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Tony Williams Lifetime - The Old Bum's Rush CD (album) cover


Tony Williams Lifetime


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.21 | 9 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars By the fourth album of Lifetime, the emergency and all other sense of urgency was long gone, and whatever prompted Tony to record such a weird and atypical album as Bum's Rish. Well typically this is the type of album that appears when a group is without a clear musical direction or in this case, taking up a wrong alley. For one thing Laura Logan's vocals are fine (between a normal jazz voice and the gritty plus of a soul singer, the whole thing reminiscent of Janis Joplin at times), but her presence on the first side of the album is overstaying its welcome. The weird electronic noises are probably supposed to answer Hancock's Mwandishi albums of Sextant and Crossings, but here these "noises" seem to be taken from a pinball game of that era and sound completely ridiculous, sometimes irritating. My personal feeling aboutthiosalbuim is that it gotslammed the Lifetime sticker on it to sell, but it wasn't one at the start opf the sessions.

The first three tracks could be seen as a US answer to Joolz, Brian Auger and The Trinity, especially in terms of the songs chosen, with Williams making up on brilliance with the drum that Webster loses to Brian on organ. Well if you like your JR/F sung this might up your alley, but to me?. The first side closes on a much better (and proggier) Mystic Knights Of The Sea, finishing in gloomy dissonant atmospheres, but the mood was much happier in its first part.

The flipside opens on Williams Sr. and tenor sax rolling in the intro of Changing Man, this time sung by Tony himself, but it's not upping the average of the album although the song is raw and rough. Boodang (this comes from the artwork of the sleeve) is definitely grittier rockier still with plenty of 70's streetwise atmospheres. Exciting funky bass and outstanding drums. The closing 10-mins+ title track is definitely the highlight, but again loses the musical plot?.. almost conventional jazz jamming with inhabitual performances on vocals then the electronic noises, , dangerous machine gun-like drum outburst, funky bass intermezzo etc? you name it, that do it, but outside a weird jam session, there isn't more.

Well I wouldn't go as far as saying that TBR's artwork is prophetic (Williams and his drums getting the boot from a club), but it's clearly not Lifetime's best moments, even though there are still some bright moments like on the flipside where the ambiances could make it comparable to Miles' On The Corner. But no wonder this is the last Lifetime until the mid-decade is reached.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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