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--- Mar 24 1999 Go to category
Subject: Tony Williams - wilderness
Category: Other Musicians
From: Larry  Zak (Dyer)

Pat, I have read interviews where you say that Tony's ride cymbal was an influence in you becoming a musician. What was it like to work with him on" Wilderness"? A day doesn't go by when I feel the great loss that has occured to music with Tony's untimely passing.

Pat’s Answer:

tony was one of my biggest heroes - and the fact that we got to be pretty good friends over the years is something i feel very lucky about. he was certainly the most important post elvin jones drummer, and one of the greatest drummers in the history of jazz.

at the time we did that record, wilderness, i knew that the record would be "too hip for the room" so to speak. i think everyone just wanted him to re-create the way he played with miles, and were just waiting for him to ditch the big drumset, go back to an 18" bass drum, forget about writing, and just "burn". but he was like miles in that he felt like he had already done that - and wanted to do something else.

his orchestral writing was amazingly good - we were all kind of stunned - including herbie, who had known him for more than 30 years. most people missed what was hippest about that record, which was the way the first orchestral tune was mirrored at the end of the record by an almost exact version of it played by the quintet, but with improvisation. also, the tune of mine "the night you were born", is one of the tracks that i am on that i would pick as a major highlight of life as a musician - to have herbie and tony play one of my songs - TOGETHER - so beautifully, man, i couldn't even sleep for a few days. i was surprised that pretty much no one noticed the record, let alone that track. there are a few other things on that record that i don't dig that much - but it doesn't diminish how much i do dig the good things on there. i really miss tony, also personally - he was a great, albeit very complex, person - like his music.