Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Buster Williams - "Pinnacle" (1975)

First posted by Bacoso at "Orgy In Rhythm" in November 2006

Simon says :
Yesterday's Julian Priester album "Love, Love" was one of a set of albums made by members of Herbie Hancock's early 70s Mwandishi band after the albums "Mwandishi", "Crossings" and "Sextant".

Colin Buttimer noted the two Eddie Henderson albums, "Realization" and "Inside Out", but others that should be added are Bennie Maupin's "Jewel In the Lotus" and this album, "Pinnacle" by Mwandishi bassist Buster Williams.

I previously had the track "Batuki" from this album on Rhodes Compilation #6. As well as Onaje Allan Gumbs' typical great rhodes playing, the upfront mix of Buster Williams' funky, agile basslines and Guilherme Franco’s energetic mixed brazilian-african percussion make for a rhythmic, spiritual feast that place this album, in some ways, as a bridge between what we might call the Mwandishi and Headhunter periods of 70s jazz.

Doug Payne said :
Whereas the other Mwandishi members recruited band mates like Hancock for their solo projects, Buster Williams opts here to recreate the sound, keeping only drummer Billy Hart from the original band. Onaje Allan Gumbs is especially Hancock-like on the occasionally electric eclectics (notably on the funky "The Hump") and more frequently required piano backbone (especially appealing on the gospel-ish "Noble Ego" and the more exotic "Batuki"). Reed players Earl Turbinton and Sonny Fortune share duties recreating the swagger and the sweetness of Bennie Maupin, while trumpeter Woody Shaw brings his own trademark bop sound to the title track and "Batuki." The addition of Guilherme Franco’s percussion and vocalists on "Noble Ego" and "Pinnacle" suggest that Pinnacle is a descendant of drummer Norman Connor’s Mwandishi-like records, "Dance of Magic" (1972) and "Dark of Light" (1973).

The program’s five long selections set up interesting ostinatos that allow for thoughtful, well-considered improvisation. Buster Williams himself is outstanding, particularly well featured in his self-designed spaces and never as out of place or obstructive as a strong rhythm player can too often be. He suggests that he had ably developed a language beyond the more familiar diction of Ron Carter and one that clearly laid the foundation for Stanley Clarke.


1. 'The Hump' (Williams) - 11:31
2. 'Noble Ego' (Williams) - 6:57
3. 'Pinnacle' (Williams) - 4:47
4. 'Tayamisha' (Williams) - 6:32
5. 'Batuki' (Gumbs) - 14:18


Buster Williams - electric and acoustic bass, vocal (3)
Earl Turbinton - soprano sax (3,4,5); bass clarinet (1,3)
Sonny Fortune - soprano sax (1,3); flute (5); alto flute (3,4)
Woody Shaw - trumpet (3,5)
Onaje Allan Gumbs - acoustic piano, electric piano, moog synthesizer, arp string ensemble
Billy Hart - drums
Guilherme Franco - percussion
Suzanne Klewan - vocals (2,3)
Marcus - vocals (2,3)
.... and Simon adds :
Although this was Williams' solo debut, it's part of a long line of great collaborations around this time between the players represented here.

Apart from those already linked in the post, I'd recommend:

Harry Whittaker's vast "Black Rennaissance"
(Williams, Hart, Shaw)
Carlos Garnett's "Black Love"

(Williams, Hart, Franco, Gumbs)

Woody Shaw's "The Moontrane"

(Shaw, Williams, Gumbs, Franco)

Sonny Fortune's "Waves of Dreams"
(Williams, Shaw)
Norman Connor's "Saturday Night Special"

(Williams, Gumbs)

Harold Land's "A New Shade Of Blue"
(Williams, Hart)

More BUSTER WILLIAMS around zee jazz blogs:

"Crystal Reflections" (1976) at Ile Oxumare

"Heartbeat" (1979) at El Goog Ja

Other blogs linked here :
Oufar Khan, Bug in The City, Abracadabra, Blog-o-Blog, Manepipoca's Music House, Pharoah's Dance, My Jazz World, Ile Oxumare.


Simon666 said...

If anyone knows a blog link for Bennie Maupin's "Jewel in the Lotus", please drop it here and I'll link it in the post. I know i've seen it somewhere this year, but if it's really not around I can rip it .

Art Simon said...

Great post. I did a fair bit of searching "Jewel in the Lotus", and the only one I could find doesn't seem to be working:

Simon666 said...

Thanks a lot for checking, Art

ToniK said...

Very cool, thanks a lot.

cliff said...

Thanks for the Buster Williams. I had read about this many years ago. Glad to have found it. Thanks again.

ashknuckles said...

MANY THANKS for the blessings...this is a true gem. Making love to my ears...and mind..:-)

Thad said...

I have a rip on disc of "Jewel in the Lotus". Give a couple of days and I'll upload it and post a link. I unfortunately don't have a scanner; can anyone help?

Simon666 said...

thanks thad, that would be great.
I've got a cover image, so don't worry about that

Gianni said...

thanks simon!!!

Simon666 said...

No problems Gianni!

Anonymous said...

can't get enough of the opening bass line on the sample. quite dark

kizza said...

Love it that you're upping bacoso's old posts! Keep sharing the knowledge!

taro nombei said...

hey simon
missed this first time around, so thanks so much.
that goes to Bacoso too, of course.
best from Tokyo

Simon666 said...

good that you're enjoying it, guys.

Thad, I'll do a rip of "Jewel in the Lotus" from my vinyl, so don't worry about uploading, thanks anyway

Simon666 said...

Update to post :
El Goog Ja has posted Buster William's 1979 album "Heartbeat", go grab it ...

Anonymous said...

Any chance of a WAV release of this?

Simon666 said...

Sorry, the files for the "Orgy In Rhythm' series are provided to me as they are, so no WAVS.

Simon666 said...

Hi guys,
As part of this Mwandishi solo albums series, I’ve now added posts of Bennie Maupin’s ”Jewel in the Lotus” (1974) and ”Moonscapes” (1978)

Peter said...


Rasta-Rocket said...

thanx, simon!!

Anonymous said...

That's a great album - thanks a bunch!

Don from Oregon said...

Man this is good stuff. I plan to hunt down all your comps, because you have a talent for eclectic mixes!

øשlqæda said...

an orgy in rhythm classic! that's class man. i wish i hadn't completely missed his heyday, but am overjoyed to find so many of em here, like this one. thank you both

duck said...

Many thanks for this Buster Williams album. greetings from Roseville

Thad said...

This inspired me to go seek out the vinyl! It looks like there are some recent pressings, though the first one I found had some serious issues of being pressed off-center. They're on eBay for about $12 now.