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Tony Williams Lifetime - Believe It CD (album) cover


Tony Williams Lifetime


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.19 | 72 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
5 stars In the liner notes we are told that Tony Williams' dad was a sax player in Jazz bands around Boston. He proudly took his son Tony with him on the Jazz circuit. "At the age of 9, Tony sat in on the drums and the mastery and skill that astonished everyone that night progressed like wildfire. At 17 he was talent spotted by bebop legend Jackie McLean and was taken to New York, and shortly afterwards was invited to join Miles Davis' pacesetting quintet-plucked from obscurity he was now sitting at the very top of the Jazz tree". Miles Davis said this about Tony in his autobiography, "I can tell you this, there ain't but one Tony Williams when it comes to playing the drums.There was nobody like him before or since. He's just a motherfucker". Considering Miles played with Billy Cobham and other greats, that's a huge statement. Interesting that a young and upcoming bassist Jaco Pastorius tried out for this band but Tony gave the position to former motown bass player Tony Newton, who is incredible by the way. Alan Holdsworth is on guitar here, and I have not heard him sound better than this. Alan Pasqua plays the keyboards rounding out the lineup.

I have to say right off the bat that this record completely floored me. I mean listening to Williams' drum work and Holdsworth guitar technique and skill was just a pleasure.Yet it's more then that because these songs are fantastic, plus we have some killer bass and amazing keyboard play throughout. Impressed is an understatement. "Snake Oil" is a Newton composition and check out his bass intro ! The band then kicks in and it all sounds incredible. Love the rhythm section on this one. Holdsworth comes in before 2 minutes. Williams is fantastic 4 1/2 minutes in as guitar plays over top. Great section.This one's all about the almost Zeuhl-like rhythm though.

"Fred" is a Holdsworth track that opens with drums then this gorgeous melody takes over quickly. The keys absolutely move me here as the bass and drums support. It turns aggressive before 1 1/2 minutes as Holdsworth comes in.The contrast continues. Check out the keyboards 2 1/2 minutes in. It settles before 4 minutes with some pleasant guitar until Alan then starts to rip it up. That beautiful melody from earlier is back before 6 minutes. Big finish. "Proto-Cosmos" is Pasqua's lone composition. Interesting because it's Holdsworth who simply blows me away with his playing on this one. Williams comes in then Pasqua 2 minutes in. Nice bass lines too. Williams is back 3 1/2 minutes in, then guitar ends it. "Red Alert" is another Newton track. And like his other one this has a heavy,prominant rhythm to it. It settles a minute in as the guitar starts to solo, but while he's lighting it up that heavy rhythm returns. Piano takes the lead 2 1/2 minutes in. Guitar returns to end it. Amazing stuff!

"Wildlife" is Williams' lone tune. This is more laid back to start as guitar comes in tastefully. It turns more aggressive though a minute in and this contrast continues. Check out the keyboard / drum melody 3 minutes in. incredible. "Mr.Spock" is Holdsworth's song and yes he's a fan of Star Trek. It's fairly heavy to start but lightens somewhat as all four of these guys shine.Tony is so fluid and impressive on the drums and Holdsworth lights it up after 3 minutes as Tony pounds away. Williams is on fire after 4 1/2 minutes. It ends heavily much like it started.

This for me is the perfect blend of Jazz and Rock that I can drink all day. In fact i've been holding off reviewing it so it can stay in my rotation longer.

Mellotron Storm | 5/5 |


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