Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Tony Williams - 1979 [2014] "The Joy Of Flying"

The Joy Of Flying is a Jazz fusion album by Tony Williams. Although it was recorded at the end of the The Tony Williams Lifetime years, it is considered a solo album. It includes three duets, two with Jan Hammer and one with Cecil Taylor, and three different quartets. The first quartet features Jan Hammer again along with George Benson and Paul Jackson on two songs. The second quartet has veterans Herbie Hancock, Stanley Clarke and Tom Scott also for two songs.
The third quartet presents the "Tony Williams All Stars" for one song, "Open Fire". In July 1978, Tony welcomed rock guitarist Ronnie Montrose, who had recently finished touring to promote his jazz fusion influenced Open Fire album. The group was rounded out with Brian Auger and Mario Cipollina as they toured Japan. The concert at Japan's Denen Coliseum was recorded and other songs on the set list included "Rocky Road" and "Heads Up" from Open Fire, "Red Alert" and "Wildlife" from Believe It, "There Comes a Time" from Ego, "Dragon Song" from Brian Auger's Oblivion Express and "Capricorn" with special guest Billy Cobham.

It would be an understatement to say that there was a fair amount of variety on this set. Drummer Tony Williams is heard in two duets with keyboardist Jan Hammer, with a quartet also including keyboardist Herbie Hancock, Tom Scott (who unfortunately sticks to lyricon) and bassist Stanley Clarke, and he welcomes rock guitarist Ronnie Montrose, keyboardist Brian Auger, guitarist George Benson, Hammer and tenorman Michael Brecker on other tracks. Much of this music is closer to R&B than to jazz, although there are many strong moments. But the most interesting selection is certainly "Morgan's Motion" which matches Williams with pianist Cecil Taylor in a powerful (and completely atonal) collaboration.

The last of Tony Williams’ fusion albums, The Joy of Flying was the drummer’s first since the mid-’60s without some form of the Lifetime name attached to his band. It’s a far-flung effort with a large cast of collaborators, including George Benson, the Brecker Brothers and Stanley Clarke. Much of it falls between bombastic electro-rock and sickly sweet funk grooves, but there are moments of delight. “Morgan’s Motion,” a volatile duet between Williams and Cecil Taylor, soars in from left field to close the album. At the end of Williams’ time as a jazz-rock fusioneer, the track is an invigorating, full-circle return to his roots in adventurous acoustic jazz, and a sign that no matter where he would go in the years ahead, he would not stop morphing and inspiring.

Remarkable Recording... Astonishing veteran talents of top-notched jazz fusion legends such as Herbie Hancock, Brian Auger, George Benson, Tom Scott, Stanley Clarke, and Michael Becker, and rock icon guitarist Ronnie Montrose, all of who contributed to the precision performance and brilliant compositions of this recording. Simply amazing jazz fusion at its best!

Track listing and Personnel

1. "Going Far" (Jan Hammer) - 4:13 Keyboards, Synthesizers - Jan Hammer
2. "Hip Skip" (George Benson) - 8:03 Guitar - George Benson, Keyboards, Synthesizers - Hammer, Electric bass - Paul Jackson, Saxophone - Michael       Brecker, Percussion - Ralph MacDonald
3. "Hittin' on 6" (Tom Scott) - 6:16 Lyricon - Tom Scott, Keyboards, Synthesizers - Herbie Hancock, Electric bass - Stanley Clarke
4. "Open Fire" (Ronnie Montrose, Edgar Winter) - 6:18 Electric guitar - Ronnie Montrose, Keyboards, Synthesizers - Brian Auger, Electric bass -      Mario Cipollina
5. "Tony" (Stanley Clarke) - 6:50 Lyricon - Scott, Keyboards, Synthesizers - Hancock, Electric bass - Clarke
6. "Eris" (Hammer) - 3:33 Keyboards, Synthesizers - Hammer
7. "Coming Back Home" (Hammer) - 6:06 Guitar - Benson, Keyboards, Synthesizers - Hammer, Electric bass - Jackson
8. "Morgan's Motion" (Cecil Taylor) - 8:18 Concert grand piano - Cecil Taylor

Drums on all tracks - Tony Williams

Additional horns on "Hip Skip"

David Sanborn - Alto saxophone
Ronnie Cuber - Baritone saxophone
Barry Rogers - Trombone
Randy Brecker - Trumpet
Jon Faddis - Trumpet



  2. thank you. Blogs like yours make me feel like living.

  3. thanks crimhead for this tony williams