428

The Tony Williams Lifetime: Spectrum: The Anthology

Douglas Payne By

Sign in to view read count
The Tony Williams Lifetime: Spectrum: The Anthology Tony Williams's pioneering electric trio Lifetime made two stunning, yet imperfect records in the early 1970s in Emergency! and Turn It Over. A reflection of the turbulence of its times and the new attitudes that were being shaped, Lifetime began life as one of jazz's first all-star power trios: the brilliant Larry Young on organ, the multitalented John McLaughlin on guitar and Williams, a complete arsenal of one on drums. Some of the music this group made was powerful and breathtaking. Some of it was downright pretentious and amateurish (especially whenever someone started singing). But even so, jazz audiences hated the group; it was rock listeners who were intuitive enough to pick up on this trio's amazing musical integrity.

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.


Title: Spectrum: The Anthology | Year Released: 1997 | Record Label: Verve Music Group


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read I Believe In You CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Morning Sun CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read The Conscience CD/LP/Track Review The Conscience
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Harlem CD/LP/Track Review Harlem
by James Nadal
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Evolution" CD/LP/Track Review Evolution
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Collage of Moments" CD/LP/Track Review Collage of Moments
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 17, 2017
Read "Shades Of Life" CD/LP/Track Review Shades Of Life
by James Nadal
Published: July 18, 2017
Read "Kisaragi" CD/LP/Track Review Kisaragi
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 17, 2017
Read "Natural Language" CD/LP/Track Review Natural Language
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: September 2, 2016
Read "This is Life" CD/LP/Track Review This is Life
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 29, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.