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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE TRUE ROOTS OF 70's JAZZ-ROCK
A welcome release on CD for an LP that transcended categorisation on it's release in the late 60's, not exactly selling in shedloads and thus making it very difficult to find on vinyl in the 70's !
Whilst it cannot be denied for a moment that Miles Davis was responsible for introducing like-minded musicians to each other for the recordings that he was making around...
Published on 17 April 2002

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars For dedicated fans
I have the Devotion album and count it as one of my top twenty albums. I think that this is for fans of Tony Williams - others have already mentioned the "singing".
Published 9 months ago by Moiras Husband


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE TRUE ROOTS OF 70's JAZZ-ROCK, 17 April 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Emergency (Audio CD)
A welcome release on CD for an LP that transcended categorisation on it's release in the late 60's, not exactly selling in shedloads and thus making it very difficult to find on vinyl in the 70's !
Whilst it cannot be denied for a moment that Miles Davis was responsible for introducing like-minded musicians to each other for the recordings that he was making around the time of 'Emergency !' ( and spawning so much great music in years to come in doing so... ) I still think that this release stands up as the first truly 'Electric Jazz' album. Sure, there are elements of the kind of Hammond/Bar-chord -fuelled grooves of Jimmys Smith & McGriff swinging around, but it's as though Williams made a conscious Quantum Leap here - to produce something altogether more loud and crackling and more in tune with contemporary rock.
Regardless of what you may think of the kind of 'Jazz-rock' that I think this music made possible, both this and the equally wonderful follow-up 'Turn it over' are recordings featuring some of the finest playing you'll hear anywhere from Larry Young, John McLaughlin and Tony Williams.
Check it out, crank it up - hear those amps buzz, watch for goosebumps on your forearms !!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mercurial !!!!, 30 April 2009
By 
P. Delli (Crewe Cheshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Emergency (Audio CD)
Managed to get the US double LP from the depths of provencial France in 1969 and I still have it...

What can I say... I quite like the fact it's low budjet, sounds like when you walk the streets half drunked and you hear these muddled sounds from a fantastic and unreal band playing in a pub cellar, GREAT!!!

Full of problems, but the highs are worth the wait... I reckon they did it on purpose, the problems... If it had been better done, they would have lost the edge and then, it allows you to criticise something!!! Otherwise, you'd have been so totally gobsmasked, you'd never had bought another record in your life.

Patrick
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If only Jack was singing on this one., 20 May 2008
By 
Neil Mawer (Lincoln, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Emergency (Audio CD)
I agree with the 5 star reveiwer, say what you will about Bitches Brew, THIS is where jazz rock started, and it was never so energetic again (If you don't believe me listen to Schofields/DeJohnettes & Goldings Trio Beyond versions of Lifetime classics. Brilliantly recorded, fairly boring by comparison)

And so to this albums faults. Yes it was recorded on a faulty 8 track tape machine. This Verve remaster is just a clearer version of the faults!Try and find the 1991 Polygram U.S. REMIX. Legendary engineer Phil Schaap, actually modified an old 8 track machine to negate the faults on the session tapes, then remixed the 8 tracks to a new master.(Polydor 849 068-2)

And when he remixed it he should have left out the vocal tracks of Tony Williams (I hesitate to call it singing)The album should have been all instrumental from the start! Or Schaap could have called in the great Jack Bruce to do the singing, as Tony Williams did in 1970.

So historically important, 50% totally brilliant (especially the remix), but oh those vocals. At least Tony Williams realised that and brought in Jack Bruce as a member in 1970 for live gigs and an appearance on their final 45 "One World/Two Worlds".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Curate's Egg - diversity/inspiration - cinq points; quality control - nul points, 7 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Emergency! (Audio CD)
Most of the other reviewers have said it, really - if you're already a jazz fusion fan and haven't yet got this, you surely have to buy it, as an historically vital moment in modern music. It's full of wonderful playing - raw virtuosity, with that kind of abandon to the medium that very few bands afterwards ever achieved (Mahavishnu mark I being perhaps the most notable exception). But how on earth could anyone with a modicum of taste have allowed the unmitigated disaster of a track 'Beyond games' (track 2) to sit alongside the rest of this wonderful music just beggars belief. It leaves me really wanting to know what on earth went on in the decision-making around this album. But the paradox is that the best is just so good that the low points (and boy, are they LOW!...) somehow don't matter very much (except how could they let 'Beyond games' torture us for over 8 minutes!!). One things for sure, it's certainly not over-produced! - for which I guess we should be eternally grateful. But I think its successor, TWL's 'Turn It Over', is a far better album, both in terms of emotional intensity and in not having any totally bum embarrassment of tracks to endure. Very sorry to only give this four stars - it's just about worth a 3.5! (very rare I give my all-time hero John McL anything less than 5*).
Richard House
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High octane, 23 July 2012
By 
Steve Keen "therealus" (Herts, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Emergency! (Audio CD)
Though slightly less likely to leave your ears bleeding than Turn It Over, this is still nevertheless loud enough to leave them ringing between tracks. Led by Williams on thundrous drums, John McLaughlin and Larry Young, respectively on guitar and organ, spend much of the album apparently trying to outrace the leader and each other, with the volume turned up loud. The musicianship is truly awesome on the part of all three.

Only Williams's attempts to sing detract from the overall effect: on Beyond Games getting up in the pulpit to preach about something in doggerel verse; on Via The Spectrum Road sounding, with the multi-tracking, like a bunch of drunks who've crashed the session with a banal barroom chant.

Fortunately the good drives out the bad, with the singing giving way to some of the finest guitar you'll hear anywhere, making it worth the ride.

The sessions for this record took place the same year Williams and McLaughlin were employed by Miles for the recording of In A Silent Way. The two records make an interesting contrast: though both can be labelled "fusion", between them they manage to bestride an enormous spectrum of musical sensibilities. Listening to the opening of Emergency and that of In A Silent Way, it's amazing to think that it's the same drummer. Similarly, McLaughlin's gentle tickling during the Miles sessions bear almost no resemblance to the incendiary attacks on Emergency, though the incipient Mahavishnu sound is well in evidence.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the first and best "jazz-rock" albums ever made, 9 Jan 2011
This review is from: Emergency (Audio CD)
This is a record, you should own, if you only wanna have a handful - and you sure don't need many more - of jazz-rock or fusion-records (the other four should be Miles Davis' Filles de Kilimanjaro (1969, rec. 1968), In A Silent Way (1969), Bitches Brew (1970) and Jack Johnson (1971, rec. 1970) with Mahavishnus The Inner Mounting Flame (1971) as a close contender). Emergency, originally released as a double-lp, is in almost every way excellent! Lead by perhaps the most vivid, innovative and inspiring drummer of all times, Tony Williams, together with guitarist John McLaughlin and - the sometimes sadly overlooked - organist Larry Young, it consists of an awesome collections of hard driving and swinging jazzrock-sessions recorded live in the studio. There is one small minus, which is why I won't give it a five star rating: Tony Williams felt the need to sing on a few of the tracks. A bad habit which he contuined on the less interesting follow-up Turn It Over (1970).
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Agree with all of the above, and ..., 16 Jun 2009
By 
Nicholas Lake - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Emergency (Audio CD)
Had this on vinyl way back when, and lately on CD ... and agree with nearly all that's been said. So why say anything? 1. I disagree that it was really a jazz-rock construct at all, if anything more an impossible jazz-punk thing, screech & roar until you're sore. 2. I disagree about Johnny Mac's later electric output, personally I found the M Orch dull and retrograde compared to Lifetime (& he was doing other stuff with JCOA, and later acoustic stuff on My Goal's Beyond and with Shakti which was innovative), 3. this is just high energy expert bad noise fun!
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3.0 out of 5 stars For dedicated fans, 13 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Emergency! (Audio CD)
I have the Devotion album and count it as one of my top twenty albums. I think that this is for fans of Tony Williams - others have already mentioned the "singing".
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10 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Historically important but not vital, 4 Aug 2003
By 
Alexander G. Marshall "alexmarshall3" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Emergency (Audio CD)
This album is historically important but deeply flawed. The original sound quality is awful-the pickups on McLaughlin's guitar were broken, the organ continually squeals and bleeps, and the decision to include lyrics is deeply unfortunate, McLaughlin and Young sounding like 'the stoned Freshmen' with lyrics like 'Who are you? Be yourself..' etc. It was historically important at the time but those interested in electric jazz are better advised to start with Miles Davis of McLaughlin's own later Mahavishnu Orchestra (firts two albums).
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but deeply flawed, 13 April 2008
By 
This review is from: Emergency (Audio CD)
There are some immense talents at work on this album, but unfortunately not particularly well directed. Firstly, I don't think it's really as revolutionary as a lot of people make out: it was recorded in May 1969, when groups such as the Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Nice had already succeeded in combining jazz drumming with rock dynamics, vocals and studio experimentation: in particular, Hendrix's Electric Ladyland had been released the previous October. Furthermore, Williams & McLaughlin had already played together on Miles Davis's In A Silent Way, which was the real stepping-stone between his 60s quintet and the 'fusion' era of Bitches Brew onwards. The story goes that McLaughlin turned down Miles to join Williams's group, but in fact that only applies to the touring band: he played on In A Silent Way before, and on Bitches Brew and Live-Evil during, his tenure in Lifetime.

This album, along with its successor (turn it over), sounds to me like Williams's attempt to do his own version of the Jimi Hendrix experience: McLaughlin certainly provides the crunching rhythm and wailing lead guitar work, and both Williams and McLaughlin provide some terrible hippyish lyrics which Williams intones in a weak, unsteady voice: a singer he is not. What's missing is any real bass: Larry Young's organ basslines are all but lost in the mix (indeed the organ sounds like it's down a deep hole in the middle of the studio floor, while the guitar and drums are splashed across the stereo image due to the amount of spill between their respective microphones), and Tony Williams insists on using his little jazz bass drum, which is fine for an acoustic band but in this context sounds more like a middle rack tom hit with a soft timp mallet. So without a solid bassline or kick drum the music seems to float, rootless, buzzing around like an angry wasp a lot of the time. This was later rectified halfway through recording (turn it over), when ex-Cream bassist and singer Jack Bruce was added to the group, but it was too little, too late.
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Emergency
Emergency by Tony Williams (Audio CD - 1997)
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