Tony Williams Lifetime - Montreux - 1971

Tony Williams - cornerstone of the turning point.

Tony Williams Lifetime – Live At Montreux – 1971 – Past Daily Downbeat: Festival Edition

Tony Williams Lifetime - Montreux - 1971
Tony Williams – cornerstone of the turning point.

Tony Williams Lifetime – Live at Montreux Jazz Festival – June 13, 1971 – RTS-FM, Switzerland –

Last week I ran a concert featuring both Art Blakey and Tony Williams from 1972. This week it’s Tony Williams and his Jazz Fusion collective Lifetime, featuring Ted Dunbar on guitar, Jack Bruce on bass, Larry Young on Hammond B3, Warren Smith and Don Alias, percussion. The concert was recorded by Swiss Radio (RTS-FM) on June 13, 1971 at the 5th annual Montreux Jazz Festival.

As I indicated last week, Art Blakey represented a turning point in Jazz; taking drums and percussion from the role of beat-keeper to collaborator and artist-on-their-own, taking Jazz in new directions and freeing up the playing field. Along comes Tony Williams who takes that concept and goes a couple steps further – the steps that paved the way for Fusion to make an entrance and signal an association with Progressive Rock that introduced a new language in that genre. Tony Williams has been a lot of places and pioneered a lot of new paths – he has been a major influence across the board. In freeing up the language he’s shown a vast array of possibilities.

This concert at Montreux represents an early incarnation of Tony Williams Lifetime – very reminiscent of Miles Davis of the Tribute To Jack Johnson period (which adds John McLaughlin to the picture). This group includes no less than former Cream bassist Jack Bruce in a role that showcases his glowing presence as someone more than being counterpoint to Eric Clapton.

It’s a riveting hour – particularly interesting because it puts the concert around the time of Turn It Over and is one of the many incarnations Tony Williams Lifetime went through during the 1970s.

This concert hasn’t been all that widely available and comes just before another personnel change – so it makes for critical evaluation. A couple of glitches and awkward splices but those are a fraction of a second and go by almost unnoticed (unless you’re following along with your own drums).

But an amazing gig that certainly demands further study.

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