Sunday, October 24, 2021

Transcription: Tony Williams - Life Suite, Part 2

Some more from that self-titled Stanley Clarke album. I must have gotten the record in high school. Nobody ever told me to get it, I was just rooting through the stacks at the used record store and I saw that it had Tony Williams on it. These things are just around waiting for you to buy them and you luck onto them because you're looking. This is the drum solo from the tune Life Suite, Part 2. 

The solo is 60 bars long, over a 4 bar vamp played 15 times. He takes his time getting off the hihat, and comes back to it during the more soloistic parts, and then takes it out with four bars of hihat at the end. Tempo is a pretty burning 148. Getting up into the natural speed limit for 16th notes in a fusion setting, before they start sounding like massive hyperactivity. Egberto Gismonti's Baiao Malandro, which I transcribed early in the blog, is similar. The transcription begins at 0:40 in the track, or at 2:29 in the YouTube clip below. 

Snares off for the entire solo. There's some open hihat activity I didn't bother writing out— at the beginning especially. He's bouncing his left foot for a good portion of it, which creates some half-open sounds on the es and as. I also didn't write out a good amount of left foot activity throughout that doesn't really relate to the rest of what he's playing.  

Tony Williams isn't really a textural drummer, is he? Everything he plays here is very direct, with a lot of hihat and bass drum at the beginning, and a lot of cymbal with bass drum generally, along with some stuff with the hands on the snare and tom toms. Mainly alternating sticking. Briefly in measures 53-54 there's some modern textural stuff happening with the cymbal, snare, and bass drum. Tony-like(!) licks are happening in measures 30, 37-38 (same handed flam accents, there), and 55-56. Those crescendo-ing singles in m. 16 and 18 are also very Tony.   

Get the pdf

Again, the transcription begins at 2:29 in the video:  

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