Spectrum Road featuring Cindy Blackman-Santana, Jack Bruce, John Medeski & Vernon Reid
B.B. King Blues Club, Set @ 8pm; Doors @ 6pm
~ Spectrum Road featuring Cindy Blackman-Santana, Jack Bruce, John Medeski & Vernon Reid ~ From his stunning debut with Miles Davis at 17 through his pioneering work with John McLaughlin, Larry Young, Allan Holdsworth, and others, Tony Williams is often hailed as the greatest drummer who ever lived. Undoubtedly, the Tony Williams Lifetime, across a half-dozen albums from 1969-1976, helped chart the course of the fusion era. His subsequent emergence as a major composer, with a series of releases for Blue Note in the mid-’80s, cemented his unique place in the jazz pantheon.
The all-star band Spectrum Road first emerged from a discussion between Vernon Reid and Jack Bruce when Reid was touring and recording with Bruce around 2003. They bonded over how much they admired the groundbreaking music of Lifetime, particularly the second edition of the band (with which Bruce recorded the classic 1970 album Turn it Over, along with Larry Young and John McLaughlin), and they made plans to recreate the group’s sound, vibe, and magic. Reid suggested using John Medeski on keyboards and Tony Williams acolyte Cindy Blackman on drums. Bruce enthusiastically agreed, and the band made its debut in December 2008 at the Blue Note in Tokyo, playing its first U.S. shows in 2011.
Although Spectrum Road is named for one of the incendiary tracks on the original Lifetime album Emergency! (1969), this outfit is no mere Tony Williams tribute band. The group’s lineup is simply too formidable for that. In addition to his work with Lifetime, Bruce is perhaps best known for his time in Cream with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker. Vernon Reid is the famed funk-metal guitarist of Living Colour, and multi-keyboardist John Medeski is one-third of the jam band juggernaut Medeski, Martin & Wood. With devoted Williams protege and Lenny Kravitz drummer Cindy Blackman rounding out the band in the drum chair, Spectrum Road ensures that the legacy of Tony Williams lives on. Look for the band’s self-titled debut album, set for release this June.