Tony Williams

Tony Williams was an American jazz drummer. He lived from December 12, 1945 to February 23, 1997. Williams was born in Chicago, and grew up in Boston. He began his studies with Alan Dawson as a drummer and started playing professionally with Sam Rivers at age 13. Jackie McLean hired Williams when he was 16. At 17, Williams gained considerable fame and joined Miles Davis’s group, later called the “Second Great Quintet.” Williams was an integral part of the group and was called “the heart of the group’s sound” by Davis in his autobiography. Through the use of polyrhythms, metric modulation (transitioning among mathematically related time signatures and tempos), Williams’ inventive playing helped to redefine the role for jazz rhythm section. His greatest achievement was not in timekeeping or accompaniment, but in showing that the drummer can contribute to jazz improvisations as an equal partner. He formed the trio The Tony Williams Lifetime in 1969 with John McLaughlin (guitar) and Larry Young (organ). They were a pioneering group in the fusion movement. Fusion is a mixture of rock, Ru0026B, and jazz.

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