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Tony Williams Lifetime - Ego CD (album) cover


Tony Williams Lifetime


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.93 | 10 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars As Tony's first Lifetime passed away, it got resurrected or reincarnated as half of itself, as only Larry Young remain (if you'll except Bruce's singing one track) , but Williams called on Ron Carter on bass and Ted Dunbar on guitar. The ugly artwork and apt title shows that indeed Williams was probably very full of himself, but nevertheless this album manages to be as interesting as the previous two he'd done under the Lifetime banner. Ego is a very percussive affair as he's also hired another drummer and a percussionist to enhance the rhythm section. The album retains the psychedelic feel present on the previous two albums hat is so unusual to jazz-rock.

Both sides of the vinyl start with short percussive tracks that flow at neck-breaking pace, only to segue in very interesting tracks. On the A-side, There Comes A Time is a red-hot descending riff, where Dunbar has it easy to solo, especially that Young's organ is content in playing layers. Early Santana is not far away, here and Williams almost sings in here. Another percussive track is Piskow's Filigree and lasting some four minutes, it evokes (to me anyways) tropical nature at dawn. Circle 45 is a contrabass-driven almost-standard tune, except that the incessant electronic twiddles are reminding you of fusion. Two Worlds is n impressive meddling of the two types of tracks, the percussive ones with the more constructed or standard ones, but Jack Bruce's vocals are fairly well imbedded in the track. Probably the best track of the album, despite not being easy to get into.

On the flipside, past the percussive intro, the 7-mins+ Lonesome Wells returns a bit on Santana meets Colosseum territory where Williams might be overdoing it in terms of vocals. Mum And Dad is a gentle organ-driven track. Marimbas are unfortunately cheapening the closing Urchins, but the percussion instruments in general dominate the track ad absurdum.

A very unusual album in the Lifetime, (it can't be linked to the first two albums or the Holdsworth era, nor has it anything to do with Bum's Rush), Ego is nevertheless an excellent album that is to be appreciated on the same level as Emergency or Turn It Over, even if Williams' collabs are not as famous on this one.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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