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Lifetime: The Collection

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Album Review

This CD has all of the music from drummer Tony Williams' Believe It and Million Dollar Legs LPs. The best-known version of Williams' Lifetime is the trio he led during 1969-1970 with guitarist John McLaughlin and organist Larry Young. There are times (particularly on the first half of this reissue) that this later edition of Lifetime approaches the power and creativity of the original group. Key among the sidemen is guitarist Allan Holdsworth, a very underrated and creative musician whose style falls between rock and jazz and who often improvises more like a keyboardist than a guitarist. Alan Pasqua on electric piano and bassist Tony Newton (who also takes a few forgettable vocals) complete the group; background brass and strings are added to some of the songs in the later date. Although not flawless (some of the music has dated), these long-overlooked performances are worth exploring by fusion collectors, especially for Holdsworth's fiery yet thoughtful solos.

Customer Reviews

Sweet stuff.

Oh, man... what beautiful piece of art this album is. Anyone who wonders what, exactly, is meant by jazz fusion should give this gem a listen. Tony's drumming is at its peak here. "Fred" is just a breathtaking piece of work. One of those pieces that makes you say: "Yeah, if I could play drums, THIS is how I'd want to sound." Tony was truly at the vangard of fusion drumming when he recorded this album. (I'm well aware of his incredible music pedigree, so I don't make this claim lightly). As for Holdsworth, well, I believe that this album serves as his Rosetta Stone. To understand what he is doing now, check out his playing on "Fred" and "Proto-Cosmos." Wow. As one who has had this album on his top 10 list since 1982, when I first was turned on to it, I say give it a listen; I assure you that you'll not be dissapointed.

Enter Allan Holdsworth...

This is a wonderful example of fusion-jazz at its best under the guidance of Tony Williams. It's hard to overestimate the impact that Allan Holdsworth had on the guitar playing/listening world on the release of 1975's "Believe It" - the first six tracks featured on this collection. Essentially, Holdsworth took on the role of a tenor/alto sax player in a traditional jazz quartet. His extended solo on "Fred" is absolutely breathtaking - give a listen and you'll understand. The supporting cast is excellent as well.

You cannot go wrong with this cd

I love this album. I know there are criticisms of it, and I am not too big on tracks 10, 11, or 13, but for me all the other tracks are as good as fusion gets. I don't know how to write about music, I just know that these songs kick ###!!!!


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,...
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