Tony Williams

Wilderness

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    6
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One of drummer Tony Williams' final studio projects, this adventurous effort alternates selections by an all-star quintet (which includes tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker, guitarist Pat Metheny, pianist Herbie Hancock and bassist Stanley Clarke) with string orchestra tracks (usually using the rhythm section). Williams wrote most of the music (there is one song apiece from Metheny and Clarke), and despite the general unpredictability of the music (which ranges from melancholy to fiery), there is a surprising unity throughout the CD. Highlights include the pretty opener for strings "Wilderness Rising," a lyrical quintet number, "The Night You Were Born," the rockish freakout "China Moon" and the heated "Gambia"; only guitarist Lyle Workman's guest spot on his droning "Machu Picchu" is a minus. Otherwise, this is intriguing music that rewards repeated listenings, making one further appreciate the great loss suffered as a result of Tony Williams' premature death.

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