Tony Williams (drummer)
|Birth name||Anthony Tillmon Williams|
December 12, 1945|
Chicago, Illinois, US
|Origin||Boston, Massachusetts, US|
|Died||February 23, 1997
Daly City, California, US
|Genres||Jazz, post-bop, jazz fusion|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, composer, producer and bandleader|
|Associated acts||Miles Davis, The Tony Williams Lifetime, Sam Rivers, Jackie McLean, Alan Dawson, V.S.O.P., Public Image Ltd.|
Anthony Tillmon Williams (December 12, 1945 – February 23, 1997) was an American jazz drummer.
Life and career
This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
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 found considerable fame with Miles Davis, joining a group that 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 inventive playing helped redefine the role of the jazz rhythm section through the use of polyrhythms and metric modulation, moving between mathematically related tempos and/or time signatures.
Williams was an integral participant in the early- to mid-1960s avant-garde movement, playing on such classics as Jackie McLean's One Step Beyond, Grachan Moncur III's Evolution and Some Other Stuff, Sam Rivers's Fuchsia Swing Song, Andrew Hill's Point of Departure, and Eric Dolphy's Out to Lunch. His first album as a leader, 1964's Life Time, was also in the avant-garde vein.
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, a combination of rock, R&B, and jazz. Their first album was Emergency!. After McLaughlin and Bruce's departure, and several more albums, 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 and was highly influential in increasing the popularity of acoustic jazz. The group went on to tour and record for several years, releasing a series of live albums 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 recorded an album for Blue Note Records entitled 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 (the Lennon–McCartney song "Blackbird", the standard "Poinciana", and the Freddie Hubbard blues "Birdlike" being the exceptions) and toured and recorded throughout the remainder of the 1980s and into the early 1990s. This rhythm section also recorded as a trio.
Williams also played drums for the band Public Image Limited, fronted by former Sex Pistols singer John Lydon, on their 1986 release Album/Cassette/Compact Disc (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.
- 1964: Life Time (Blue Note)
- 1965: Spring (Blue Note)
- 1969: Emergency! (Verve)
- 1970: Turn It Over (Verve)
- 1971: Ego (Polydor)
- 1972: The Old Bum's Rush (Polydor)
- 1975: Believe It (Columbia)
- 1976: Million Dollar Legs (Columbia)
- 1975, 1976 The Collection (Columbia) - Believe It and Million Dollar Legs issued as one CD (1992)
- 1979: The Joy of Flying (Columbia)
- 1980: Play or Die (P.S. Productions) – with Tom Grant and Patrick O'Hearn
- 1985: Foreign Intrigue (Blue Note)
- 1986: Civilization (Blue Note)
- 1988: Angel Street (Blue Note)
- 1989: Native Heart (Blue Note)
- 1991: The Story of Neptune (Blue Note)
- 1992: Tokyo Live (Blue Note)
- 1996: Wilderness (Ark 21)
- 1996: Young at Heart (Columbia)
With Geri Allen
- Twenty One (Blue Note, 1994)
With Chet Baker
- You Can't Go Home Again (Horizon, 1977)
- The Best Thing for You (A&M, 1977 )
- Chet Baker / Wolfgang Lackerschmid (Sandra Music Productions, 1979) with Wolfgang Lackerschmid
With George Cables
- Phantom of the City (Contemporary, 1985)
With Ron Carter
- Third Plane (Milestone, 1978)
- 1 + 3 (JVC, 1978)
- Carnaval (Galaxy, 1978)
- Parade (Milestone, 1979)
- Etudes (Elektra/Musician, 1982)
With Stanley Clarke
- Stanley Clarke (1974)
With Miles Davis
- Seven Steps to Heaven (1963)
- Miles Davis in Europe (1963)
- Four & More (1964)
- My Funny Valentine (1964)
- Miles in Tokyo (1964)
- Miles in Berlin (1964)
- E.S.P. (1965)
- The Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel (1965)
- Miles Smiles (1966)
- Directions (1967, 1968)
- Sorcerer (1967)
- Nefertiti (1967)
- Water Babies (1967, 1968)
- Circle in the Round (1967, 1968)
- Miles in the Sky (1968)
- The Complete Miles Davis–Gil Evans Studio Recordings – four takes of "Falling Water" (1968)
- Filles de Kilimanjaro (1968)
- In a Silent Way (1969)
- Live in Europe 1967: The Bootleg Series Vol. 1 (Columbia Legacy, 2012)
- Miles Davis at Newport 1955-1975: The Bootleg Series Vol. 4 (Columbia Legacy, 2015)
With Eric Dolphy
- Out to Lunch (1964)
With Kenny Dorham
- Una Mas (1963)
With Gil Evans
- There Comes a Time (RCA, 1975)
With Tommy Flanagan
With Hal Galper
- Now Hear This (Enja, 1977)
With Stan Getz
- Captain Marvel (1972)
With Dexter Gordon
- Round Midnight (1986)
With Herbie Hancock
- My Point of View (1963)
- Empyrean Isles (1964)
- Maiden Voyage (1965)
- V.S.O.P. (1976)
- V.S.O.P.: The Quintet (1977)
- V.S.O.P.: Tempest in the Colosseum (1977)
- Herbie Hancock Trio (1977)
- Sunlight (1978)
- V.S.O.P.: Live Under the Sky (1979)
- Mr. Hands (1980)
- Herbie Hancock Trio (1982)
- Quartet (1982)
- Town Hall Concert (1985)
- Future2Future (2001)
- A Tribute to Miles (1992)
- The Word (1991)
With Joe Henderson
- Relaxin' at Camarillo (Contemporary, 1979)
With Andrew Hill
- Point of Departure (1964)
With Terumasa Hino
- May Dance (1977)
With Allan Holdsworth
- Atavachron – track 5 (1986)
With Hank Jones
- I'm Old Fashioned (East Wind, 1976) with Sadao Watanabe and The Great Jazz Trio
- Love for Sale (East Wind, 1976) as The Great Jazz Trio
- The Great Jazz Trio at the Village Vanguard (East Wind, 1977) as The Great Jazz Trio
- The Great Jazz Trio at the Village Vanguard Vol. 2 (East Wind, 1977) as The Great Jazz Trio
- The Great Jazz Trio at the Village Vanguard Again (East Wind, 1977 ) as The Great Jazz Trio
- Kindness Joy Love & Happiness (East Wind, 1977) as The Great Jazz Trio
- Milestones (East Wind, 1978) as The Great Jazz Trio
- New Wine in Old Bottles (East Wind, 1978) with Jackie McLean and The Great Jazz Trio
- Direct from L.A. (East Wind, 1978) as The Great Jazz Trio
- The Great Tokyo Meeting (East Wind, 1978) as The Great Jazz Trio
With Charles Lloyd
- Of Course, Of Course (Columbia, 1965)
With Michael Mantler
- Movies (1977)
With Ray Manzarek
- The Golden Scarab (1973)
With Branford Marsalis
- Renaissance (1987)
With Wynton Marsalis
- Wynton Marsalis (1981)
With John McLaughlin
- Johnny McLaughlin: Electric Guitarist (1978)
With Jackie McLean
With Marcus Miller
- The Sun Don't Lie (1990–92)
With Mulgrew Miller
- The Countdown (1988)
With Grachan Moncur III
- Trio of Doom (1979)
With Michel Petrucciani
- Marvellous (1994)
With Pop Workshop
- Song For The Pterodactyl (1974)
With Public Image Limited
- Album (1985)
With Don Pullen
- New Beginnings (Blue Note, 1988)
With Sam Rivers
- Fuchsia Swing Song (Blue Note, 1964)
With Sonny Rollins
With Wallace Roney
- Verses (1987)
With Travis Shook
- Travis Shook (1993)
With Wayne Shorter
- The Soothsayer (1965)
With McCoy Tyner
- Supertrios (1977)
- Counterpoints (1978)
- I'm Old Fashioned (East Wind, 1976)
With Weather Report
- Mr. Gone (1978)
- Colin_Larkin (ed.) (1992) The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 1st ed., p. 2699, ISBN 1-882267-04-4 .
- Thom Holmes (2006) American Popular Music: Jazz, p. 216, ISBN 0-8160-6928-X .
- Yanow, Scott. "Profile". Allmusic.com. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
- "Modern Drummer's Readers Poll Archive, 1979–2014". Modern Drummer. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
- "Tony Williams Interview 1995". Retrieved March 27, 2012.
- Miles The Autobiography, Picador, 1989, p. 254.
- "Allmusic Fuse One Discography". Allmusic.com. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
- OLIVER, MYRNA (1997-02-26). "Tony Williams; Innovative Jazz Drummer, Fusion Pioneer". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-09-26.
- Watrous, Peter (1997-02-26). "Tony Williams, 51, Drummer Renowned as a Jazz Innovator". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-26.
- "Arcana: The Last Wave - JazzTimes". JazzTimes. Retrieved 2017-09-26.
- "Tony Williams* - Play or Die (Vinyl, LP, Album)". Discogs.com. Retrieved June 28, 2017.