Friday, 22 March 2013

The Tony Williams Lifetime • Turn It Over (Redux)

A rare, unreleased version of The Tony Williams Lifetime album, Turn It Over. Expanded, remixed, and remastered by Bill Laswell from the original Polydor master tapes.

In 1999, Bill Laswell decided to re-imagine this seminal jazz fusion album. However, Verve Records refused to release the album once it was completed, claiming it would never sell. However, it was released on CD-R directly to a small music shop in New York City frequented by Bill Laswell himself, the Downtown Music Gallery.

Unabridged version of the complete album includes 4 UNRELEASED CUTS, AND 5 LONGER UNEDITED VERSIONS from album sessions - which was intended as a double LP but only released as an editied single LP; cover art by Russell Mills, liner notes by John Szwed. Thanks to Bill Laswell for rescuing, and finally giving a proper mastering to match William's original intentions, to this most seminal, groundbreaking recording, mixing jazz, rock, prog and metal years ahead of virtually everyone else!

Review of the shorter LP version: "The better of the two albums the Tony Williams Lifetime recorded in 1970, Turn It Over, is a far more focused and powerful album than the loose, experimental Ego, and one of the more intense pieces of early jazz-rock fusion around. In parts, it's like Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsys with much better chops. It's more rock-oriented and darker-hued than their debut, 1969's Emergency!, and the temporary addition of ex-Cream member Jack Bruce on bass and vocals alongside stalwart guitarist John McLaughlin [with whom Bruce recorded the instrumental album 'Things We Like' just before this] makes this something of a milestone of British progressive jazz. The album's primary flaw is that unlike the expansive double album Emergency!, these ten songs are tightly constricted into pop-song forms -- only a swinging cover of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Once I Loved" breaks the five-minute mark, and then only barely -- which reins in these marvelous soloists too much. This is particularly frustrating since pieces like the two-part "To Whom It May Concern" feature some outstanding solos (especially from McLaughlin and organist Larry Young, the group's secret weapon) that are frustratingly, tantalizingly short. Expanded to a double album [as originally intended, and as this CD edition finally reveals], Turn It Over would probably surpass Emergency! as a pioneering jazz-rock fusion release; as it is, it's an exciting but mildly maddening session.
Stewart Mason AMG

1 Vuelta Abajo*
2 To Whom It May Concern: Us/Them
3 This Night This Song*
4 Do That**
5 Big Nick*
6 Once I Loved
7 To Whom**
8 Allah Be Praised*
9 Right On*
10 A Famous Blues
11 New Piece**

*Unedited version
**Previously unreleased

Tony Williams • drums, vocals
John McLaughlin • guitar, vocals
Larry Young (Khalid Yassin) • organ
Jack Bruce • bass, vocals

Original tracks recorded at Olmstead Sound Studios, 
New York, NY in 1970 Original Recordings 
produced by Monte Kay, Jack Lewis and Tony Williams 
1999 expanded edition - Bill Laswell: Production and mix translation 
Engineers at Turtle Tone Studios: Michael Fossenkemper and Alex Theoret

Buy it Here

Label: Verve Records
Catalog#: n/a
Format: 320/Flac
Country: US
Released: n/a
Genre: Jazz, Rock
Style: Jazz-Rock


  1. Thanks for this post and all your other hard work

  2. Hello Stylo - and it's wonderful seeing that this site is and has been back; introducing new listeners to new music. I was unaware but a friend mentioned the site is and was up and I just checked in and, again, want to say Thanks, then and now, for your wonderful taste(s) in music(s) - and also am looking forward to seeing what might surface from your othe (also late lamented) page on the web
    As to this particular post - I was lucky enough to have heard of it/this and picked it up in NYC!
    Looking forward to reading your writing and listening to your musical selections

    1. Thanks g, we'll see how long I last, hope you find stuff you like in future posts.

  3. Great to see you back.Been trying to get to hear this for some time.Turn It Over was always a favourite of mine since I first bought the LP back in the 70's.

  4. Gracias por este aporte
    Muy Bueno

  5. I just noticed I had not said thanks for this, i got it a few days ago... truly a treasure of the past all shiny new and sparkling...
    I remember when Tony Williams Emergency came out... I was unimpressed because the recording was not clear... Bill Laswell and even this blog have done "a solid"

  6. Its 2020 & its still there...
    Brilliant -- Big Thanks !