Premiere: ‘Tune For Tony’ features Brecker Brothers, Colaiuta, Bissonette


“Tune For Tony”

(Photo: Courtesy of David Garfield)

Back in 2003, keyboardist David Garfield released an album called Giving Back, and included in the set was his composition “Tune For Tony,” in honor of legendary drummer Tony Williams. It featured an all-star cast — Michael and Randy Brecker, Will Lee, Jimmy Johnson, Vinnie Colaiuta, Gregg Bissonette, Steve Lukather and Garfield. An accomplished producer as well as former sideman with Freddie Hubbard, George Benson and Willie Bobo, Garfield has remixed and remastered the track, releasing it as a single for his multi-genre Outside The Box series of albums. Hear it here, and get Garfield’s insights into how this piece of electric jazz history came together.

Creatchy Records · Tune For Tony (Remix 2021 Extended Version)

“Tony Williams was one of the most dynamic, innovative and influential drummers of our time,” Garfield said. “He first gained fame with Miles Davis and later formed the Tony Williams Lifetime, his trio with John McLaughlin.

“Both Gregg Bissonette and Vinnie Colaiuta were strongly influenced by Tony’s work — Gregg even studied with him. He told me about his conversations with Tony and I decided to do this special tribute recording. Vinnie also told me about his interactions with Tony, including one night where he sat under the drum riser during one of his performances.

“One night at a local club, Gregg was on the gig and Vinnie showed up. Afterwards while we hung out at the bar, I came up with the basic drum part for the song and we broke it down so it could be played by two drummers. We wrote it all down on a cocktail napkin so we could remember it in the morning.

“I organized the tracking session with Gregg, Vinnie and bassist Jimmy Johnson at a studio that could handle two fully isolated drum kits. Engineer Steve Sykes was primed for the enormous task of recording them together.

“Next, we added Steve Lukather’s guitar parts at Simon Phillips’ studio. (We were all in a band called Los Lobotomys at the time.) Then I travelled to New York City to record the Brecker Brothers at bassist Will Lee’s home studio. Mike was awesome — he nailed his part, pointing out the mistakes in my chart with good humor. Although the saxophone melody for the song is extremely challenging, he brought it to life. Hearing Mike and Randy trade fours was especially delightful, as I was a huge fan. Will was also a member of the Brecker Brothers Band and has become a dear friend and frequent collaborator. His bass parts add a special layer of sound.

“Will, Mike and Randy were all part of the vital New York music scene, so this was a sort of reunion for them, reminiscing and telling stories about other legendary players they had worked with back in the day. At one point Mike said, ‘It’s like we’re recording in Will Lee’s bedroom … actually, we are recording in Will’s bedroom.’

“Mike’s passing was too soon and a tremendous loss for the music world. I was privileged to be at his memorial service in New York in 2007, and you could see how important he was by those who attended, performed and spoke that evening. This song is a tribute to Tony and Mike.” DB

  • McBride__Kahn_copy.jpg

    ​Christian McBride and writer Ashley Kahn meet for a DownBeat Blindfold Test hosted by New York University’s Jazz Studies program.

  • Samara_Joy_%C2%A92023_Mark_Sheldon-4639.jpg

    Samara Joy brought fans to their feet in the middle of her Newport set!

  • 20170912_CeramicDog_EbruYildiz_29-2_copy.jpg

    Ceramic Dog is, from right, Shahzad Ismaily, Ches Smith and Ribot.

  • 23_Sullivan_Fortner_BFT_APA_Indianapolis_copy_2.jpg

    ​“He was the coolest,” Fortner says of Nat “King” Cole. “Didn’t break a sweat.”

  • 23_Houston_Person_by_Eugene_Petrushansky.jpg

    Person’s esthetic took shape in an era when jazz functioned as neighborhood social entertainment and moved with a deep dance groove.

On Sale Now
September 2023
Kris Davis
Look Inside
Print | Digital | iPad