings
The Joy Of Flying
Fusion 1979
TONY WILLIAMS Play Or Die album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Play Or Die
Fusion 1980
TONY WILLIAMS Foreign Intrigue album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Foreign Intrigue
Hard Bop 1985
TONY WILLIAMS Civilization album cover 5.00 | 3 ratings
Civilization
Hard Bop 1987
TONY WILLIAMS Angel Street album cover 4.05 | 2 ratings
Angel Street
Hard Bop 1988
TONY WILLIAMS Native Heart album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Native Heart
Hard Bop 1990
TONY WILLIAMS The Story of Neptune album cover 3.55 | 3 ratings
The Story of Neptune
Hard Bop 1992
TONY WILLIAMS Young at Heart album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Young at Heart
Post Bop 1996
TONY WILLIAMS Wilderness album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Wilderness
Post Bop 1996

TONY WILLIAMS EPs & splits

TONY WILLIAMS live albums

TONY WILLIAMS Tokyo Live album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Tokyo Live
Hard Bop 1993
TONY WILLIAMS Live In New York 1969 album cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Live In New York 1969
Fusion 2017
TONY WILLIAMS Live At The Village Gate album cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Live At The Village Gate
Fusion 2017
TONY WILLIAMS Live Tokyo 1978 album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Live Tokyo 1978
Fusion 2018

TONY WILLIAMS demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

TONY WILLIAMS re-issues & compilations

TONY WILLIAMS Lifetime album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Lifetime
Fusion 1975
TONY WILLIAMS The Best Of Tony Williams album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best Of Tony Williams
Fusion 1980
TONY WILLIAMS Once In A Lifetime album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Once In A Lifetime
Fusion 1982
TONY WILLIAMS The Collection album cover 4.38 | 4 ratings
The Collection
Fusion 1992
TONY WILLIAMS The Best Of album cover 4.75 | 2 ratings
The Best Of
Hard Bop 1996
TONY WILLIAMS The Tony Williams Lifetime ‎: Spectrum - The Anthology album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
The Tony Williams Lifetime ‎: Spectrum - The Anthology
Fusion 1997
TONY WILLIAMS Ultimate Tony Williams album cover 2.75 | 2 ratings
Ultimate Tony Williams
Fusion 1999
TONY WILLIAMS Mosaic Select 24 album cover 5.00 | 2 ratings
Mosaic Select 24
Hard Bop 2006
TONY WILLIAMS Believe It - Million Dollar Legs - The Joy Of Flying album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Believe It - Million Dollar Legs - The Joy Of Flying
Fusion 2016

TONY WILLIAMS singles (0)

TONY WILLIAMS movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
New York Live
Fusion 1990

TONY WILLIAMS Reviews

TONY WILLIAMS The New Tony Williams Lifetime ‎: Believe It

Album · 1975 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Steve Wyzard
ONE OF THE GREATS!

When the great fusion albums (such as In a Silent Way and Enigmatic Ocean) are being discussed, Tony Williams' Believe It outright demands to be mentioned with them. This might come as a surprise to some, as there are some caveats that should be addressed:

1) Its length. The original LP ran a little over 33 minutes. Later CD re-issues have added extra tracks that don't really add to the album's greatness. Don't think of Believe It as "short", think of it as "succinct" and "visceral".

2) Electric bassist Tony Newton. With a soul/r'n'b background, he's not the first person you'd think of when you imagine who should play bass on a "fusion masterpiece". He acquits himself quite admirably with this line-up, and adds effects to his two compositions that, while hip for 1975, do not ruin the album.

3) Too rock/too jazz. On Believe It, guitarist Allan Holdsworth and keyboardist Alan Pasqua give two of their best performances EVER in their long and checkered careers. If you're a fan of these two, you will LOVE this album. Holdsworth's snarly, distorted tones, however, have alienated many, leading to the "too rock for jazz, too jazz for rock" dismissal he is all-too-often tagged with.

4) The follow-up. This line-up recorded just one other album, Million Dollar Legs. With a hideous cover, vocals, strings, and horns, it is in EVERY way inferior to Believe It and led Holdsworth to bolt for Bill Bruford's new group.

If you can overlook the above and have acquired the taste for classic fusion, Believe It will become a (ahem) LIFETIME listening experience. While very much of its age, this fiery recording session has transcended its contemporaries and will never grow old. There are no weak moments, and the songs and amazing solos are all out of this world. And needless to say, Tony drums up a storm. While he put out many albums and sat in on many sessions, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more dynamic Williams performance recorded after this one. And let it be said here that "Fred" is one of Holdsworth's greatest moments ever!

TONY WILLIAMS The Tony Williams Lifetime ‎: Emergency!(2LP)

Album · 1969 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Atavachron
When we are witness to a new kind of art, it should be noted. And though the first glimpses of an unproven form are sometimes raw, the impact is usually undeniable. This is the case with 'Emergency!'. Sometimes ugly but always real, this little record is very likely the first true and fully blended mix of modern jazz with electric rock in all its manic glory. There had been hints at it, experiments and false starts that often lacked total vision, like Cannonball Adderly's use of pop stylings in jazz. As well, Miles Davis is most often credited with being the 'father' of jazz-rock but on closer inspection, Davis is, at best, its grandfather whose 'In a Silent Way' (1969) was more a flirtation between styles than an infusion of musics. There were superior and better-realized fusion projects to come, such as John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu and the later symphonic aspirations of Chick Corea and Al Di Meola. But in hindsight, this rough, tainted and trance-induced set, deeply intuitive on a level not before heard, is the first recording of jazz artists doing what the heavy blues and psych scenes had been doing for years. And while there had been those who progressed jazz itself, such as Jimmy Giuffre, Dave Brubeck or Gunther Schuller, no one had brought together the hot bop of Coltrane with the howling rock spirit of Jimi Hendrix in the same room at the same time. Finally... Fusion with a capital 'F' had arrived, kicking and screaming but alive and well.

This session, not to be confused with Williams' first album as leader in 1964 titled 'Lifetime', had all the makings for explosive creativity and boundary- wrecking; John McLaughlin's guitar sounding more urgent and other-worldly than ever, Larry Young's irrepressible organ, and Williams' ridiculously confident charge on drums. If one didn't know better, the nine-minute title cut could just be the sound of another crazy jazz band bopping their way into the 1970's with drug-induced abandon. But the unmistakable sounds of riff rock can be heard fighting to break on through, Larry Young's insistent organ- grind, McLaughlin's lead, and the whole thing coming alive with Williams' crashes and acrobatic backbeat. Some acid mud follows, as well as passages of sheer spontaneity. 'Beyond Games' is hideous and nervous freeform featuring Williams' bizarre vocals and the 12-minute 'Where' is a troubled dervish of a jam, dizzying and sweaty with odd rhythms, sudden changes of mood and semi-classical lines running between guitar and organ. But it's the fourth, 'Vashkar', where we begin to hear the first clearly-cut form of jazz rock with all of its facets, finally gelling in the way we would become familiar with in later years showing intelligent melodics, tight dynamics, and plenty of fire. 'Via the Spectrum Road' is the requisite weird pop-psych tune, but luckily the firecracking jam 'Spectrum' wakes things up again with pure hot jazz and wild soloing from everyone. It would be the highlight of the set if not for the 13- minute 'Sangria For Three', a beautifully messy explosion of jazz rock at its most pure. 'Something Special' finishes with unsettled dissonance and closes out a musical statement so bold and irreverent that it was, in the truest sense, revolutionary. A mad experiment gone out of control and one of the most important records you will ever hear.

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