Aug 21, 2014
Fifty years ago today, Anthony Williams recorded his debut album as a bandleader. However, he was no rookie.
Williams began playing professionally at the age of 13 with saxophonist Sam Rivers in Boston, Massachusetts, and Jackie McLean hired Williams when he was 16. At 17 Williams became the core of Miles Davis' Second Great Quintet.
Williams, now a veteran at the age of 18, led two sessions at Rudy Van Gelder's Studio for Blue Note on August 21 and 24. On the 21st, he brough old friend Rivers in to play sax, and bassists Richard Davis and Gary Peacock to play bass. Herbie Hancock (piano), Bobby Hutcherson (vibes) and Ron Carter (bass) would replace them on the 24th.
The results was music that was far removed from anything he had played before. I would hesitate to call it "free jazz", but clearly the influence of Peacock's boss Albert Ayler was in the room that day. "Tomorrow Afternoon", with the pulse of two basses and Williams' polyrhythms, was a peak at where jazz was headed, and headed soon.