The Tony Williams Lifetime - Ego. 1971 USA
CD reissues: 1999 Verve; 2005 Polydor/Strange Days (Japan mini-LP)
The negative opinions are pretty strong on this one. I can appreciate the expectation that one would have for such a talent as Tony Williams in the highly creative year of 1971. And this definitely doesn't come through as a landmark winner of the year. But is it an abject failure? No, not in my opinion anyway. There's 3 throwaway percussion songs, and they are all the shortest, so that helps. The remainder is a fine jazz rock effort, and it closes well with the final 3 compositions. Anything with Larry Young on organ is worth an ear, and he does a fine job here. Overall the tone is pretty loose and raw, which are pluses. Williams' vocals are not a highlight for sure, but we've all certainly heard worse.
Digi-pak CD on Verve is really quite excellent, and features a nice layout, fine liner notes, and great sound. The LP was released in multiple countries initially, so an LP reissue would seem superfluous, as originals are easy to find, though not necessarily cheap.