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Spectrum Road – Spectrum Road

June 21, 2012

One of my favorite jazz musicians is drummer/composer Tony Williams.  He was merely 17 years old when he joined what has become known as Miles Davis’ Second Great Quintet.   In 1969 he was one of the founders of jazz rock fusion when he ignited the band: Tony Williams Lifetime.

Lifetime was an incredibly original band that played challenging, but rewarding music.  It was virtuosic band featuring Williams on drums, John McLaughlin on guitar, Larry Williams on organ and Jack Bruce on bass.  A later version of the band featured Alan Holdsworth on guitar.  Tony Williams is hailed by many experts as the greatest drummer of all time.

I was pumped the other day to learn that Spectrum Road,  an all-star Lifetime inspired band (dare I say super group) existed.  Spectrum Road is: Vernon Reid (guitar hero and Living Colour), Jack Bruce (bass, vocalist, and who was in a little band called Cream), Cindy Blackman (Tony Williams protegé, sideman extraordinaire and wife of Carlos Santana) and John Medeski (organ GENIUS).

The album is fantastic.  It invokes both early and late Lifetime.  This is full-fledged blowing session – each player completely amazes.   This is not easy listening music.  This requires and open-minded and engaged listener.  If you are new to the Lifetime sound, give it at least three serious listens and if you are jazz fan, jam band fan or just an overall adventurous listener you will enjoy.  If you are Lifetime fan, prepare to wet yourself.


From → Music Reviews

  1. Herman permalink

    Living COLOUR, not color

  2. I’m with you on your take. Have various recordings by all these folks. Just listened to a Jack Bruce compilation. Will be in the market for this one for sure.

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