The Tony Williams Lifetime: Spectrum: The Anthology
Spectrum represents what could be amazing about Lifetime and, unfortunately, what could make it unbearable. But whatever your expectations about Spectrum , don't count on it being a complete chronicle of Lifetime's Polydor output (1969-73). It leaves out "Beyond Games," "Via the Spectrum Road" and "Something Spiritual" from Emergency! and "This Night This Song" and "Once I Loved" from Turn It Over. Both these records deserve to be heard in their entirety (both volumes of Emergency! were issued as one CD a couple years back). And it wouldn't hurt to hear lesser achievements like Ego (from 1971, without McLaughlin) and the more pop-oriented The Old Bum's Rush (from 1973, without Young) in full either.
Verve, instead of adding the unnecessary and seemingly costly decorative plastic sleeve to this set, could have added a third disc and put out all of Lifetime's Polydor material. The one bonus track here, a formerly unreleased version of "One Word" (the Mahavishnu tune with Jack Bruce's terrible vocals), should have remained unreleased.
Spectrum , which was released the same week the drummer died in February, is an unnecessarily incomplete retrospective. Even though the packaging does not claim it is complete, it is certainly implied. Release dates of the records are listed, but not the more useful recording dates. And John McDermott's liner notes seem to slip a few times in its chronology. For a better, more useful sample of Lifetime's achievements, pick up on the Emergency! two-fer CD instead.
Record Label: Verve Music Group