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Lost on the shelves: Spectrum Road – Spectrum Road

February 9, 2021

I recently listened to a podcast with Cindy Blackman Santana and was reminded of this 2012 brilliant homage to Tony Williams’ Lifetime band.

Keyboardist John Medeski of Medeski Martin & Wood, guitarist Vernon Reid of Living Colour, drummer Cindy Blackman Santana (Lenny Kravitz) and legendary bassist and vocalist Jack Bruce of Cream

The album is mostly songs from the early Lifetime catalog (1969-1971). In addition to the Lifetime material, there is a group-composed original “Blues for Tillmon” and a traditional Gaelic air “An-T-eilan Muileach.”

The players all have one foot in jazz and another in rock – highly appropriate given the material. There are strong connections between the players and Lifetime: Bruce was in Lifetime, Blackman Santana is a disciple of Tony Williams, Reid is a disciple of Lifetime’s John McLaughlin and Woods is a jazz and rock polymath (the quintessence of Lifetime). That is, the perfect super group of players to honor Tony Williams and Lifetime.

This is not easy listening jazz – it is a mix of jazz-rock fusion, prog-rock, funk, metal and blues. Some songs are loud and noisy (e.g., the first cut “Vuelta Abajo”) and others quiet beauties (“Blues for Tillmon”). If you are a fan of Tony Williams, this is a must listen. If you are open to challenging fusion music, you will be rewarded.

Spinning on a Pro-Ject Audio RPM 1.3 Genie with an Audio-Technica VM540ML cartridge

Here is the source material:

One Comment
  1. You steered me to this a while ago. Digging it.

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