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Tony Williams

 

 

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        Simply put, Tony Williams was da bomb!  Williams made his mark on jazz when he joined Miles Davis' quintet at the age of 17!  (Miles' group was the top group to be in, because the pay was good and the gigs were steady and available. Miles brought Williams on board when Williams was 17--THAT is how good he was!)   Technique-wise, he was far ahead of his time.  He was the most admired and imitated drummer of the Sixties.  His advanced polyrhythms and his whiplash beats propelled Miles Davis' group forward and pushed the limits of freedom for the soloists.   Funny thing was, Miles wasn't able to play in some clubs because Williams' youth prevented him from being in certain clubs.   Williams rhythmic drive and innovation was one of  the primary reasons that Miles Davis' music was rejuvenated in during the Sixties.

        Before joining Davis' group, Williams played with Jackie McLean.  He left Davis group in 1969 and formed a rock-jazz trio with guitarist John McLaughlin and organist Larry Young called Lifetime (incredible group!)  In 1975, he formed the "New Tony Williams Lifetime" and recorded 3 more albums.   From there, he explored a variety of styles.  In the early 80s, he studied classical composition.  In the late 1980s, he went back to the Sixties style in Davis' group.  In 1990, he was commissioned to write a composition for a stringed quartet, piano, drums, and cymbals.  His composition was performed in San Francisco and was highly acclaimed.  He received the the Arthur M. Solkat Board of Directors Award from Bay Area Music Magazine in 1995. He also received  a grammy for best jazz record in 1994.  He was named to the Modern Drummer Magazine Hall of Fame and has received numerous "drummer of the year" awards from magazines such as Modern Drummer, Downbeat, and Musician Magazine.   He died in 1997.


To learn more about Tony Williams, check out these sites:

Tony Williams - from Jazz Central Station.
Tony Williams - an article by Mike Zwerin

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