Sunday, October 28, 2018

Tony Joe White - 1970-08-28, Isle of Wight

White at Wight...

On the poster advertising the 1970 Isle of Wight festival is a litany of famous rockers: Jethro Tull, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, and tucked away at the bottom is Sly and the Family Stone. Absent: Miles Davis (really?) and one Tony Joe White.

White died the other day, not long after releasing his latest - and probably final - album Bad Mouthin'. It's a good record, but not one that made many waves, which suggests that over the years, he never really lost it, just that tastes changed. Too bad, because he was a heck of performer. For me, his music hits a sweet spot right between CCR's swampy rock and the 70s outlaw vibes of Waylon Jennings.

This share came to me buried deep on a limited-edition, out of print box set The Complete Monument Recordings (find it here at Discogs) and I think the music's too good not to sit on, and with White's passing, it's worth a listen. It's short, to the point, and White's accompanied only by Cozy Powell, who he allegedly only met a few hours before the gig. You'd never know it from the way they mesh.

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!