Tony Williams Lifetime – (Turn It Over) (1970)

LPFrontCover1The Tony Williams Lifetime was a jazz fusion group led by jazz drummer Tony Williams.

The Tony Williams Lifetime was founded in 1969 as a power trio with John McLaughlin on electric guitar, and Larry Young (a.k.a. Khalid Yasin) on organ. The band was possibly named for Williams’ debut album as a bandleader, Life Time, released on Blue Note in 1964. Its debut album was Emergency!, a double album released on Polydor/PolyGram Records in 1969. It was largely rejected by jazz listeners at the time of its release because of its heavy rock influences, but it is now looked upon as a fusion classic. Jack Bruce joined the group to provide bass and vocals on its second album, Turn it Over, released in 1970 (by wikipedia)

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.

Lifetime

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. (by Stewart Mason)

What a line-up ! Including a very fine bass solo by Jack Bruce on “Right On”. The solo was called “Powerhouse Sod” and you can hear on the West, Bruce Laing live album, too.

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Personnel:
Jack Bruce (bass, vocals)
John McLaughlin (guitar, vocals)
Tony Williams (drums, vocals)
Larry Young (organ)

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Tracklist:
01. Vuelta Abajo (Williams) 6.34
02. To Whom It May Concern: Us/Them (Corea) 7.16
03. This Night This Song (Williams) 3.52
04. Do That (Williams) 2.56
05. Big Nick (Coltrane) 3.17
06. Once I Loved (Jobim/Demoraes/Gilbert) 5-10
07. To Whom (Williams) 2.20
08. Allah Be Praised (Young) 6.13
09. Right On (Williams) 8.05
10. A Famous Blues (McLaughlin) 4.16
11. New Piece (Williams) 6.16

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