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Williams, Anthony (w/ Shorter / Rivers / Hancock / Hutcherson / Carter / Davis / Peacock): Life Time (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Remastering & reissuing drummer Anthony Williams first two albums: Life Time was recorded for Blue Note shortly after joining the Miles Davis Quintet, employing two bassists--Richard Davis and Gary Peacock--along with mentor Sam Rivers and Davis alumni Herbie Hancock & Ron Carter; Spring reflects the new freedom of 60s jazz in a quintet with both Wayne Shorter & Sam Rivers.
 

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UPC: 752156112624

Label: ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd
Catalog ID: ezz-thetics 1126
Squidco Product Code: 31444

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2022
Country: Switzerland
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded August 21st, 24th, 1964 and August 12th, 1965. Life Time was originally released in 1964 on vinyl LP for the Blue Note label as catalog code BLP 4180. Spring was originally released in 1966 on vinyl LP for the Blue Note label as catalog code BLP 4216.


Personnel:

Sam Rivers-tenor saxophone

Richard Davis-double bass

Gary Peacock-double bass

Herbie Hancock-piano

Bobby Hutcherson-vibraphone, marimba

Ron Carter-Double bass

Tony Williams-drums, percussion

Wayne Shorter-tenor saxophone

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Artist Biographies:

"Samuel Carthorne Rivers (September 25, 1923 – December 26, 2011) was an American jazz musician and composer. He performed on soprano and tenor saxophones, bass clarinet, flute, harmonica and piano.

Active in jazz since the early 1950s, he earned wider attention during the mid-1960s spread of free jazz. With a thorough command of music theory, orchestration and composition, Rivers was an influential and prominent artist in jazz music.

Rivers was born in El Reno, Oklahoma. His father was a gospel musician who had sung with the Fisk Jubilee Singers and the Silverstone Quartet, exposing Rivers to music from an early age. His grandfather was Marshall W. Taylor, a religious leader from Kentucky. Rivers was stationed in California in the 1940s during a stint in the Navy. Here he performed semi-regularly with blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon. Rivers moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 1947, where he studied at the Boston Conservatory with Alan Hovhaness.

He performed with Quincy Jones, Herb Pomeroy, Tadd Dameron and others.

In 1959 Rivers began performing with 13-year-old drummer Tony Williams. Rivers was briefly a member of the Miles Davis Quintet in 1964, partly on Williams's recommendation. This edition of the quintet released a single live album, Miles in Tokyo, from a show recorded on July 14 at Kohseinenkin Hall. Rivers' tenure with the quintet was brief: he had engagements in Boston, and his playing style was too avant-garde for Davis during this period; he was replaced by Wayne Shorter shortly thereafter.

Rivers was signed by Blue Note Records, for whom he recorded four albums as leader and made several sideman appearances. Among noted sidemen on his own Blue Note albums were Jaki Byard, who appears on Fuchsia Swing Song, Herbie Hancock and Freddie Hubbard. He appeared on Blue Note recordings by Tony Williams, Andrew Hill and Larry Young.

Rivers derived his music from bebop, but he was an adventurous player, adept at free jazz. The first of his Blue Note albums, Fuchsia Swing Song (1964), adopts an approach sometimes called "inside-outside". Here the performer frequently obliterates the explicit harmonic framework ("going outside") but retains a hidden link so as to be able to return to it in a seamless fashion. Rivers brought the conceptual tools of bebop harmony to a new level in this process, united at all times with the ability to "tell a story", which Lester Young had laid down as a benchmark for the jazz improviser.

His powers as a composer were also in evidence in this period: the ballad "Beatrice" from Fuchsia Swing Song has become an important standard, particularly for tenor saxophonists. For instance, it is the first cut on Joe Henderson's 1985 The State of the Tenor, Vols. 1 & 2, and Stan Getz recorded it during the 1989 sessions eventually issued as Bossas & Ballads – The Lost Sessions.

During the 1970s, Rivers and his wife, Bea, ran a jazz loft called "Studio Rivbea" in New York City's NoHo district. It was located on Bond Street in Lower Manhattan and was originally opened as a public performance space as part of the first New York Musicians Festival in 1970. Critic John Litweiler has written that "In New York Loft Jazz meant Free Jazz in the Seventies" and Studio Rivbea was "the most famous of the lofts". The loft was important in the development of jazz because it was an example of artists creating their own performance spaces and taking responsibility for presenting music to the public. This allowed for music to be free of extra-musical concerns that would be present in a nightclub or concert hall situation. A series of recordings made at the loft were issued under the title Wildflowers on the Douglas label.

Rivers was also recruited by Clifford Thornton to lead a student world-music/free-jazz ensemble at Wesleyan University in 1971.

During this era Rivers continued to record, including several albums for Impulse!: Streams, recorded live at Montreux, Hues (both records contain different trio performances later collated on CD as Trio Live), the quartet album Sizzle and his first big-band disc, Crystals; perhaps his best-known work from this period though is his appearance on Dave Holland's Conference of the Birds, in the company of Anthony Braxton and Barry Altschul.

In the early 1990s Sam and wife Beatrice moved to Florida, in part to expand his orchestra compositions with a reading band in Orlando. This band became the longest-running incarnation of the RivBea Orchestra. He performed regularly with his Orchestra and Trio with bassist Doug Mathews and drummer Anthony Cole (later replaced by Rion Smith.) From 1996 to 1998 he toured and recorded three projects for Nato Records in France with pianist Tony Hymas and others. In 1998, with the assistance of Steve Coleman, he recorded two Grammy-nominated big-band albums for RCA Victor with the RivBea All-Star Orchestra, Culmination and Inspiration (the title-track is an elaborate reworking of Dizzy Gillespie's "Tanga": Rivers was in Gillespie's band near the end of the trumpeter's life). Other late albums of note include Portrait, a solo recording for FMP, and Vista, a trio with drummers Adam Rudolph and Harris Eisenstadt for Meta. During the late 1990s he appeared on several albums on Postcards Records.

In 2006, he released Aurora, a third CD featuring compositions for his Rivbea Orchestra and the first CD featuring members of his working orchestra in Orlando.

Rivers died from pneumonia on December 26, 2011 at the age of 88 in Orlando, Florida.

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Sam Rivers among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Rivers)
5/18/2022

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Richard Davis is an international performing musician and Professor of Bass (European Classicaland Jazz), Jazz History and combo improvisation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Chicagoborn, he came to the UW-Madison in 1977 after spending 23 years in New York City establishinghimself as one of the world's premier bass players. Downbeat International Critics Poll named himBest Bassist from 1967-74. He has recorded a dozen albums as a leader and 3000 recordings andjingles as a sideman. His performance/recording credits include Sarah Vaughan, Eric Dolphy, DonSebesky, Oliver Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, MilesDavis, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Band, Dexter Gordon, Ahmad Jamal and a host of other notables.​Mr. Davis is equally at home in the world of euro classical music, having played under the batons ofGeorge Szell, Leopold Stokowski, Igor Stravinsky, Pierre Boulez, Gunther Schuller, and LeonardBernstein. His great versatility as a bassist keeps him in constant demand for worldwide concertappearances. For nearly fifty years he has drawn enthusiastic audiences in Japan, Europe, Russia,South America, Puerto Rico, Cuba, The West Indies, Hong Kong , Israel and United States. His mostrecent CD release (May 2000) , The Bassists: Homage to Diversity (King Records) was recorded inJapan. This CD was inspired by experiences related to diversity dialogue. His second CD with King records So In Love was assembled with the idea of embracing the oneness of humankind.

In 1993, he founded the Richard Davis Foundation for Young Bassists, Inc. which annually brings in 17 masterful bass instructors/performers to teach young bassists ages 3-18.In 1998 he created the Retention Action Project (R.A.P.) focused on open dialogues in subjects that educate all of us to multicultural differences. R.A.P. collaborated with Vice Chancellor Paul W. Barrows (student affairs) and Seema Kapani, Diversity Education Coordinator/Trainer (Equity and Diversity Resourse Center).He has been instrumental in bringing to the UW campus renowned speakers and social change activists such as Peggy McIntosh, Jane Elliott, Francie Kendall, Nathan Rutstein, Victor Lewis, Hugh Vasquez (Color of Fear, Stir Fry Productions,1994) and Allan G. Johnson (Gender Knot). Prof. Davis is devoted to equity issues and shares freely his wisdom, home, and resources with one and all to help create an environment where all can experience dignity and peace. He has also initiated a chapter in Madison of the "Institutes for the Healing of Racism, Inc."

Prof. Davis has received honorary doctorate degrees in Musical Arts and Humane Letters, and the Hilldale Award for distinguished teaching from former Chancellor Donna Shalala, and a honorary doctorate of Humane Letters from Edgewood College, Madison, in 1998. In 2000 he received the Manfred E. Swarsensky Humanitarian Award from the Rotary Club Of Madison. In 2001 he received the Governor's of Wisconsin Arts Award.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award, bestowed annually by the City of Madison, was presented to Dr. Richard Davis by Mayor Susan J.M. Bauman during the 18th Annual City-County Observance of Dr. King's birth at the Madison Civic Center, on Monday, January, 2003. (Interview)

In 2008, Richard Davis received the MAMA (Madison Area Music Award Michael St. John Lifetime Achievement Award, Human Rights Award (Rev.James C. Wright), "FIGS" 2008 First Interest Group Students (Freshman Year), the TRIO award/first in family to go to College/Awarded by Caroline McCormack. In 2009 he received the Exceptional Service Award University of Wisconsin-Madison 2009 (Gary Sandefur, Dean), and the Spencer Tracy Award for Distinction in the Performing Arts (Wisconsin Historical Society)."

-Richard Website (https://www.richarddavis.org/)
5/18/2022

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"Gary Peacock (born May 12, 1935, in Burley, Idaho, United States) is an American jazz double-bassist.

After military service in Germany, in the early sixties he worked on the west coast with Barney Kessel, Bud Shank, Paul Bley and Art Pepper, then moved to New York. He worked there with Bley, the Bill Evans Trio (with Paul Motian), and Albert Ayler's trio with Sunny Murray. There were also some live dates with Miles Davis, as a temporary substitute for Ron Carter.

Peacock spent time in Japan in the late 1960s, abandoning music temporarily and studying Zen philosophy. After returning to the United States in 1972, he studied Biology at the University of Washington in Seattle, and taught music theory at Cornish College of the Arts from 1976 to 1983.

In 1983 he joined Keith Jarrett's "Standards Trio" with Jack DeJohnette (the three musicians had previously recorded Tales of Another in 1977 for ECM Records, under Peacock's leadership). Among the trio's albums are Standards, Vol. 1 and Standards, Vol. 2 and Standards Live.

With the breakup of the "Standards Trio" in 2014, Peacock decided to continue his career as the leader of his own piano trio, with Marc Copland on piano and Joey Baron on drums. His 80th birthday year (2015) saw him touring worldwide with this trio to support their ECM release."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Peacock)
5/18/2022

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Herbert Jeffrey Hancock (born April 12, 1940) is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader, composer and actor. Hancock started his career with Donald Byrd. He shortly thereafter joined the Miles Davis Quintet, where he helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the post-bop sound. In the 1970s, Hancock experimented with jazz fusion, funk, and electro styles.

Hancock's best-known compositions include the jazz standards "Cantaloupe Island", "Watermelon Man", "Maiden Voyage", and "Chameleon", as well as the hit singles "I Thought It Was You" and "Rockit". His 2007 tribute album River: The Joni Letters won the 2008 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, only the second jazz album to win the award, after Getz/Gilberto in 1965. [...]"

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbie_Hancock)
5/18/2022

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Bobby Hutcherson was born January 27, 1941, in Los Angeles. He studied piano with his aunt as a child, but didn't enjoy the formality of the training; still, he tinkered with it on his own, especially since his family was already connected to jazz: his brother was a high school friend of Dexter Gordon and his sister was a singer who later dated Eric Dolphy. Everything clicked for Hutcherson during his teen years when he heard a Milt Jackson record; he worked until he saved up enough money to buy his own set of vibes. He began studying with Dave Pike and playing local dances in a group led by his friend, bassist Herbie Lewis. After high school, Hutcherson parlayed his growing local reputation into gigs with Curtis Amy and Charles Lloyd and in 1960, he joined an ensemble co-led by Al Grey and Billy Mitchell. In 1961, the group was booked at New York's legendary Birdland club and Hutcherson wound up staying on the East Coast after word about his inventive four-mallet playing started to spread. Hutcherson was invited to jam with some of the best up-and-coming musicians in New York: hard boppers like Grant Green, Hank Mobley, and Herbie Hancock, but most importantly, forward-thinking experimentalists like Jackie McLean, Grachan Moncur III, Archie Shepp, Andrew Hill, and Eric Dolphy. Through those contacts, Hutcherson became an in-demand sideman at recording sessions, chiefly for Blue Note.

Hutcherson had a coming-out party of sorts on McLean's seminal "new thing" classic One Step Beyond (1963), providing an unorthodox harmonic foundation in the piano-less quintet. His subsequent work with Dolphy was even more groundbreaking and his free-ringing, open chords and harmonically advanced solos were an important part of Dolphy's 1964 masterwork Out to Lunch. That year, he won the DownBeat readers' poll as Most Deserving of Wider Recognition on his instrument.

Hutcherson's first shot as a leader came with 1965's Dialogue, a classic of modernist post-bop with a sextet featuring some of the hottest young talent on the scene - most notably Freddie Hubbard, Sam Rivers, and Andrew Hill, although drummer Joe Chambers would go on to become a fixture on Hutcherson's '60s records (and often contributed some of the freest pieces he recorded). A series of generally excellent sessions followed over the next few years, highlighted by 1965's classic Components (which showcased both the free and straight-ahead sides of Hutcherson's playing) and 1966's Stick-Up! In 1967, he returned to Los Angeles and started a quintet co-led by tenor saxophonist Harold Land, which made its recording debut the following year on Total Eclipse. Several more sessions followed (Spiral, Medina, Now) that positioned the quintet about halfway in between free bop and mainstream hard bop - advanced territory, but not entirely fashionable at the time. Thus, the group didn't really receive its due and dissolved in 1971.

By that point, Hutcherson was beginning a brief flirtation with mainstream fusion, which produced 1970s funky but still sophisticated San Francisco (named after his new base of operations). By 1973, however, he'd abandoned that direction, returning to modal bop and forming a new quintet with trumpeter Woody Shaw that played at that summer's Montreux Jazz Festival (documented on Live at Montreux). In 1974, he re-teamed with Land and over the next few years, he continued to record cerebral bop dates for Blue Note despite being out of step with the label's more commercial direction. He finally departed in 1977 and signed with Columbia, where he recorded three albums from 1978-1979 (highlighted by Un Poco Loco). Adding the marimba to his repertoire, Hutcherson remained active throughout the '80s as both a sideman and leader, recording most often for Landmark in a modern-mainstream bop mode. He spent much of the '90s touring rather than leading sessions; in 1993, he teamed with McCoy Tyner for the duet album Manhattan Moods. Toward the end of the decade, Hutcherson signed on with Verve, for whom he debuted in 1999 with the well-received Skyline.

In 2004, Hutcherson joined the San Francisco Jazz Collective, touring with the ensemble for several years. In 2007, he released the album For Sentimental Reasons, which featured pianist Renee Rosnes. Two years later, Hutcherson returned with the John Coltrane-inspired Wise One. The concert album, Somewhere in the Night, recorded at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Lincoln Center, appeared in 2012. In 2014, Hutcherson joined organist Joey DeFrancesco and saxophonist David Sanborn for the Blue Note session Enjoy the View."-Steve Huey

-Blue Note (https://www.bluenote.com/artist/bobby-hutcherson/)
5/18/2022

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"Ron Carter is among the most original, prolific, and influential bassists in jazz. He has recorded over 2200 albums, and has a Guinness world record to prove it!

In Jazz: Over his 60 year career, he has recorded with so many of the jazz greats greats: Lena Horne, Bill Evans, B.B. King, Dexter Gordon, Wes Montgomery, Bobby Timmons, Eric Dolphy, Cannonball Adderley and Jaki Byard to name a few. From 1963 to 1968, he was a member of the acclaimed Miles Davis Quintet.

In other genres: After leaving the quintet he embarked on a prolific 50-year free lance career that spanned vastly different music genres and continues to this day. He recorded with Aretha Franklin, appeared on the seminal hip-hop album Low End Theory with a Tribe Called Quest, wrote and recorded pieces for string quartets and Bach chorales for 2-8 basses and accompanied Danny Simmons on a spoken word album.

As a leader: Carter spends at least half the year on worldwide tours with his various groups. The Ron Carter Trio, The Ron Carter quartet, the Ron Carter Nonet and Ron Carter’s Great Big Band. He has recorded multiple albums with his groups.

As an author: Carter shares his expertise in the series of books he authored, where he explains his creative process and teaches bassists of all levels to improve their skills and develop their own unique sound. He also penned his autobiography “Finding the Right Notes” which is available in print and also as an audiobook read by the Maestro himself.

As a teacher: Carter has lectured, conducted, and performed at clinics and master classes, instructing jazz ensembles and teaching the business of music at numerous universities. He was Artistic Director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Studies while it was located in Boston and, after 18 years on the faculty of the Music Department of The City College of New York, he is now Distinguished Professor Emeritus, he currently teaches at Manhattan School of Music.

In film scoring: In addition to scoring and arranging music for many films, including some projects for Public Broadcasting System, Carter composed music for A Gathering of Old Men, starring Lou Gosset Jr., The Passion of Beatrice directed by Bertrand Tavernier, and Blind Faith starring Courtney B. Vance.

Film appearances: Most jazz documentaries feature the Maestro because of his indelible contribution to the genre. Ken Burns “Jazz”, “Birth of the Cool” about Miles Davis, "It Must be Schwing", the story of the Blue Note and many more. He also appeared as himself in HBO’s hit series “Treme” and was the bassist on soundtracks of Twin Peaks, Bird, and way too many others to mention.

Education: Carter earned a bachelor of music degree from the Eastman School in Rochester and a master's degree in double bass from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. He has also received five honorary doctorates, from the New England Conservatory of Music, Manhattan School of Music, University of Rochester, Juilliard and Berklee, and was the 2002 recipient of the prestigious Hutchinson Award from the Eastman School at the University of Rochester."

-Ron Carter Website (https://roncarterjazz.com/pages/biography)
5/18/2022

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"Anthony Tillmon Williams (December 12, 1945 – February 23, 1997) was an American jazz drummer.

Williams first gained fame in the band of trumpeter Miles Davis and pioneered jazz fusion. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1986. During his lifetime, music critic Robert Christgau described Williams as "probably the best drummer in the world".

Williams was born in Chicago and grew up in Boston. He was of African, Portuguese, and Chinese descent. He studied 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 gained attention by joining Miles Davis in what 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." His playing helped redefine the role of the jazz rhythm section through the use of polyrhythms and metric modulation. Meanwhile, he recorded his first two albums as leader for Blue Note label, Life Time (1964) and Spring (1965). He also recorded as a sideman for the label including, in 1964, Out to Lunch! with Eric Dolphy and Point of Departure with Andrew Hill.

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.

Their first album was Emergency!. After the departures of McLaughlin and bassist Jack Bruce, who had joined the group for its second album, and several more releases, 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 with his colleagues from the Miles Davis band: keyboardist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and 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. The group toured and for several years and a series of live albums were released under the name "V.S.O.P." or "V.S.O.P.: The 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 (along with some studio tracks recorded in New York shortly thereafter) 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?" Williams and Pastorius had also played together on the Herbie Hancock track "Good Question" from his 1978 album Sunlight. With the group Fuse One, Williams released two albums in 1980 and 1982.

In 1985, he returned to Blue Note and the result was a series of recordings for the label beginning with 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. Williams also played drums for the band Public Image Limited, fronted by John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols), on their release Album/Cassette/Compact Disc (1986, 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.

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 Bill Laswell."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Williams_(drummer))
5/18/2022

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Wayne Shorter (born August 25, 1933) is an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Shorter came to prominence in the late 1950s as a member of, and eventually primary composer for, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. In the 1960s, he joined Miles Davis's Second Great Quintet, and then co-founded the jazz fusion band Weather Report. He has recorded over 20 albums as a bandleader.

Many Shorter compositions have become jazz standards, and his music has earned worldwide recognition, critical praise and commendation. Shorter has won 11 Grammy Awards. He is acclaimed for his mastery of the soprano saxophone since switching his focus from the tenor in the late 1960s and beginning an extended reign in 1970 as Down Beat's annual poll-winner on that instrument, winning the critics' poll for 10 consecutive years and the readers' for 18. The New York Times' Ben Ratliff described Shorter in 2008 as "probably jazz's greatest living small-group composer and a contender for greatest living improviser". In 2017, he was awarded the Polar Music Prize."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_Shorter)
5/18/2022

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.
track listing:


1. Two Pieces Of One: Red 8:07

2. Two Pieces Of One: Green 10:40

3. Tomorrow Afternoon 5:36

4. Memory 8:07

5. Barb's Song To The Wizard 5:56

6. Extras 8:10

7. Echo 5:01

8. From Before 6:52

9. Love Song 8:24

10. TEE 10:29
sample the album:








descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Teenage phenoms constitute an intriguing thread through jazz history. Most come and go, making an initial splash, aided by a record deal and the ever-eager jazz press, their profile soon ebbing until they secure their place as an also-ran in the sweepstakes for stardom. Very few exert a permanent influence on their instrument while still in their teens, and make a major contribution to an enduring jazz sub-genre before reaching 25. One that did both was the drummer who briefly went by Anthony Williams in the early to mid-1960s.

Williams was studying with Alan Dawson at 9 and playing with Sam Rivers at 13, notably with the Boston Improvisational Ensemble, who performed in museums, using cards and timetables to shape performances, occasionally in tandem with poets and slide shows of contemporary art. Discovering the drummer at a club gig, Jackie McLean recruited Williams in late 1962, promising the 16-year-old's parents that he would live with the McLean family and work steadily. Within weeks of relocating to New York, Williams played on McLean's pivotal One Step Beyond in April '63.

With Philly Joe Jones in tow to give a second opinion, Miles Davis was scouring New York for a replacement for Jimmy Cobb when he discovered Williams playing with McLean in May. Within days, Tony Williams was finishing Seven Steps to Heaven as part of Davis' new rhythm section with Ron Carter and Herbie Hancock. Davis' quintet then immediately went on the road and was touring Europe within weeks - Miles Davis in Europe documented their July concert at Antibes.

However, completing Davis' new quintet with Wayne Shorter stalled until the saxophonist finished his stint with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in September. Further complicating matters, George Coleman left after Davis' February '64 concert at Lincoln Center's Philharmonic Hall, which yielded My Funny Valentine and 'Four' and More. During this lull, Anthony Williams contributed to several cutting-edge Blue Note albums; but it is his work on Eric Dolphy's Out to Lunch that best previewed where he was headed.

With a lucrative July tour of Japan fast approaching, Davis hired Rivers on Williams' recommendation. Davis later credited Rivers with energizing the group; evidenced by Miles in Tokyo, the saxophonist's solos atomized the changes of the quintet's well-worn book, and palpably spurred Williams. Given their chemistry, it is unsurprising that Williams enlisted Rivers for his Blue Note debut as a leader, recorded several weeks after their return from Japan.

Life Time posited a radicalism quite different from the other watershed recordings of 1964. Williams had an overt, unconventional approach to form, accentuated by the time constraints of a LP side and the various configurations he employed. Performed by a two-bass quartet with Rivers, Richard Davis, and Gary Peacock, the A side-long "Two Parts of One" is an envelope-pushing study in stark contrasts, "Red" being a brushes-nudged, smoldering theme that frames a stunning, thickly textured bass duet, while "Green" is largely a blazing duet between Williams and Rivers.

The contour of the B side is more startling, particularly as it begins with the robustly swinging "Tomorrow Afternoon." "Third Stream" is only an approximation for "Memory," a trio with Hancock and Bobby Hutcherson, in that its jazz and chamber music tributaries are only suggested. However, it is the closing "Barb's Song to the Wizard" that is truly audacious, as Williams, the budding star, does not perform. Instead, Carter and Hancock mull over the lyrical theme until it peters out into silence.

By the time the 19-year-old Williams returned to Van Gelder Studio to record Spring with Hancock, Peacock, Rivers, and Shorter, the avant-garde was ascending, fueled by A Love Supreme. He retained some of the parameters of Life Time; propelling the themeless, tempo-no-changes opener, "Extras," with brushes, and commencing the B side with "Love Song," the most accessible track of the album. Around them, Williams introduced new gambits like frontloading "Echo," a drum kit solo. However, there were no departures in jazz album construction protocols as pronounced as those on Life Time. Williams even ended Spring with a barnstorming "Tee."

Spring was the last Anthony Williams album. For the rest of his life, Williams went only by Tony. The name change would be innocuous and inconsequential were it not for his Blue Notes standing far apart from his subsequent recordings. The question remains: What motivated Williams to identify as Anthony during this period? For a teenager who wanted to be taken seriously, Anthony is the clear choice. However, he was already being taken very seriously playing with Davis as Tony. Still, formality is a useful one-word explanation. Williams' Blue Notes have a formality, a recital-like posture that he discarded in favor of the colloquialisms of fusion. That formality is the radical core of Life Time and Spring."-Bill Shoemaker, December 2021

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Quintet Recordings
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