Anthony Williams Life Time (1964) Blue Note

Track Selection: Tomorrow Afternoon (Williams)


Sam Rivers (ts) Gary Peacock, Richard Davis or Ron Carter (b)Tony Williams (d) Herbie Hancock (p) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, August 21, 1964


This introduction to Blue Note five years ago was a rude shock for me  (see Collectors Corner for the full story). More in the “free” territory than what I went on to listen to, but a  shock to the system, I needed Electro Convulsive Therapy after listening restlessly to Azymuth, Jean Michel Jarre, and post-modern shoe-gazing, a necessary shock: energy, freedom, escape from the predictable, dance to it and end up in traction. And the sound from vinyl was riveting, like nothing I had ever heard before. Plastylite, Yeah!!.

Anthony Williams was only 19 when he recorded this, his  first Blue Note album as leader. Musicians vary from track to track but include Sam Rivers, Herbie Hancock, Bobbie Hutcherson, and three different bass players – Gary  Peacock, Richard Davis and Ron Carter. Van Gelder’s miking of the drums and cymbals is magnificent. Anthony Willams went on to become “Tony Williams”, an unnecessary downgrade in matey-ness in my view, but musicians are funny about first names. It’s Charlie Parker, but Charles not Charlie Mingus.

Vinyl: Blue Note BLP 4180

NY original press 1965 mono NY labels VAN GELDER and “ear”.

Mucky cover – you can’t have everything. Well you can, but you will need more readies. Blog-followers will want to take note, the font is serifed.

Collectors Corner

The record that started it all for me, something to cheer me up as its been a dreadful week on Ebay, no scores at all, every bid placed second, the price-setter. People out there are throwing money at anything collectible, way above historical values.

They say “you always remember your first time”, in this case, your first Blue Note purchase. It is like one of those “where were you when Kennedy was shot” moments, in a split second the world changed. Perhaps it was that alluring description “Original NY issue“. I didn’t have a clue what that meant but it sounded good. The mysteries of the word original, implying that original was  somehow a desirable quality, and the air-miles exotic “NY issue”. There are others? It was all too much to resist. In retrospect, not an unreasonable price, but three times more than I was used to paying for a record. A time of record-collecting innocence, before Ebay and the Jazz Collector  $1,000 bin, knowing nothing about ears, deep groove, the missing “R” or the pleasure of mono. A sharp intake of breath and I took the plunge, on trust.

I kept the price ticket on the cover for nostalgia. I was going to hide it in case it generated a You paid how much for a record!?! moment. I made the mistake once of mentioning how much my speakers cost and I have cause to regret it ever since. ” ! (Expletive deleted) That’s the cost of a new kitchen!”  If you buy a new car no one says “Flickin’ ‘eck,  thats the price of three kitchens!!” they just say “Nice car“.

Sorry guys, a pair of Linn 242’s is never going to be a babe-magnet. Any bachelors out there might want to put it to the test. You wander into a bar and you see a lonely blonde on a bar stool. You sidle up and whisper in her ear “Hi doll, why don’t we go back to my place and listen to my 5-way floor-standing loudspeakers with unique 3K Driver Array technology which improves high frequency performance and ensures the same level of audio quality throughout the … umm…bedroom…”  What would be scary is if she said “Yes”. You would worry, is she going to be impressed with your low output moving coil cartridge?

(I appreciate all this innuendo lowers the tone of the blog a little, but compared with our national broadcaster, the BBC, unravelling daily over the Jimmy Saville revelations, at least it is between consenting adults. More cerebral next post. Promise)

7 thoughts on “Anthony Williams Life Time (1964) Blue Note

  1. fancied a mono OG so i gave my ol’ dark blue copy a try and frankly, i’ve been genuinely surprised by its quality!

    • It was a really superb recording, lots of close-miking of Williams kit, those cymbals sizzle, with van Gelder excelling himself, the humble all-Blue UA label pressings can sometimes turn out some some impressive performance (a lot of the two-fers are the same quality). Sorry it’s not every time.

  2. Wow. Today is my day.. I received my personal copy of this very album in this very pressing won on ebay for 12,67USD!! Fact is, the seller graded it “GOOD”, so I thought to buy it for owning it. But I almost got a shock when I opened the package: it looked pretty decent, just a bit dusty. I washed it and put it on the platter…and PERFECT , no pops no clicks, no distortion…just pure bliss…groovy

  3. This is an amazing album. Also, if you have not heard it yet, you might even like Williams’ follow-up, ‘Spring,’ even better.

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