The Tony Williams Lifetime

Turn It Over (1970)

Fusion pioneers featuring Miles Davis alumni John McLaughlin, Larry Young and obviously Tony Williams. Jack Bruce from Cream is also on board for this album. The good songs here are some of the best of the genre. The first tracks “To Whom It May Concern — Them,” and “To Whom It May Concern — Us” are two of the heaviest, most wild fusion songs I’ve heard, very surprisingly written by the typically languid Chick Corea. “Vuelta Abajo” and “Right On” are a couple of other furious classic. Other standout tracks include the jazzier “Allah Be Praised”, and “Big Nick”, a reworked Coltrane song that I haven’t heard the original version of. The (big) problems come when Tony tries to sing, making the same mistake as he did on 1969’s Emergency!. Tracks like “This Night This Song” are dismal reminders of why this guy should stick to drumming. Not only is his voice lacking, but his lyrics are pretty poor, too. I just skip these songs. There’s also a bonus track with Jack Bruce singing, but his voice doesn’t fit as well here as it did with Cream. While their earlier album Emergency! is generally recognized as their greatest and most influential work, this one is a lot more rock and dark intensity and a lot less jazz and experimentation. It’s also a lot more fun to listen to in my opinion.