Classic Drummer Hall of Fame
Honoring Music's Most Influential Drummers
As voted by the readers of Classic Drummer Magazine
Son of a jazz saxophonist, Tony Williams was gigging professionally at age 13 and playing for the great Miles Davis along with Herbie Hancock and Ron Carter just four years later at age 17. His career was simply packed with important performances and recordings with an array of artists too large and varied to describe in any detail in this space.
A brief look reveals that he played on 18 albums with Miles Davis, 14 with Herbie Hancock, another 50 with the likes of Chet Baker, Ron Carter, Stanley Clarke, Stan Getz, Dexter Gordon, Branford and Wynton Marsalis, Sonny Rollins, Weather Report and many others. As if that wasn’t an impressive enough resume, he recorded on another 21 albums with groups that he led.
Tony Williams’ creativity, technique, work ethic, importance and musical output are nearly impossible to overstate. If fact, when Miles Davis first heard Tony play he put it this way, “Like I said earlier, trumpet players love to play with great drummers and I could definitely hear right away that this was going to be one of the baddest (musicians) who had ever played a set of drums.”