The Rudy Van Gelder Edition of LIFE TIME includes an essay by Bob Blumenthal.
Personnel: Tony Williams (drums, tympani, wood block, maracas, triangle); Sam Rivers (tenor saxophone); Bobby Hutcherson (vibraphone, marimba); Herbie Hancock (piano); Gary Peacock, Richard Davis, Ron Carter (bass).
Producer: Alfred Lion.
Reissue producer: Michael Cuscuna.
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on August 21 & 24, 1964. Includes liner notes by Lawrence Rutler and Bob Blumenthal.
Digitally remastered using 24-bit technology by Rudy Van Gelder.
This is part of the Blue Note Rudy Van Gelder Editions series.
Tony Williams' groundbreaking stint with Miles Davis' quintet of the '60s redefined the role of the drummer in a jazz ensemble. LIFE TIME, not to be confused with Williams' later fusion group of the same name, is his first release as a leader. Recorded when the drummer was only 18, it is a masterpiece of the "New Thing" movement of the period. The maturity and depth of creativity that Williams displays here, both in his drumming and composing, is startling and well beyond his age.
The session contains many unusual pieces including the opening set of "Two Pieces Of One: Red" and "Green," two very experimental chamber works more akin to 20th century classical music than jazz. Williams and guests Sam Rivers, Bobby Hutcherson, Herbie Hancock and Gary Peacock only occasionally resemble a traditional jazz group, as on the furiously manic "Tomorrow Afternoon." The creative "Memory" is an intriguing piece that features Williams on orchestral percussion and stunning work by Hutcherson. Interestingly, the closing "Barb's Song To The Wizard," a duet between Hancock and Ron Carter, does not include Williams at all, yet his strong presence is clearly felt throughout.