Tony Williams

Richard.Awesome

Senior Member
incredible! i've said it before, i'll say it again. Tony Williams is the greatest drummer to ever play. Not my personal favorite (he's of course up there) but I just don't think that can be denied.
 

T_Weaves

Silver Member
I've never to subscribed to the "best ever" debates but I'll tell you this.......There was never anyone like Tony Williams before and there hasn't been anyone like him since. He is absolutely my favorite drummer of all time. The only thing I don't like about his playing is how inadequate it makes me feel about mine. I was fortunate to see him play live with The New Tony Williams Lifetime at a small jazz club in CLE ( The Smiling Dog ), sitting about 10 feet away from him. All I can say is at the very least he was a generational talent. If there was a drummers' Mt Rushmore, he'd be on it.
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
I've never to subscribed to the "best ever" debates but I'll tell you this.......There was never anyone like Tony Williams before and there hasn't been anyone like him since. He is absolutely my favorite drummer of all time. The only thing I don't like about his playing is how inadequate it makes me feel about mine. I was fortunate to see him play live with The New Tony Williams Lifetime at a small jazz club in CLE ( The Smiling Dog ), sitting about 10 feet away from him. All I can say is at the very least he was a generational talent. If there was a drummers' Mt Rushmore, he'd be on it.
A "Drummer's Mt. Rushmore"...I like that!

I was lucky to see him in a small/medium size venue in the early 90s and it was the most "embodied" experience I've ever had witnessing a performance. Kind of hard to explain but physically and emotionally, I felt it in my gut, in my body in a powerful way. I've had great concert experiences before and after that but I've never "felt" any of them in quite the same way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=095URl2SJI4

Tony Williams - Live in Stuttgart 1989
Yes, I just watched that the other day. So good! And, evocative of the rich experience I described above.
 

Cuban

Senior Member
Well it has been some years since I posted in this thread, a long tour, new business and ill health saw me off the radar, so my sincere apologies to those I failed to answer. :(

I finally have a wonderful 1980's Gretsch set in my collection and by chance, realised I already had some very 'Tony'-esque cymbals while I now also have one of the Istanbul Mehmet Tony Williams Tribute cymbals on route to complete the set.

With an added turntable and lots of time now on my hands, I listen to a lot of records and drummers, so Tony is very much back in my thoughts.

Thank you to all those that responded about his 'Fred' set, I really do appreciate that.

I have also been wondering of late if anyone know what the likes of Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich made of Tony's playing?

I've seen images of Tony and Buddy together, but know nothing of the interactions.

Would anyone know?
 

J-Boogie

Gold Member
I have no clue Cuban. Im guessing Gene would've have found real appreciation for what Tony did, I bet he'd be scratching his head but admiring and fully respecting what he did. I would imagine Buddy would dismiss what Tony did, maybe admitted he was slightly impressed by his approach but probably felt he could play circles around Tony.

Just my goofy wanting to play along guess. No disrespect meant to anyone, sorry Buddy, please dont come back and karate kick me.

Im ready for my next Tony album. In order I got Believe It, then Tony Williams Lifetime collections, Million Dollar Legs, Learning to Fly, Im probably missing a few. From there I went back and really starting discovering his genius. I have 4 and More and My Funny Valentine. I also have Jackie McClean One Step Beyond and Eric Dolphy Out To Lunch, I want more like that, I love that period of his playing and the style of the music, freaking delicious. I also have Soothsayer I think its called by Wayne Shorter, also love this one. Oh and Maiden Vouyage Herbie Hancock. Just looking for a recommendation, LOVING this journey.

Thanks for reading and any feedback.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I went back and really starting discovering his genius. I have 4 and More and My Funny Valentine. I also have Jackie McClean One Step Beyond and Eric Dolphy Out To Lunch, I want more like that, I love that period of his playing and the style of the music, freaking delicious. I also have Soothsayer I think its called by Wayne Shorter, also love this one. Oh and Maiden Vouyage Herbie Hancock. Just looking for a recommendation, LOVING this journey.

Thanks for reading and any feedback.
That Blue Note period is my favorite, too. Here are some must-haves:

Herbie Hancock - Empyrean Isles
Andrew Hill - Point Of Departure
Grachan Moncur - Evolution (also Some Other Stuff)
Sam Rivers - Fucshia Swing Song

Also check out Tony's first two dates as a leader (credited as Anthony Williams on most of these dates): Life Time (not to be confused with the later band name) and Spring.

With Miles, you'll want to check out :
E.S.P.
Miles Smiles
Nefertiti
Sorcerer
Miles In The Sky
Filles de Kilimanjaro
Plugged Nickel (essential!)

That should keep you busy (and happy) for a while!
 

J-Boogie

Gold Member
That Blue Note period is my favorite, too. Here are some must-haves:

Herbie Hancock - Empyrean Isles
Andrew Hill - Point Of Departure
Grachan Moncur - Evolution (also Some Other Stuff)
Sam Rivers - Fucshia Swing Song

Also check out Tony's first two dates as a leader (credited as Anthony Williams on most of these dates): Life Time (not to be confused with the later band name) and Spring.

With Miles, you'll want to check out :
E.S.P.
Miles Smiles
Nefertiti
Sorcerer
Miles In The Sky
Filles de Kilimanjaro
Plugged Nickel (essential!)

That should keep you busy (and happy) for a while!
This is awesome, thank you 8Mile...Im going to get busy listening! (Ive got Nefertiti and Plugged Nickel, but everything else is now on my radar)
 

J-Boogie

Gold Member
Btw 8Mile....your suggestions were amazing! Had a 3 hour ride to the beach and had these with me:

Herbie Hancock - Empyrean Isles
Andrew Hill - Point Of Departure
Grachan Moncur - Evolution (also Some Other Stuff)
Sam Rivers - Fucshia Swing Song

Best three hours in the car ever!
 
I just recently procured the service of a third floor-tom [14x14] to go along with its two older siblings on my drum kit. I recall back in the day seeing pictures of Tony Williams with his triangular set up on the floor, and thought, that's kind of silly looking isn't it? Well, here I am in the year 2018 now, and loving every bit of those 3-tom's all stacked up similarly like that.

Spent the morning drinking coffee and watching Tony's 1985 drum clinic on YouTube. What a GREAT way to start the day!
 

J-Boogie

Gold Member
Herbie Hancock - Empyrean Isles
Andrew Hill - Point Of Departure
Grachan Moncur - Evolution
Sam Rivers - Fucshia Swing Song


THESE....these have been so amazing to listen to and study. Just on rotation constantly in the car and so wonderful!

Just had to share that, again, cant help it....its the greatest!

Love those old clinics too. Funny I was thinking about one of the Zildjian clinics he did where when he started he played like a 5 minute double stroke roll on the snare and I think it was like 10 mins before he even touched a cymbal. Zildjian must've loved that!
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
Herbie Hancock - Empyrean Isles
Andrew Hill - Point Of Departure
Grachan Moncur - Evolution
Sam Rivers - Fucshia Swing Song


THESE....these have been so amazing to listen to and study. Just on rotation constantly in the car and so wonderful!

Just had to share that, again, cant help it....its the greatest!

Love those old clinics too. Funny I was thinking about one of the Zildjian clinics he did where when he started he played like a 5 minute double stroke roll on the snare and I think it was like 10 mins before he even touched a cymbal. Zildjian must've loved that!
do yourself a favor and add Jackie McLean - One Step Beyond to that list

like immediately

some of Tony's absolute best playing ever

every tune is pure fire
 

J-Boogie

Gold Member
Got that one! It’s majorly responsible for my obsession with hearing more of Tony from that era. The style and conceptualization of these albums is just monumental. Like these jazz guys gave they’re heart and soul learning and living this gorgeous art then put together their dream team of musicians, capable of comprehending their concepts and contribute in their own brilliant ways. Some of these blue note era albums are the most beautifully conceived wonderfully stylized moody deep masterpieces! And not to geek too far out but I enjoy reading the liner notes. Often they will go track by track explaining concepts and methods employed and for what desired effect. Liner notes have really cleared things up for me in many instances. I want to start exploring Elvin more now. Just the few I have a now Borh Directions, I find myself craving his feel. Another thread, thanks for indulging me...
 

Groov-E

Silver Member
I love when in part two he talks about controling his dynamics which lets him play that big kit and those sticks in any setting, basically saying it is not the drums but the drummer.

do yourself a favor and add Jackie McLean - One Step Beyond to that list

like immediately

some of Tony's absolute best playing ever

every tune is pure fire
I just went for a run with the four previous recommendations as well as this Jackie Mclean one, great music and surprisingly motivational.

One of your other tips about playing just the ride cymbal and nothing else for a while did not fall on deaf ears either.

Great stuff Whoistony? !
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
One of your other tips about playing just the ride cymbal and nothing else for a while did not fall on deaf ears either.

Great stuff Whoistony? !
Didn't fall on deaf ears here either. I am trying to develop a nice jazz ride pattern. One afternoon isn't nearly enough for me, I need a lot more than that. My real intention is to work on the comping coordination it takes to comp with the other limbs while maintaining the integrity of the jazz ride pattern. As opposed to playing just quarters on the cymbal while comping. Easy trap to fall into.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Count me another influenced by both Tony’s. Tony Williams’ doubles got me doing that and all rudiments again. Our Tony the Moanin’ ride- which I’ve added my foot hi hats too. Spang-a-Lang with my foot and hats too- do paradiddkes, doubles , triplets with my foot on hats. My ride hand has been weak for awhile and I note things are crisping up and my swing is starting to swing. Before my swing was like sterno now it’s a good torch - I’m hoping for flame thrower.
 

Groov-E

Silver Member
Didn't fall on deaf ears here either. I am trying to develop a nice jazz ride pattern. One afternoon isn't nearly enough for me, I need a lot more than that. My real intention is to work on the comping coordination it takes to comp with the other limbs while maintaining the integrity of the jazz ride pattern. As opposed to playing just quarters on the cymbal while comping. Easy trap to fall into.
I worked a lot on the art of Bop, filled with great independance exercices. But now I listen to Tony and find my ride pattern to be lacking clarity.

So I am doing things in reverse, wish I had gone the other way around.

But hey, the independance is getting there, so now I can concentrate only on the ride.

It's slow process in my case like everything drum related, but eventually what I practice extensively at some point down the road becomes natural. No shortcuts possible.
 
Top