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Album Review

Easily the weirdest record the Tony Williams Lifetime ever released, 1971's Ego is an experimental blend of post-hard bop jazz and the spacier end of psychedelic rock. Larry Young's wafting organ parts and Ted Dunbar's rockist guitar (as opposed to the more traditional jazz bent of the guy he replaced, John McLaughin) combine to make parts of the album sound like Atom Heart Mother-era Pink Floyd, particularly on "There Comes a Time" and "Lonesome Wells (Gwendy Trio)." Unfortunately, both of those tracks are bogged down by vocals (by Williams and Jack Bruce, respectively) singing Williams' own earnest and not terribly inspired verse. The best tracks are those that dispense with the lyrical claptrap — the liner notes are also a terribly dated hoot — and get down to the creation of some roiling atmospheres and powerful group improvisation. In that regard, things really pick up at the end, with the ghostly "Mom and Dad" and the cacophonous closer "Urchins of Shermese," on which Williams splits the narcoleptic mood of the introduction with some of his most fractured and arrhythmic fills ever, while simultaneously maintaining a groove that's typically snaky and propulsive. Drum geeks will particularly adore the two brief solo pieces, "Clap City" and "Some Hip Drum S**t," which are both technically impressive and short enough not to get dull. Solid jazz-rock, from the days before fusion got painfully dull.

Customer Reviews


this is freaking amazing

A Must Have From a True Musical Genius !!!

There are no words for this album !!!!! WoW !! Support this music ... we can bring this music back to life ! A must have


Born: December 12, 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,...
Full Bio
Ego, Tony Williams
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  • $5.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Fusion
  • Released: 1971

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