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Tony Williams Lifetime - Million Dollar Legs CD (album) cover


Tony Williams Lifetime


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.13 | 18 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

While this album suffers from execrable reputation (some of it deserved), it's not quite as bad as what some reviewers would have you believe. True that the absolutely ugly artwork and the stupid title do no favour to this wax slice?.. You'd believe we're in some kind of mid-70's funky radio-friendly junk stuck somewhere between Orleans and Kool & The Gang, with Tony even looking a bit like a retarded shoe fetishist. If that wasn't enough, the album is over-produced with often unneeded horns and seldom useful string arrangements, but the New Lifetime's line-up remains unchanged, although it's more Pasqua's baby, as opposed to the previous being Holdsworth's. One thing for sure: Pasqua didn't feel limited to the Rhodes or Hammond, he was using synths to beef up the compositions and unlike many of those years, and he chose well his sounds.

Admittedly, starting on an average jazz funk tune (a little long and repetitive) Sweet revenge, then on an atrocious (but thankfully short) sung track You Did It To Me (and they did, and it hurt), intended to be a radio hit filled with a full EW&F brass section, all these don't make a good start to an album that follow a minor masterpiece. However the title tracks does reverse things with some excellent chord progressions, good string arrangements (despite what I said in the opening paragraph), and some excellent GG-esque keyboards. Joy Filled Summer brings us more of the same minus the strings and more of Holdsworth and Tony dazzles us. Excellent track if a little repetitive. These two tracks are reminiscent of early Brian Auger's Oblivion Express

The flipside starts on the slow-evolving piano-dominated Lady Jade where the strings reappear, but this time in all cheesiness, but thankfully it's quickly over. The 7-mins What You Do To Me is an excellent crescendo track, one that might just be the answer to that excruciatingly bad "hit" on the A side. Again Oblivion Express shades are all over this track. The almost 10-mins finale Inspiration Of Love, where a tad of Lady Alice (Coltrane) permeated Pasqua's piano in the intro, before Holdsworth pulls a huge solo. Overall this closing monster is a fine piece if it wasn't for the over-powering string arrangements around the end of the track.

Well the end of Lifetime was near as they would find themselves abandoned on a tour by their management, and if heir last album was not their best, it certainly doesn't deserve its bad reputation aside the awful front artwork. Definitely needs rehabilitation among some "fans".

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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