Monday, December 16, 2013

THE LATE GREAT TONY WILLIAMS (1945-1997), Drummer, Composer, and Bandleader extraordinaire

(b. December 12, 1945--d. February 23, 1997)


THE LATE GREAT TONY WILLIAMS (1945-1997), Drummer, Composer, and Bandleader extraordinaire and one of the finest and most gifted artists in the entire history of black creative music PERIOD. The day this man died at 51 (!) following a minor routine gall bladder operation on February 23, 1997 I cried like a baby because I had just missed seeing him again at the (old) Yoshi's Jazz club in Oakland, CA. in November of 1996 when I told my wife for some idiotic reason that we would catch him and his quintet the "next time he was in town." A huge regrettable mistake on my part that I've always kicked myself about because I loved Tony's music and consummate artistry so much (and of course I still do--now more than ever). The following absolutely magisterial concert took place at the Blue Note club in the West Village in New York in 1989. This is IMO one of the greatest Jazz quintets in history and the finest since the legendary, iconic Mile Davis Quintet of 1963-1968 (that also featured Tony Williams of course on drums!).



Tony Williams: Drums
Mulgrew Miller: Piano
Wallace Roney: Trumpet
Bill Pierce: Tenor and Soprano saxophones
Ira Coleman: Bass


(with Miles Davis):

"Gingerbread Boy" (composition by Jimmy Heath). Miles Davis Quinter Live in concert in Germany November 8, 1967


Miles Davis: Trumpet
Wayne Shorter: Tenor Saxophone
Ron Carter: Bass
Herbie Hancock: Piano
Tony Williams Drums

2 Solos IN Tribute to Miles Davis:

"Eye of the Hurricane"  (composition by Herbie Hancock)

Live in Concert at Mt. Fuji Jazz Festival in Japan


Joe Henderson: Tenor saxophone
Herbie Hancock: Piano
Ron Carter: Bass
Freddie Hubbard: Trumpet
Tony Williams:  Drums

Tony Williams Quintet in concert in 1991

"Sister Cheryl" (composition by Tony Williams):


Tony Williams Solo in Japanese concert from 1987:

Tony Williams Drum Clinic 1985 pt.1/3:

Tony Williams    (drummer and composer)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Background information:

Birth name Anthony Tillmon Williams
Born December 12, 1945
Chicago, Illinois, US
Origin Boston, Massachusetts, US
Died February 23, 1997 (aged 51)
Genres Jazz, post-bop, jazz fusion
Occupations Musician, composer, producer and bandleader
Instruments Drums
Years active 1961–1997
Associated acts Miles Davis, The Tony Williams Lifetime, Sam Rivers, Jackie McLean, Alan Dawson, V.S.O.P., Public Image Ltd.
Anthony Tillmon "Tony" Williams (December 12, 1945 – February 23, 1997) was an American jazz drummer.
Widely regarded as one of the most important and influential jazz drummers to come to prominence in the 1960s, Williams first gained fame in the band of trumpeter Miles Davis and was a pioneer of jazz fusion.[1]


1 Biography
2 Technique
3 Discography
3.1 As leader
3.2 As sideman
4 References

Williams was born in Chicago and grew up in Boston. He was of African, Portuguese, and Chinese descent.[2] He began studies with drummer Alan Dawson at an early age, and began playing professionally at the age of 13 with saxophonist Sam Rivers. Saxophonist Jackie McLean hired Williams when he was 16. 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 that the group's sound revolved around."[3] 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).

Williams was an integral participant in the early- to mid-1960s avant-garde movement, playing on such classics as Jackie McLean's One Step Beyond, Grachan Moncur III's Evolution and Some Other Stuff, Sam Rivers's Fuchsia Swing Song, Andrew Hill's Point of Departure, and Eric Dolphy's Out to Lunch. His first album as a leader, 1964's Life Time, was also in the avant-garde vein. Many of these progressive albums are considered among the greatest jazz recordings of all time.[citation needed]

In 1969, he formed a trio, The Tony Williams Lifetime, with John McLaughlin on guitar, and Larry Young on organ. Lifetime was a pioneering band of the fusion movement, a combination of rock, R&B, and jazz. Their first album, Emergency!, was largely rejected by the jazz community at the time of its release. Today, Emergency! is considered by many to be a fusion classic.[citation needed] His second fusion recording, also on Polydor Records, was Turn It Over, which was more of a statement of the current events of the period and was even more progressive and louder, with the addition of rock bassist and singer Jack Bruce.

After McLaughlin and Bruce's departure, and several more albums, Lifetime disbanded. In 1975, Williams put together a band he called "The New Tony Williams Lifetime", featuring bassist Tony Newton, pianist Alan Pasqua, and English guitarist Allan Holdsworth, which recorded two albums for Columbia Records, Believe It and Million Dollar Legs.

In mid-1976, Williams was a part of a reunion of sorts with his old Davis band compatriots: pianist/keyboardist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter. Davis was in the midst of a six-year hiatus and was replaced by Freddie Hubbard. The record was later released as V.S.O.P. and was highly instrumental in increasing the popularity of acoustic jazz.[citation needed] The group went on to tour and record for several years, releasing a series of live albums under the name "V.S.O.P." or "The V.S.O.P. Quintet".

In 1979, Williams, McLaughlin and bassist Jaco Pastorius united for a one-time performance at the Havana Jazz Festival. This trio came to be known as the Trio of Doom, and a recording of their performance was released in 2007. It opens with a powerful drum improvisation by Williams, followed by McLaughlin's "Dark Prince" and Pastorius' "Continuum", Williams' original composition "Para Oriente" and McLaughlin's "Are You the One?"

With the group Fuse One, Williams released two albums in 1980 and 1982.[4] In 1985, he recorded an album for Blue Note Records entitled Foreign Intrigue, which featured the playing of pianist Mulgrew Miller and trumpeter Wallace Roney. Later that year he formed a quintet with Miller, Roney, saxophonist Bill Pierce, and bassist Charnett Moffett (later Ira Coleman). This band played Williams' compositions almost exclusively (the Lennon–McCartney song "Blackbird", the standard "Poinciana", and the Freddie Hubbard blues "Birdlike" being the exceptions) and toured and recorded throughout the remainder of the 1980s and into the early 1990s. This rhythm section also recorded as a trio.
Williams also played drums for the band Public Image Limited, fronted by former Sex Pistols singer John Lydon, on their 1986 release album/cassette/compact disc (the album title varied depending on the format). He played on the songs "FFF", "Rise" (a modest hit), and "Home". Bass guitarist Bill Laswell co-wrote those three songs with Lydon. The other drummer on that album was Ginger Baker, who had played in Cream with Bruce.

Williams lived and taught in the San Francisco Bay Area until his death from a heart attack following routine gall bladder surgery. One of his final recordings was The Last Wave by the trio known as Arcana, a release organized by Laswell.

Williams played traditional grip as well as other American and European grips.


As leader

1964: Life Time (Blue Note)
1965: Spring (Blue Note)
1969: Emergency! (Polydor)
1970: Turn It Over (Verve)
1971: Ego (Polydor)
1972: The Old Bum's Rush (Polydor)
1975: Believe It (Columbia)
1975, 1976 The Collection (Columbia)
1976: Million Dollar Legs (Columbia)
1979: The Joy of Flying (Columbia)
1980: Play or Die (P.S. Productions) – with Tom Grant and Patrick O'Hearn[5]
1982: Third Plane (Carrere) – with Ron Carter and Herbie Hancock
1985: Foreign Intrigue (Blue Note)
1986: Civilization (Blue Note)
1986, 1988: Angel Street (Blue Note)
1989: Native Heart (Blue Note)
1991: The Story of Neptune (Blue Note)
1992: Tokyo Live (Blue Note)
1993: Unmasked (Atlantic)
1996: Wilderness (Ark 21)
1996: Young at Heart (Columbia)

As sideman

With Geri Allen
Twenty One (1994)
With Arcana
The Last Wave (1995)
Arc of the Testimony (1997)
With Chet Baker
You Can't Go Home Again (1972)
The Best Thing for You (1977)
Chet Baker / Wolfgang Lackerschmid (1979)
With George Cables
Phantom of the City (1985)
With Ron Carter
Third Plane (1978)
Etudes (1982)
With Stanley Clarke
Stanley Clarke (1974)
With Miles Davis
Seven Steps to Heaven (1963)
Miles Davis in Europe (1963)
Four & More (1964)
My Funny Valentine (1964)
Miles in Tokyo (1964)
Miles in Berlin (1964)
E.S.P. (1965)
The Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel (1965)
Miles Smiles (1966)
Directions (1967, 1968)
Sorcerer (1967)
Nefertiti (1967)
Water Babies (1967, 1968)
Circle in the Round (1967, 1968)
Miles in the Sky (1968)
The Complete Miles Davis–Gil Evans Studio Recordings – four takes of "Falling Water" (1968)
Filles de Kilimanjaro (1968)
In a Silent Way (1969)
Live in Europe 1967: The Bootleg Series Vol. 1 (2012)
With Eric Dolphy
Out to Lunch (1964)
With Kenny Dorham
Una Mas (1963)
With Gil Evans
The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix – track 8, "Little Wing" (1975)
With Tommy Flanagan
The Trio (1983)
With Hal Galper
Now Hear This (1977)
With Stan Getz
Captain Marvel (1972)
With Dexter Gordon
Round Midnight (1986)
With Herbie Hancock
My Point of View (1963)
Empyrean Isles (1964)
Maiden Voyage (1965)
V.S.O.P. (1976)
V.S.O.P.: The Quintet (1977)
V.S.O.P.: Tempest in the Colosseum (1977)
Herbie Hancock Trio (1977)
Sunlight (1978)
V.S.O.P.: Live Under the Sky (1979)
Herbie Hancock Trio (1982)
Mr. Hands (1982)
Quartet (1982)
Town Hall Concert (1985)
With Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Wallace Roney
A Tribute to Miles (1992)
With Jonas Hellborg and the Soldier String Quartet
The Word (1991)
With Joe Henderson
Relaxin' at Camarillo (1979)
With Andrew Hill
Point of Departure (1964)
With Terumasa Hino
May Dance (1977)
With Allan Holdsworth
Atavachron – track 5 (1986)
With Michael Mantler
Movies (1977)
With Ray Manzarek
The Golden Scarab (1973)
With Branford Marsalis
Renaissance (1987)
With Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis (1981)
With John McLaughlin
Johnny McLaughlin: Electric Guitarist (1978)
With Jackie McLean
Vertigo (1963)
One Step Beyond (1963)
New Wine In Old Bottles (1978)
With Marcus Miller
The Sun Don't Lie (1990–92)
With Mulgrew Miller
The Countdown (1988)
With Grachan Moncur III
Evolution (Blue Note, 1963)
Some Other Stuff (Blue Note, 1964)
With Jaco Pastorius and John McLaughlin
Trio of Doom (1979)
With Michel Petrucciani
Marvellous (1994)
With Public Image Limited
Album (1985)
With Don Pullen
New Beginnings (Blue Note, 1988)
With Sam Rivers
Fuchsia Swing Song (Blue Note, 1964)
With Sonny Rollins
Easy Living (1977)
Don't Stop the Carnival (1978)
No Problem (1981)
With Wallace Roney
Verses (1987)
With Travis Shook
Travis Shook (1993)
With Wayne Shorter
The Soothsayer (1965)
With McCoy Tyner
Supertrios (1977)
Counterpoints (1978)
With Sadao Watanabe
I'm Old Fashioned (1976)
With Weather Report
Mr. Gone (1978)

Jump up ^ Yanow, Scott. "Allmusic website". Retrieved 2011-10-31.
Jump up ^ "Tony Williams Interview 1995". Retrieved 27 March 2012.
Jump up ^ Miles The Autobiography, Miles Davis with Quincy Troupe, Picador, 1989, p. 254.
Jump up ^ "Allmusic Fuse One Discography". Retrieved 2011-10-31.
Jump up ^ "Tony Williams* - Play or Die (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Retrieved 2011-10-31.