"Wow! This was Tony Williams' last recorded album. He's drumming straight-8th fusion style all over this recording. The supporting cast(actually everyone contributes equally), Bill Laswell, Pharoah Sanders, Byard Lancaster, Graham Haynes, Nicky Skopelitis, and Buckethead, are all incredible musicians in their own right.
But, just because you assemble some great, respective and creative musical artists together, doesn't mean they're going to deliver. This time, however, you can only wonder, "what would've been"?Tony WIlliams died before this was released, so any fan of his would be proud to own this as a final "swansong" recording.
I am proud to have it because it is an interesting creative fusion recording. It used to be that Jazz-Rock was a genre full of promise--until the moneyhounds and Record companies got a hold of it and turned it into generic Fuzac. I was wary of purchasing what could very well be a regurgitated carbon-copy of funky-sounding sleepy Elevator music. If you're wanting something interesting and creative, and respect only ONE of the names on this disc, I would suggest that purchasing this might be a sure-thing for ya. Buckethead's guitar is incredible, so is Tony's drumming, and Laswell, well, his name on anything as producer and bassists insured a rubber-stamp of quality and creativity unlike anyone else for the past 25 years!
I was really into Tony Williams music during the Miles years and some of his fusion is pretty good. But as a drummer he has had to rely on the supporting cast to step up and meet the quality of his drumming. These guys did it in a fresh way. Plus this is a gateway into Buckethead, Laswell, Pharoah Sanders, and the others. I plan on going through that door, with eager anticipation."
Heavy, Furious, Unrelenting
Jason Gubbels | San Diego, CA | 10/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is jazz-fusion of the highest order. No fooling around, no chick vocalists or fluffy synths, no out-of-tune soprano saxophone solos meandering around the room, no slickness, no concession to pop radio or any of that nonsense. This is blazing, hard, rhythm-based improvisational music. The late Tony Williams attacks the drums with a power rarely heard outside of death-metal, various guitarists add thick furious layers of skronk to the mix, and greats like Pharaoh Sanders return to glory with cathartic free-jazz solos. And above it all (or perhaps below it all) lurks Bill Laswell on bass and keyboards. Next time somebody dismisses jazz-fusion out of hand (and they do have the right), offer this as supporting evidence along with "Jack Johnson"."
Worth every penny
Christopher McTaggart | detroit | 07/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"first of all let me say this is the most expensive single CD i've ever purchased (i paid around $22-25 for it), but undoubtably one of the best i've ever heard.
This is prog/jazz/fusion at its best with an all-star cast that actually comes to play (unlike other all-star Laswell related discs such as Material: third power which, despite the cast, have let me down). Pharoah is still a tremendous talent and lends his own freakout sax stylings on a couple of trakcs. Buckethead fans won't be disappointed either, as he plays a major role in the few tracks that he actually appears on. Finally, Tony Williams is amazing...you won't believe that this is his last outing before his death as his chops are as fine tuned as ever.
Its often times difficult for me to relate to my friends what this disc sounds like, as simply labeling it prog-jazz or fusion seems to be an inept definition. I came up with the term "psychedelic masterpieces" to describe the feel of the tunes on this CD to one of my friends and in a way its the best description i have given yet. Each track is its own world, often times dark and dramatic, yet with much beauty and life manifested inside. One can get lost in their own visions while listening to this album, creating vivid imagery of the history of life in ones own head while experiencing the peaks and plateuas of this amazing album.
Basically all i can say is that if you have read anything about this album and the idea of bringing all of these legends together in one disc intrigues you, don't cop out of buying it due to the price. it is worth every penny."
Free jazz nightmare
Jason Gubbels | 03/08/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is the last recording by Tony Williams and stands strong with his work in the 60's with Miles Davis. Ambient soundscapes lie alongside blasts of mutant free jazz. The genius that is Buckethead plays demented yet melodic guitar lines which complement the musical mayhem contained on this disc. Fans of Praxis and Surrender to the Air will not be dissapointed."