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Wilderness

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Album Review

One of drummer Tony Williams' final studio projects, this adventurous effort alternates selections by an all-star quintet (which includes tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker, guitarist Pat Metheny, pianist Herbie Hancock, and bassist Stanley Clarke) with string orchestra tracks (usually using the rhythm section). Williams wrote most of the music (there is one song apiece from Metheny and Clarke), and despite the general unpredictability of the music (which ranges from melancholy to fiery), there is a surprising unity throughout Wilderness. Highlights include the pretty opener for strings "Wilderness Rising," a lyrical quintet number, "The Night You Were Born," the rock-ish freak-out "China Moon," and the heated "Gambia"; only guitarist Lyle Workman's guest spot on his droning "Machu Picchu" is a minus. Otherwise, this is intriguing music that rewards repeated listenings, making one further appreciate the great loss suffered as a result of Tony Williams' premature death. [In 2003, Wilderness was reissued with an alternate track listing.]

Biography

Born: 12 December 1945 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Tony Williams' death in 1997 of a heart attack after routine gall bladder surgery was a major shock to the jazz world. Just 51, Williams (who could be a very loud drummer) seemed so youthful, healthy, and ageless even though he had been a major drummer for nearly 35 years. The open style that he created while with the Miles Davis Quintet in the mid- to late '60s remains quite influential, and he had a long list of accomplishments during the decades that followed. Williams' father, a saxophonist,...
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Wilderness, Tony Williams
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