Friday, October 5, 2018

Tony Williams - 1989-12-15, New York City

I've been listening to a lot of Tony Williams lately, mostly thanks to this video. During his run at Blue Note in the late 80s/early 90s, Williams released a tremendous string of albums and to help promote them, a video was shot in New York.

On the evening (I assume it was nighttime, anyway) of December 15, Tony Williams and his band - Ira Coleman on bass, Wallace Roney on trumpet, Bill Pierce on sax, and Mulgrew Miller on piano - played a set at Chelsea Studios in New York, and it was taped and released on laserdisc the next year. Like anything I've heard of him live, it blazes: the band is in good shape (Miller is especially fun to listen to), but it's Williams' drumming that takes the cake.

He'd taken some classes on composition and harmony earlier in the decade, and I think they'd shaped his drumming. His solos are more varied and exciting than anything he did with Lifetime in the 70s and honestly, sets like this help make the case he's one of the most exciting jazz drummers of his generation. He's certainly more interesting than DeJohnette's playing at the time, and while Cobham can blast the roof off any time he wants, I don't think his playing has the same nuances and subtlety.

Anyway, no download, just a one-hour video I've watched like four times this week and I hope you get as much enjoyment out of, too!


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