Tuesday

Tony Williams Lifetime

Emergency! - 1969

As the first great fusion power trio, Tony Williams (drums), John McLaughlin (guitar) and Larry Young (organ) formed on the heels of Williams' departure as a longtime member of Miles Davis' band. Legend has it, that having already solidified the lineup for his group, Williams showed up for Miles' recording of In a Silent Way and was shocked to find that the bandleader had also booked McLaughlin for the session. In protest, Williams toned down his characteristically thunderous drumming for Davis' session and saved his venom for the recording of Emergency! a few months later. The resulting LP was supremely intense, even by Williams' standards - and despite being dismissed by purists upon its release, is now appreciated as the defining document of jazz/rock that it is...but then, don't ALL the great fusion records from this era share this story? The trio is on the edge of boiling over throughout this double LP, pulling the reins only to make room for Williams' sporadic stoned soliloquies (oddly fitting at points, mildly annoying at others), and plowing back into some ferocious jams just before the bottom drops out. A complete mess, but a focused and inspired one. Cream bassist Jack Bruce would join the band on their next LP Turn It Over, but the songs became shorter, tighter and more pop-oriented - proving further that they had it right the first time.


9 comments:

What Goes Around said...
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dave said...

I've got Extrapolation/Love Devotion and Surrender/Escalator Over The Hill/loads of electric Miles but I've never heard this. Thanks very much!

dave said...

I've got Extrapolation/Love Devotion and Surrender/Escalator Over The Hill/loads of electric Miles but I've never heard this. Thanks very much!!

JBL said...

JR- Hang tough on Sleeping Beauty! I have it on LP, will work on transfer, STAT. YOU NEED TO HEAR IT.

JR HeatWarp said...

Excellent. I can't wait!! Thanks JBL

Bucephalus said...

Seems like I'm always surfing around and taking music...today I give some back! Thank-you for all of your wonderful posts.

Josephine Baker
Exotique
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Miles Davis Live Directions
In Switzerland 22.10.71
Miles Davis
Gary Bartz
Keith Jarrett
Mike Henderson
Len Chandler
Don Alias
Mtume


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OLIVER LAKE QUINTET EXPANDABLE LANGUAGE
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JIM KWESKIN & THE JUGBAND
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Mavis Staples & Lucky Peterson
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John Zorn
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King Curtis
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John McLaughlin
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Willie Bobo
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Dirty Dozen Brass Band
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Shelley Manne & His Friends
My Fair Lady
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Oscar Peterson
Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson
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Anonymous said...

It wasn't Jack's fault that Turn it Over had shorter songs as he didn't write any of the material for that disc. Lifetime was a better unit with Bruce on bass, all you need to do is listen to the Newcastle UK bootleg to hear the proof. (Many songs over the ten min. mark and two approach twenty)

You got to love the "jazz snob cops" who shoot down any musicians who play other forms of music to earn a living.

JR Heat Warp said...

I'd love to hear any boots of this group, specifically the Newcastle tapes. On album, it may have just been a coincidence that the songs got shorter and poppier when Bruce joined the band, but I'd like to give the dude a little credit and assume he had some influence on the obvious shift in tone.

No "jazz snob cops" here, anonymous. Just preference. Carry on.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to come across rude there, but jack is my favorite bass player. You can hear and download for burning the Newcastle UK show over at Jazzfusiontv.com. You have to let the concert download on the player first before the entire show will download to you computer, otherwise you will get an imcomplete file.

The concert is an audience recording but still has pretty good sound with Larry's organ and Jack's bass up front in the mix. Tony's high hats and snare are in there also but unfortunatly John is almost unhearable, unless Larry stops playing then magically his guitar is all of a sudden present. The concert is incredible, one of the best jazz concerts I have ever heard, as the band plays a nice mix of Tony's, John's and Jacks material with some bare nuckle collective improv to boot. Enjoy.