Exploring Avant-Garde Jazz With Tony Williams

The kick drum played a big part in Tony Williams’ sound.

One of the heavier drummers to come into the jazz world was Tony Williams. Tony first found success as a member of Miles Davis’ second group, along with Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass, and Wayne Shorter on tenor sax. One of the things I always found cool about Tony was that he was never afraid to hit the drum hard. It always seemed like many jazz drummers kept the volume down in their jazz playing, but then Tony came along with all of his poly rhythms and heavy kick drum playing and turned the whole style around. I found out that Tony and the rest of the Miles Davis’ group were reacting to the success and popularity of avant-garde jazz players like saxophonist Ornette Coleman. I collected a few videos from Tony Williams in different parts of his career and even shared a portion from a documentary of Miles Davis that mentions Tony as a member of his group. I hope you enjoy it all as much as I did!

I wanted to start out with what triggered the idea to write about Tony Williams in the first place. I came across a video that features very rare footage with Tony on the drums and several top notch players in the band. Enjoy this rare footage at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzkZ8Ikr9L4.

The second video I wanted to share with you features an excerpt from a 1979 performance featuring a solo from Tony. Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uT-rHrgUnY.

None of this makes much sense unless you get a little background of Tony Williams. Enjoy this excerpt from the Miles Davis documentary called “Miles Ahead.” The clip features Tony and other members of Miles’ group and their music at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Xl8_XSk2dg.

I hope you enjoyed hearing from Tony Williams about jazz and listening to some of his performances from throughout his career. There’s more coming your way at Play Drums By Ear, so stay tuned.



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