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Anthony Williams: Life Time & Spring Revisited


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Anthony Williams: Life Time & Spring Revisited
Drummer Tony Williams' first two albums as leader, recorded for Blue Note in 1964 and 1965—Life Time when he was only eighteen years old, Spring when he was nineteen—still sound delightfully fresh all these years after their original release. At the time he made them, Williams was a rising star with Miles Davis' second and third quintets, the first a short-lived unit with saxophonist George Coleman, the second a longer lasting one with Wayne Shorter.

One of the reasons the Coleman quintet lasted less than a year was because Williams considered the older player too tradition bound and frequently said as much to Davis, sometimes in Coleman's presence. Eventually, Coleman had enough and quit. But any fears that Williams' bumptious attitude would transfer into Life Time and Spring are unrealized. The music, though high tensile, is understated and nuanced.

Life Time is the winner by a short neck, in large part because of its variety. Tenor saxophonist Sam Rivers (who had been one of Williams' preferences to replace Coleman in the Davis quintet) is present on three tracks, two of which also have twin bassists Richard Davis and Gary Peacock. Pianist Herbie Hancock plays on the other two tracks, one of which also features vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson. Williams himself does not play on the closing track, which is given over to the duo of Hancock and bassist Ron Carter. The whole album is shot through with lyricism and unexpected twists and turns.

Spring is nearly as good, but lacks quite as much variety as the first album. The twin basses are missed, as are Hutcherson's trippy vibes. But the addition of Shorter is a plus. Williams has one track to himself, delivering a spellbinding solo. The sound quality on both the original Blue Note albums, which were engineered by Rudy Van Gelder, is already high and is further elevated on this ezz-thetics edition, courtesy of the label's mastering jedi Michael Brandli.

Track Listing

Two Pieces of One: Red; Two Pieces of One: Green; Tomorrow Afternoon; Memory; Bach’s Song to the Wizard; Extras; Echo; From Before; Love Song; Tee.


Tony Williams: drums; Sam Rivers: saxophone, tenor; Wayne Shorter: saxophone; Herbie Hancock: piano; Bobby Hutcherson: vibraphone; Gary Peacock: bass, acoustic; Richard Davis: bass, acoustic; Ron Carter: bass.

Additional Instrumentation

Anthony Williams: drums, percussion; Sam Rivers: tenor saxophone (1-3, 6, 8, 10); Wayne Shorter: tenor saxophone (6, 8, 10); Herbie Hancock: piano (4, 5, 8-10); Bobby Hutcherson: vibraphone, marimba (4); Gary Peacock: double bass (1-3, 6, 8-10); Richard Davis: double bass (1-3); Ron Carter: double bass (5).

Album information

Title: Life Time & Spring Revisited | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Ezz-thetics

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