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Album Review

The better of the two albums the Tony Williams Lifetime recorded in 1970, Turn It Over, is a far more focused and powerful album than the loose, experimental Ego, and one of the more intense pieces of early jazz-rock fusion around. In parts, it's like Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsys with much better chops. It's more rock-oriented and darker-hued than their debut, 1969's Emergency!, and the temporary addition of ex-Cream member Jack Bruce on bass and vocals alongside stalwart guitarist John McLaughlin makes this something of a milestone of British progressive jazz. The album's primary flaw is that unlike the expansive double album Emergency!, these ten songs are tightly constricted into pop-song forms — only a swinging cover of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Once I Loved" breaks the five-minute mark, and then only barely — which reins in these marvelous soloists too much. This is particularly frustrating since pieces like the two-part "To Whom It May Concern" feature some outstanding solos (especially from McLaughlin and organist Larry Young, the group's secret weapon) that are frustratingly, tantalizingly short. Expanded to a double album, Turn It Over would probably surpass Emergency! as a pioneering jazz-rock fusion release; as it is, it's an exciting but mildly maddening session.

Customer Reviews

Turn it Over

Super album. To Whom it may Concern( them, us) are really cool rock/fusion tunes. . Good use of the bass drum ostinato. Wish the bass drum was lower. Course, jazz drummers of the time tuned higher because of the bebop roots. Big Nick is good improvisation. Vuelta Abajo is also a good hard tune. Mitch Mitchell (of Hendrix) would have been awsome on this one. This should be in anyone's fusion collection. But don't tell me the chops are better than Band of Gypsey's. Different band. But nevertheless, only ONE HENDRIX!


Genre: Jazz

Founded in the late 1960s by drummer Tony Williams following his stint with Miles Davis, Lifetime set the standard to which all other jazz fusion groups would aspire. The outfit was a showcase for Williams's frenetic, freewheeling approach to time-keeping, but also boasted at various points John McLaughlin on electric guitar, Jack Bruce and Ron Carter on bass, and Larry Young on organ. Though ostensibly a jazz unit, Lifetime was capable of moments of explosive...
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Top Albums and Songs by The Tony Williams Lifetime

Turn It Over, The Tony Williams Lifetime
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  • $7.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Fusion
  • Released: Jan 01, 1970

Customer Ratings