Tony Williams certainly counts among those unique drummers in jazz whose work has had a lasting influence on style and still does. At the tender age of 16, Williams was brought by saxophonist Jackie McLean to his band in New York, and made his first recording. At 17, Williams was already making a splash in the second Miles Davis Quintet.
Almost twenty years later, on May 30 and 31, 1980, Tony Williams, together with Tom Grant (keyboards, synthesizer, he joined this band on the recommendation of Jeff Lorber) and Patrick O'Hearn (bass, synthesizer), went to the Zuckerfabrik recording studio in Stuttgart/Germany. In the 1970s and early 1980s, this studio was an illustrious address for audio productions of all kinds. Larry Coryell, Wolfgang Dauner, Stephane Grappeli, Elvin Jones, Martin Kolbe + Ralf Illenberger, Volker Kriegel, Alphonse Mouzon, John Scofield and the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble recorded there, to name just a few. Tony Williams and Peter Schnyder co-produced the recording of Play Or Die. The album was recorded in just two days and mixed right there in the studio.
This timeless album, released in an edition of only 500 copies, was hardly promoted at the time and may therefore have remained relatively unknown. All the better that now, for the first time since the release of the vinyl, this recording is available on this RSD Black Friday release with a significantly improved sound.
Tony Williams composed “Para Oriente” and “There Comes A Time” (Tony supplied the vocals).
Tony Williams, Patrick O'Hearn and Tom Grant composed “Jam Tune”.
Patrick O'Hearn composed “The Big Man” and “Beach Ball Tango”.
01: The Big Man
02: Beach Ball Tango
03: Jam Tune
04: Para Oriente
05: There Comes A Time