Tony Williams Lifetime: Spectrum




The Tony Williams Lifetime


Emergency (Polydor 849 068-2)

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Tony Williams (drums), John McLaughlin (electric guitar), Larry Young (Khalid Yasin) (organ).

Composed by A. Hall (John McLaughlin)


Recorded: New York, May 1969


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

"Spectrum" first appeared on John McLaughlin's Extrapolation, recorded in England in 1968. On that recording he credited himself with the composition. God knows why he decided to use the name "A. Hall" for this Lifetime record. On Extrapolation, "Spectrum" was already an energetic track. On Emergency, however, "Bam!" as TV chef Emerald LaGasse would say when adding more spice. Talk about taking a tune up a notch. McLaughlin, Williams and Young hang onto a funk-distorted electric groove as if they were cats, down to their ninth life, clinging to a high-tension wire. They are all in serious danger of either falling or being electrocuted. McLaughlin shoots off machine-gun salvos of every possible pitch and timbre. His chords are dissonant shards. Young's basslines and dirty comps fill any open space. Williams has stopped thinking and has literally morphed into his drum kit. No opportunity to swing a stick is passed up. This is gloriously messed-up music. Send the cat, the kids and the wife to bed, and turn this damn stuff up LOUD.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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