Tony Williams – Civilization

1987 – Blue Note Records


You can’t go wrong with Tony Williams in any stage of his career. He is one of the biggest names in jazz drumming history for good reason. His playing is instantly recognizable and I admire that he just put it all out there. Tony’s dynamic range was remarkable and he had no fear of really slamming a cymbal when the time called for it. This album is interesting for a few reasons: One is the stellar band he assembled (Wallace Roney, Billy Pierce, Mulgrew Miller, and Charnette Moffett), second is the interesting artwork, and third is that he wrote all the pieces performed. I think Williams is remembered for his sideman work (which was revolutionary) and not always thought about in terms of his composition chops. Listening to a song like “Warrior” showcases him wearing the composition cap. The melody is catchy, the chordal structure feels great, and the breaks sound awesome. You can tell that he wrote the drum part as a complement to the melody. Some of the fills and building that he does during the melody really makes the song pop. If I see some more late career Williams albums around, I’ll be sure to pick them up. It is very interesting to hear all the talents that he had to offer. I suggest you search out these albums as well.