From his stunning debut with Miles Davis at 17, through his pioneering work with John McLaughlin, Larry Young, Allan Holdsworth and others, Tony Williams is often hailed as the greatest drummer who ever lived. Undoubtedly, the Tony Williams Lifetime, across a half-dozen albums from 1969-1976, helped chart the course of the fusion era. His subsequent emergence as a major composer, with a series of releases for Blue Note in the mid ‘80s, cemented Tony’s unique place in the jazz pantheon.
With devoted Williams protégé Cindy Blackman at the drum chair, Spectrum Road is named for one of the incendiary tracks on the original Lifetime album — but this isn’t just a tribute band! After making rock history with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker in Cream, legendary British bassist Jack Bruce joined the Lifetime for two records and now anchors Spectrum Road.
The group is artfully rounded out with famed funk-metal guitarist Vernon Reid, of Living Colour, and multi-keyboardist John Medeski, one-third of the jam band juggernaut Medeski, Martin & Wood. Made famous by her 10+ years backing Lenny Kravitz, Blackman has distinguished herself as an impressively versatile player who’s as comfortable on post-bop sessions with Joe Henderson and Wallace Roney as she is touring with pop stars like Kravitz and husband Carlos Santana.
The formidable lineup of Spectrum Road assures the legacy of Tony Williams lives on, and clearly qualifies as a major 2012 music event.