CD Emergency! [The Tony Williams Lifetime (Drums)]  (CD 979265),
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Emergency! [The Tony Williams Lifetime (Drums)] 
The Tony Williams Lifetime (Drums)
2. Beyond Games
5. Via the Spectrum Road
7. Sangria for Three
8. Something Special
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 539 117
Tony Williams Lifetime: Tony Williams (drums); Larry Young (organ); John McLaughlin (guitar).
Reissue producer: Jerry Rappaport.
Recorded at Olmstead Sound Studios, New York, New York on May 26 & 28, 1969. Originally released on Polydor (25-3001). Includes liner notes by Ralph J. Gleason and John McDermott.
Digitally remastered by Gary N. Mayo at Polygram Studios.
During Tony Williams' stint with Miles Davis, he displayed an unparalleled mastery of time and texture, suggesting at once the meter-less pulsations of Milford Graves and Sonny Murray, and the polyrhythmic swing of Max Roach, Art Blakey and Philly Joe Jones. The Davis rhythm section (Williams, bassist Ron Carter, pianist Herbie Hancock) learned to superimpose fresh harmonies and rhythms on top of a flexible basic pulse, driven along by the drummer's percolating hi-hat. And when the band broke up, each member gravitated towards some aspect of the emerging new pop music: The Beatles, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix. And if Herbie felt the funk, Tony wanted to rock, and to that end he formed the most slamming, freewheeling organ trio in the history of jazz.
From the heraldic overture of the title tune, to the epic drum variations of "Something Special," EMERGENCY signals a shift in consciousness. A time warp as it were, as if the autumn of 1945 merged with the summer of 1969, and the rhythmic, harmonic and melodic innovations of Charlie Parker's bebop morphed with the acetylene blues roar of Jimi Hendrix and Cream. Yet EMERGENCY is not really a Rock album, but loud jazz with an attitude. The power of EMERGENCY is in the playing; because for his Lifetime, Williams recruited the most innovative of all Philly organ players, the Coltraneish virtuoso Larry Young, and an exciting young veteran of the British jazz and blues scene--and Jimmy Page's mentor--John McLaughlin.
On "Spectrum," Young sets an imposing tempo with his bass pedals and left hand, supercharged by Williams' indomitable cymbal pulse and outrageous cross-rhythms. McLaughlin doubles up on the blistering tempo with soaring blues phrases, jagged syncopations and fearless harmonic detours. Young responds with one of the great organ solos of all time, transcending Hammond cliches with his elongated melodic elisions and cathartic chordal crescendos, and Williams ups the rhythmic ante with melodic variations of his own. This level of pure excitement carries over to the flamenco furies of "Where" and "Sangria For Three," and the dervish dance of "Vashkar."
Tony Williams' Emergency was one of the first and most influential albums in late-'60s fusion, a record that shattered the boundaries between jazz and rock. Working with guitarist John McLaughlin and organist Larry Young, Williams pushed into new territory, creating dense, adventurous, unpredictable soundscapes. With Emergency, Tony Williams helped create the foundation of the style and sound of fusion. It's a seminal release, originally released on two albums and now available on one CD. ~ Leo Stanley
Record Collector (magazine) (pp.98-99) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "Over Williams' sibilant ride cymbal, McLaughlin rips out bold fistfuls of tone clusters, while Young -- riding the drawbars of a Hammond B3 -- paints a fearful, omniscient corona."
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