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The Tony Williams Lifetime

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The Tony Williams Lifetime was a jazz-rock fusion group led by jazz drummer Tony Williams.

The Tony Williams Lifetime was founded in 1969 as a power trio with John McLaughlin on electric guitar and Larry Young on organ. The band was possibly named for Williams’ debut album as a bandleader, Life Time, released on Blue Note in 1964. Their debut album was Emergency!, a double album released on Polydor Records in 1969. It was largely rejected by jazz listeners at the time of its release, but is now looked upon as a fusion classic. Jack Bruce joined the group to provide bass and vocals on their second album, Turn It Over, released in 1970.

McLaughlin left the group and was replaced by Ted Dunbar for their 1971 album, Ego. This album featured Ron Carter on bass and cello, and Warren Smith and Don Alias on percussion. Lifetime gigs around this time featured Juini Booth on bass. Following Larry Young’s departure from the band, Tony Williams was the only original member remaining. The fourth and last Lifetime album for Polydor, 1972’s The Old Bum’s Rush, featured an entirely new personnel and a keyboard-heavy sound. It received poor reviews, and the group was effectively dissolved for several years.

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