Thursday, November 06, 2008

Tony Williams – Mosaic Select 24, Disc Two (Mosaic, 2006)

Disc two of this set features the legendary drummer leading a hard hitting modern hard-bop group with Wallace Roney on trumpet, Bill Pierce on tenor and soprano saxophone, Mulgrew Miller on piano and Charnett Moffett on bass. The Blue Note album Angel Street from 1988 takes center stage here, but there are a few tracks from other albums, like the wonderfully vibrant opener “Mutants on the Beach” (great title!) which takes the free flowing hard bop Williams made during is tenures with Miles Davis and Jackie McLean, and whips it into thoroughly modern shape with a very potent performance. The title track “Angel Street” and some short drum solos scattered around the disc are quite memorable for the solo acumen of the members. Miller, in particular sounds like the true heir to McCoy Tyner with a very strong playing style that is full bodied and propulsive, but still sensitive when need arises. Roney has taken loads of “Miles-clone” criticism over the years, but he sounds very comfortable and every inch his own man here. But what comes through the most is that this was a true band, not a star with a collection of followers, but a group that shared the vision of their leader to take traditional small group acoustic jazz and make it modern through the strength of Williams compositions and the bands improvisational prowess.
Mosaic Select: Tony Williams - amazon.com

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