Friday, May 25, 2012

Via The "Spectrum Road"

I was fortunate enough to be in the audience to see and hear the original Tony Williams Lifetime on several Los Angeles, in New York, and perhaps a coupleorfew places in between.  Tony Williams, John McLaughlin, and Larry Young formed a phenomenally creative and hugely powerful trio.  It was impossible not to simply surrender and allow yourself to be swept away by the sheer genius of their playing and the jaw-dropping energy they generated.

The first double-album they released in 1969 for Polydor, "Emergency", contained the piece "Via The Spectrum Road" which was also by the way one of the tracks that included Tony's unique vocalizations.  As the group evolved for their second album "Turn It Over", released in 1970,  the trio became a quartet with the addition of bassist Jack Bruce...more power to be sure, more genius as well.

I mentioned the tune "Via The Spectrum Road" earlier because now we have a new recording from Palmetto Records by a new quartet both using the name..."SPECTRUM ROAD".  Cindy Blackman Santana (drums & vocals), Jack Bruce (bass & vocals), Vernon Reid (guitar), and John Medeski (organ & mellotron).  Eight of the ten tracks on the recording appeared originally on one or another of Lifetime's recordings.  Each of these four marvelous musicians, while remaining genuinely unique unto themselves, on "SPECTRUM ROAD" there is no copying of anything, however they've certainly found their way to channel the same power, genius, and creativity.

I'll be might not be music for the squeamish or the faint of heart, but then again neither was the original Lifetime.  Jazz music thankfully refuses to stand still and continues to grow and evolve with the times and the sensibilities of the younger players coming to the art form.  This recording "SPECTRUM ROAD", I think it can I say is effing incredible!

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